What Does “Prepare” for an Audition Look Like?

I talk incessantly about understanding the importance of speaking the Language of the Agents/Casting Directors vs. speaking the Language of the Actor. 

There is a reason for this. If you do not, the Agent (who you want to represent you in the most effective way possible) and the Casting Director (who you want to be brought in by for an audition) will just not be bothered with you.  

They do not have the TIME to interpret what you the Actor are trying to say to them. Therefore, they will just go (or more accurately) go BACK to the Actors they have called in before who DO speak their language and who they know will PREPARE and DELIVER for them in the room.

So, What Does PREPARE for an Audition Look Like or Really Mean?

 To me, it means:

  1. That the Actor is OFF BOOK as much as possible and preferably, just holding the script and only referencing it when needed. That the actor knows what they are saying and knows the material well enough to keep their focus on the reader.

  2. That the Actor is REHEARSED to a level where they are ready to perform THEIR choices of the scene. After all, I brought you into this audition because I am genuinely CURIOUS to see what YOU are going to do with it. Stop trying to figure out what I want! What I want is for you to perform the scene the way YOU ENVISIONED it.

  3. That the Actor has read the entire script (ALWAYS ask if it is available.)  

  4. That the Actor has taken the TIME to REALLY understand the tone, message, and ENERGY of the project. This can even be done by researching the writer and producer’s previous projects or if for an Episodic, by having watched at LEAST 2 – 3 recent episodes of that TV Show before auditioning.

  5. That the Actor has an understanding of their character AND what role that character plays in the project as a WHOLE. For example, they are the best friend who is the mirror to the protagonist, there to help them figure out what is really going on in the protagonist’s life. Therefore, your scenes are not about your character but the PROTAGONIST. Your purpose is to help move the story along. You must think about the project on a global scale, not merely your singular character.

  6. That the Actor responds to, “do you have any questions?” with an actual VALID QUESTION. If you do not have a question, simply say, “Let me do the scene how I see it, and if you have any adjustments, I will be happy to make them.” This shows that you have respect for the CD’s time (something they lack) and leaves the door open for notes.

  7. That the Actor takes command of the room – notice the wording in # 6 – I want to know that YOU GOT THIS, and I just need to see what you have. Please do not give me or try to make me take responsibility for making you feel comfortable. That’s YOUR job. I want you to make me feel like I am in good hands. The audition room is not the place to look for validation; it is a place to do the work you have rehearsed.

  8. That the Actor arrives 15 minutes before the audition time, I think of 15 minutes before an audition as the “sweet spot.” It is before I start panicking that you are late or not showing up and not too early that I think you are trying to (forgive the bluntness) kiss my ass or are nervous and not sure of yourself (thus making me feel like I need to reassure you, please see # 7). HOWEVER, I will always take “too early” over “too late.”

  9. That the Actor focuses on the WORK, I am at the audition space doing MY JOB. I am not there to socialize. I have a zillion things going on at once that I am trying to manage to the very best of my ability. You want my attention – do your WORK. THAT will get my attention and loyalty faster than ANYTHING else! Certainly, more than you liking my sweater.

  10. That the Actor is appropriately dressed, showered, deodorized (mouth and body), has a pen, a picture, and resume (ALWAYS have several in your bag at ALL TIMES. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it). That the Actor is polite, respectful, and courteous to the staff and the other actors who are trying to do THEIR job.

Some of these are so obvious and yet so important- and often unobserved.

I hope this blog has been helpful to you.

If you have a topic you would like me to write about – let me know. 

Have a great and effective day!