How to Make Auditioning Not Suck
Actors need to audition frequently. When auditions are scarce, they become too precious and too much pressure is then exerted to get the part. The result is often the opposite — not getting the role. When you audition, there has to be a sense that there is no scarcity… that there are many, many more opportunities ahead. That’s hard to accomplish when one auditions rarely. So do the work needed to:
NEVER sit at home waiting for a call. Submit your headshot and resumé all the time… submit, submit, submit. Submit to student films, theater companies, TV, online sites, indie films, and anyone else holding an audition.
If you have an agent or manager, don’t assume they are submitting you in sufficient quantity. Develop a good relationship with representatives and make sure they are doing their job. Don’t nag — inspire! And then supplement their work with your own promotion such as sending out postcards and finding your own roles. You will still give them commission for any booked work and they’ll be happier for it.
Actors should audition an absolute minimum of 5-10 times a week — minimum. If you aren’t getting at least 5 auditions each week, you need to do more to get auditions.
You can bring auditions to class, but do so with the same preparation you would do for a real audition. The idea here is frequency. The more auditions, the better.
This will have a multifaceted effect. For one thing, you will get awfully good at auditioning. It will become second nature and your nerves will be more easy to manage. That will lead to booked jobs. And those jobs will then lead to more jobs and bigger jobs. Soon, you’ll have to turn down the small jobs to do the big jobs. Soon, you’ll have a career that pays the bills with a lot left for that new car and that trip to Paris you’ve always wanted.
But how does one prepare for an audition? Simple. The same way one would prepare for any role. My former acting teacher, Milton Katselas, used to say “there are no auditions, there are only actings.” I think what he meant by that is that auditions are a chance to act, a chance for others to see you perform. It’s an opportunity to show off! “Here’s what I can do with the part!”
So, show off!
Directors want to hire artists. They don’t want to hire puppets who are trying to guess what they want and give it to them. They don’t want beggars. They want confident actors who can show them their artistic take on a role. They want actors who take charge.
This does not contradict the fact that actors have to be able to take direction. A professional actor knows that it’s the director’s job to create a unified vision of the piece, so they constantly have to nudge actors this way or that way to achieve that vision. Actors that won’t change their performance won’t be hired. Pros know how to take direction. They STOP doing what they are doing, LISTEN to the director, fully UNDERSTAND what he said, and then make the direction THEIR OWN so they can perform it seamlessly.
And, of course, directors want someone easy to get along with — a people person. No one wants to work with complainers or gossips.
Okay, that’s the simplicity of it:
- Do all you can to audition, audition, audition.
- Prepare as one would for any role.
- Be willing to stop, listen, understand and make direction your own.
- Be a people person.
- Book parts.