If you want to pursue a career in acting, your first step would be to get accepted into a drama school. It is the best place to learn acting and gain experience. But getting into a drama school is not that easy. You have to go through rounds of auditions and interview to get accepted. So how to stand out in drama school auditions so that you improve your chances of getting accepted?
It requires a lot of practice, choosing the right piece for the audition that suits you, and showing the school that you have some raw talent that needs nurturing.
Here I am going to give you the seven points that you need to keep in mind to ace your drama school audition. Let’s get started:
How To Stand Out In Drama School Audition in 7 Steps?
If you approach this as a normal audition and do everything necessary for it, you might be able to pull through the audition. Remember audition is a process that begins well before you appear for the audition. So let’s see the whole process in seven steps:
1. Choosing The Monologue
When you apply for a drama school you will be asked to prepare a monologue of your choice for the audition. Just like any open audition, it is crucial that you should choose the best monologue script for yourself.
What is the best monologue for you?
The choice will differ from actor to actor. But you should know that any monologue that shows the best of you is the best monologue for you.
Some might pick the toughest of the monologue from Shakespeare to show what they can do or the range of talent they have but I would suggest against that.
Pick what suits you as a real person not what you think you are capable of.
The reason behind this is that you want to be as natural as possible and the more you resemble the characterless you have to struggle to prepare the monologue.
Sometimes drama schools do as you prepare two monologues which include a modern and a classical monologue.
Even in such a case choose the monologue where the character resembles you. Yes with classic monologue you will have to work on the language but at least you don’t have to worry about the behavior and body language as it is similar to yours.
There are plenty of places to find good monologues, but I suggest stageplay.com which has the largest collection of monologues as well plays. You will definitely find some for your audition.
2. Knowing The Character
When you get the monologue in your hand, the first thing you need to do is know as much as possible about the character. You are only starting out so you might not know much about the character analysis but try to know the character as much as possible.
Sometimes panelists might ask you a few things about the character after the audition so know your character inside out.
The best way to know the character is to read the script several times. After that ask questions about the character and try to answer the question based on your readings.
If you want you can buy my 100 questions to-build worksheet. It will make your life a lot easier whenever you are doing character analysis.
This worksheet will break down the character into different giving you history, physicality, psychology, and sociology of the character.
However, you can use your own judgment and common sense if you don’t want to go with the worksheet.
At this point, your aim is the gather as much information as possible. You don’t have to worry about the dialogue, costume, or performance.
Write down all the information in a well-organized manner so that when you begin preparation you know what you need to achieve.
Once you have understood the script and the character, it’s time to begin the preparation. Whenever you are preparing for anything, there are three things that you can say they are the three dimensions of creating a character:
If you are able to adopt these three things in your body you will become the character. But it is easier said than done.
The first step would be to start with physicality. From your notes that you made earlier find out how your character would walk, stand and what will be his body language.
Please avoid using dialogues or scenes for physicality. Because it will affect your body language.
You should take up dialogues only when you have created all dimensions.
You should record yourself when practicing physicality so that you can examine what you are doing.
Once you are assured of physicality you can go ahead with the psychology. I have seen a lot of actors just working on physicality because that’s the only thing visible on camera. If you want to be a true actor you should not do that.
Getting into the psychology of the character is all about understanding and thinking like the character. The advantage of creating psychology is you will be able to deliver more natural and believable dialogues. And even your improvisation will look effortless.
Again refer to the notes for understanding how your character thinks and what is his or her view. And just change your thought process according to it.
And let me tell you thought process is a continuous process as you need to be in the character’s mindset for hours to think like the character.
So devote some time to get into the thought process of the character before taking up the scene or monologue.
The last is sociology. It won’t take much time. All you had to define is how the character behaves in front of the other character in the scene.
In real life also every individual behaves differently with different people. You have to find out the people character is addressing in the monologue or the scenes and how he or she behaves in front of them.
In simple words find the character’s attitude towards the other character in the scene.
4. Dissecting the script
Next, it’s time to dissect the script so that you know what you have to say and do in the scene.
Do plain reading first. Maybe 2-3 times so that you understand what the scene is about and what are the needs of the scene.
After that with the help of a pencil, mark the beats.
If you don’t know what a beat means, let me tell you it’s the point where a change of thought occurs. There is no right way to mark the beats. Just go with your gut and what you feel.
You can change the beat if you need to when you start rehearsing. Because you will understand the scene in a much better way when you start performing.
Once you have prepared, it’s time to prepare the scene for the drama school audition. Just like any other skill or job, it’s all about practice, practice and practice.
If you fail to practice you are preparing to fail.
How you stand out in drama school audition will depend on who well you practice.
I suggest setting up a camera and practice space for the scene. I prefer an empty room because you want to avoid any objects that remind you of your home or some personal attachment.
An empty room is the best place to practice for the scene. Later you can add a few props and furniture which can add authenticity to the performance if you want.
However, you won’t be able to take these things into your drama school audition. It is just for practice.
Once the space for practice is prepared, read the dialogues 2-3 times. But read them plainly. You don’t have to add any emotion or tone to it. Reading plainly will help you remember the line the way they are.
Next, take a few minutes to get into the physicality, psychology, and sociology of the character. Once you are into the character try saying the lines.
On the first try you might miss some lines or beats so, please keep the script with you so that whenever you are out of words you can pick up from where you left.
Once the whole scene is finished, analyze the footage of your performance. Note down what you need to change and what you need to add.
Remember there is no right way to approach a scene. It all depends on the actor’s interpretation of the scene. So try to do the scene or monologue in a few different ways.
On the day of the performance, there are several things that you need to do to make sure you stand ours in the drama school audition. You need to gather the right costumes and make up for the performance. If you are want to use any prop for the scene if it is allowed you should prepare it.
Make sure you reach the place of audition one hour before the call time.
Well if you remember I asked in the rehearsal step you should take a few minutes to get into character before starting the rehearsal you have to do the same process. Get into the character before you begin the audition.
Just a few minutes before you are called you can start working in the process of getting into the character. You can do the steps described in the preparation step to get into the character. However, if you want to know more about the process I use, you can read my other post. It has exact steps to go about it.
Once you are in the character, you have to be in the scene even before you enter the stage. To know that you should know what had occurred before the scene which leads you to enter the present scene.
This is called the moment before. I took this from Ivana Chubbuck’s acting technique. If you want to know more about actions you can get her book for Amazon.
Now you are fully ready to enter the scene and perform to the best of your ability.
7. After The Performance
Your performance might end but your audition isn’t finished until you answer a few questions of the panel. For drama school, the panel wants to know more about you as a person.
This will give them an idea, how committed you are towards acting and how much capacity you have to learn the craft of acting.
After the performance, they will give you some feedback on your performance and also ask questions about the character and the scene you performed.
They will also ask your opinion on the scene or character so that they understand how well you have understood the script.
A good tip is to have your view about the material. People like it when you have your opinion. Especially if you have played a negative character, give proper reason to justify what your character did.
You must be a good person before being a good actor. Unless you behave well with other people no one would want to work with you.
The same goes when you are working for the drama school. You want to be on your best behavior when auditioning. Answer the questions of the audition panel sincerely and politely during an audition.
Even if they provide negative comments about your performance, accept it with a smile. And if you get negative comments that don’t mean you are rejected, it’s just that they want you to improve.
Drama school auditions are different than auditions for the gig. Here the audition panel is looking for a potential student who can be become a good actor if trained. So show that you are eager to learn and have potential as an actor.