Acting Audition Tips That will Change The Way You Audition
Even before you go through this acting audition tips you have to understand the true purpose of an audition. The purpose of an audition is to identify an actor who is right for the role. But for an actor, every role is right for them. Isn’t it?
I would say yes and no.
Yes, because you are an actor, and your job is to adapt to any role you are offered. And no because not every role is made for you.
I know you are confused. You want to know what exactly would help you crack auditions.
Here I am giving acting audition tips, that might not only help you identify the right roles but give you the right tools to make your audition awesome.
Acting Audition Tips
#1 Do You Look The part?
The tip among the acting audition tips is simply to understand how do you look the par?
Look the part means that you must fit the profile of the character they are casting for. For example, if they are looking for an Asian looking girl, they are not even going to consider even calling girl of other ethnicities.
This is the first litmus test you need to pass. Often, they will pre-screen actors by going through the profiles.
Based on the profiles, they will shortlist those who actors that look the part and then call those actors for auditions.
This process not only saves casting agencies’ time but yours too.
So, what can you do to pass this test?
There is nothing much you can do. All you have to do is make sure you show the casting guy who you are.
Always perform any monologue as yourself. Unless casting guy asks you to do it in a different way.
Even when you prepare a stock of monologues that you can perform on cue, always prepare 2-3 monologues that suits your own character.
I would advise you to do your own character analysis. Get our worksheet of 100 questions to build a character.
Answer all the questions about you.
#2 Similarities between you and the character?
I have dedicated two acting audition tips that are based on how much you are like the character. In no sense, two tips are alike. One describes, physical attributes and this tip describes psychological as well as social attributes.
Priority of any casting agent is to find the character and not the actor that could become the character. So, they will try to find what qualities of yours that match the character.
It could be the place you come from, your accent, your ethnicity, the way you walk or even the way see things.
The reason they look for similarities is obvious. They want natural performance from the actor.
If the nature of the actor is different from that of the character, the actor might have to go through extensive prep work. Even director could find it difficult to bring out required performance out of that character.
So, whenever you get an audition script, always find the similarities between you and your character. Divide those similarities into three parts:
Once, you find the similarities between the character and you, place yourself in the imaginary situation of the character. And Play the scene truthfully.
For this same reason, you have to make sure you do not lose yourself in playing a different character. Who knows? The first character you play on screen is just like you.
#3 Be in the moment
This is one of the most important acting audition tips to remember. This could change the way you do auditions.
Being in the moment means being in the present, and living the character truthfully. This eliminates any nervousness or stress.
Often the events from our own life affect our performance. You are saying the line of your character. But what you are thinking is that you haven’t paid your rent, your girlfriend just broke up with you, or what if you don’t get this part.
And remember what you think shows on your face. Be it audience or camera, they can see through you. Many actors don’t realize this.
To stay in the moment, do the following simple exercise:
Directions of exercise:
- Do this exercise just before you enter the audition room.
- Find a place where you can walk freely.
- Observe what surrounds you. Chair, wall, painting, ceiling or anything.
- Take off your shoes and start walking. Try to feel the floor. See is it cold or hot. What kind of surface is it—smooth or rough.
- Now listen to the sounds that surround. Be it of air conditioning, other actors rehearsing, vehicles etc.
- Now feel the space that surrounds you. Feel it with your whole body.
- Now bring your attention to your breathing. Don’t force your breathing. Observe how you inhale and exhale.
This exercise, if done right, will bring you right in the moment. After, this exercise you can straight away go for your character and play it.
#4 Reach early
If you observer yourself during the audition, you will realize that biggest trigger for you being nervous is the new unfamiliar place.
It’s human nature. It will never happen that you go to a new place and straight away you will be comfortable.
Best way to fight that nervousness is to reach early and give yourself some time to get used to the new surroundings. Look around the room, people and the energy of that place.
If possible, go inspect some painting, any sculpture or view out of the window. This will help connect to that place. Once, the human body is connected and feels safe in the new environment, it automatically reaches the state of ease.
Once, you are at ease go to your audition material and exercises.
#5 Find something to do in a scene
Many acting coaches believe acting is in doing. The scene becomes even more interesting when an actor delivers his or her dialogue while doing an activity.
This is my favorite among all the acting auditions tips. Just because it has the power to make the performance real.
Any activity you do must belong to your character and situation. Rarely it happens that a casting director provides you the activity. So, use your creativity and bring an action to the scene.
Add an extra step of finding activities to your scene or monologue analysis process. Create a list of at least 5-8 activities that your character can do.
Let’s say your character is a fashion designer. There are many activities a fashion designer can do both at work and at home.
If the scene is set at home, you could indulge in a drawing of a dress, address the wounds on your thumb that are caused because there is extensive of needles in this profession or could just read a fashion magazine.
Yes, this step does require you to have audition script a day or two prior to audition day.
But you may ask what should I do when the script is given on the day of the audition?
What you can do is stay prepared. There are some basic activities that every human being does. That is eating, get dressed, read a newspaper or work-related magazine, use phone, etc.
Practice these activities in advance. And always carry props used in these activities.
#6 Find the location of the scene or monologue
This is another one of the most important acting audition tips. Just by following this to tip, you will new ways to perform a scene.
Finding a location of a scene means, knowing where is character stranding at present. Is it a house, office, restaurant, airport or jail?
By determining the location, you can find the activity for the location. By knowing the reason for the character being at that location helps you find the right objective for the scene.
Even if the location is not specified, just imagine a location for your scene and see how your performance is enhanced.
There is one specific thing that you must know about location, that is time.
Time tells you about the crowd and mood of the location. Let’s say its restaurant and its working day afternoon.
This will suggest that people are here on their lunch break. Even character is on lunch break.
From this simple situation, you can use activities like eating, looking at some papers related to work, etc.
Let’s say it’s your bedroom and time is morning. Morning is usually the time people get ready for and usually are in hurry.
You can add getting ready as the activity and sense of urgency in the scene.
#7 Know who you are speaking to in the scene
You may be doing a monologue but you must understand speech is always directed to some or other. It could be one person, two or a group of people.
Even if the character is talking to an audience, he is addressing the speech to the audience. So, it’s necessary to know to whom the speech or dialogue is directed to.
When you go through the scene or monologue you will know to whom you are speaking to. If you are enabling to understand who the other person is, ask casting guy.
If he or she tells you, even they don’t know. Great! Assume someone that suits your character and brings out best performance out of you.
Just knowing name and sex is not enough. You must understand the relationship between your character and him or her.
Quickly, answer these following questions about another character:
- What is your relationship with another person?
- Does your character get along with him or her?
- What happened when the last time you met him or her?
- What do you want from him or her in the scene?
There are plenty more questions, but for an audition, these four questions are enough.
My acting coach always said, “if the audience is able to see the relationship between your and the other character in the scene, you have done a good job.”
#8 Know the history of your character
Not many actors focus on this while going for the audition. Among all the acting audition tips, I would have to say this is the most important one.
Even if you don’t follow other acting audition tips. Just working on this tip would make your audition stand out.
Deeper you go into the history of the character, more alive your character is. Casting people would be able to see the character they are looking for.
History includes everything from where and when the character was born, family, education, relationships, work experience, finance, injuries, etc.
I know it’s not easy to cover everything in just 15-20 minutes before the audition. But you can touch upon some basic event of your characters life.
Describe these events of your character:
- First relationship
- School & college
- First job
- Any other major event, like accident, death, break up or fame. Anything that has become the highlight of his or her life.
This acting audition tip can come handy when finding the emotion behind a line. A monologue or scene goes through a series of emotions.
You have to bring out those different emotions while playing. Just saying those words, will fall flat.
Even if you do all the research and scene analysis but if that is not transformed into a real living character, its all waste of time.
Every line has a connection to the character’s life. You have to determine what that line means to the character and under what situation he saying this line.
Let’s take an example of a simple line,” I love you.”
If your character is proposing, then the meaning of the line is that character expressing his love. He is feeling excited and may be nervous.
But if you use this line in a situation where his girlfriend or boyfriend is going to break up with. Then the line full of pain and helplessness.
In order to use this acting audition tip, you will have to be thorough with the character’s life. You will have to know where the character is coming from and after the scene, where he or she intends to go.
#10 Find the objective of your character
If read any scene or monologue you will find that character is always trying to achieve something in the scene. It could be love, revenge, money, death etc.
Even if you do not know how to play the scene, just by trying to achieve the objective of the character, your performance will look convincing.
How do you define the objective of the character?
First, read the scene as many times as possible (cold read). Trying to find what does your character want in the scene. Make sure you define that want in terms of emotion.
Let’s say your character likes someone, then the objective will be “to be loved.”
If the character is in an interview and wants some kind of job. Then you will have to find the emotion behind wanting that job. Possible to survive in the city or pay some kind of debt. These are all stress related issues that deprive a human of happiness.
Hence, the objective of the character in terms of emotion is “to be happy.”
All the above-mentioned acting audition tips, nothing but asking you to be as close as possible to the character.
Another important thing to remember, is to keep your instrument, which is your body, always tuned. Do movement exercises, voice exercises, diction, and keep observing the surroundings.
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