Perhaps you’ve already mastered a technique and you get every part you audition for or at least a call back or perhaps you keep wondering why you never get a phone call after the first attempt. There are many ways to approach an audition, but no matter what the role, always be yourself. Never lose yourself within an audition. The casting director or whomever you’re auditioning for wants to see you. Become the character, find yourself in the character, just simply BE the character.
I highly recommend the book Audition by Michael Shurtleff. It is an absolute MUST read for anyone, but especially the actor. He explains in complete detail everything you’ll need to know to get the part and gives you an understanding how an audition is like everyday life.
Before you begin an audition, there are several things you need to do as an actor before hand. I thought I’d share these steps I’ve learned in my first acting class because its helped me a great deal and hope it will you. Rather you’ve already received the sides or you have to cold read, follow the steps below and you will notice a significant difference.
1. Relaxation – Center yourself, focus on your breath, slow deep breaths in and out. Roll your shoulders forward a few times and then a few times backward.
2. Goal – Find your characters goal. Once you’ve done this, you will see your purpose for all of your actions. Is it to be loved? To get back at those who did you wrong? etc.
3. Beginning and Ending – It is important to find the beginning and ending of the script. Sometimes you will get sides that are just a scene or 2 from the middle of the script. Of course you’re not expected to know the exact story, so you must find the back story with what you are given and approach the scene as the beginning and end.
4. Ask Scene Partner For Permission – If given sides with which you are to read with a scene partner and there are actions, make sure you and your partner are comfortable with performing whatever actions you decide (i.e. a kiss, a slap, a push, etc.).
5. Do Not look At Casting Director – This statement pretty much explains itself. I have, however, had auditions where it is just the casting director and myself so the CD reads the opposite role. I feel the need to look at who I’m talking to and to whom is talking to me. It would be awkward to look to anywhere else other than my scene partner which, in this case, is the casting director.
6. Focus – This means to have someone in mind. Rather you have to replace your scene partner or another character with someone in your real life or even to just imagine the opposite character as is makes the scene more realistic. It will give the scene intention thus moving your GOAL along.
7. Intensity – Your reason and goals for being where you are and why you’re saying what you’re saying have intentions, they serve a purpose. Show that purpose. Make everything matter and count with reason.
8. Transition – Make a sense of change. Every story has a beginning, middle (climax), and an end. If you build too soon or too short, you will have absolutely nowhere to go. Take your time with the script and remember everything has a purpose. Let it build itself and happen naturally.
9. Discovery – Finding the answer to your goal. Did you? What could you have done differently? What other ways could you approach it and still have reached your goal? etc.