How to Prepare for Your First Audition
Congratulations—you've landed your very first audition! This is a big accomplishment for any actor. It’s your first taste of the professional acting world and can lead to many future opportunities. But because this is your first time auditioning for a part, there’s probably a lot on your mind. Though the audition is just the first step toward earning a role, it is the first time you will be exposing your skills to industry professionals, and it should be taken seriously. The trick with auditions is not taking them so seriously that you sabotage your chances of success.
No one wants to be underprepared, but you should know that you can actually be overprepared for an audition as well, and this can be just as detrimental. Here are seven tips to help you prepare for the big day without getting in your own way.
Dress the part. Whatever the part you’re seeking, you should come dressed for the role. Have your outfit planned and set aside the day before the audition, and ensure that it is clean and wrinkle-free. You want to communicate that you understand the role and are capable of embodying a character in multiple ways.
Arrive early. Few things are considered as unprofessional and disrespectful as tardiness, so rule number one of any audition or interview is to not be late. Arriving a little early can actually be beneficial because you increase your chances of going first or earlier in the lineup. Having a lot of time to spend in the waiting area agonizing over how you’ll perform will only serve to make you nervous and hurt your performance when you do get called in to your audition.
Have questions ready. If you’re given a script, try to dissect and understand it beforehand. This doesn’t mean you should have every detail memorized, but instead try your best to really grasp the material. Asking the casting director for their instruction shows your interest and desire to learn.
Practice on camera beforehand. You should always practice before an audition, but filming yourself provides an opportunity to study your delivery and get a better feel for how a casting director will see you. This also can help eliminate some of the stage-fright aspect, especially if you practice your performance in front of family members or friends.
Beware of trying too hard. Many professional actors warn that over-studying can result in a stiff performance. You want to stand out and not seem stale. By all means, give it your all—but that isn’t the same as being overzealous. Bringing too much of your studiousness into an audition can kill the mood and give casting directors the sense that you don’t know how to stand on your own feet as an actor. Allow yourself to know the part, but be creative too.
Don’t memorize. This suggestion may come as a surprise. When you’re hired for a role, of course you will need to memorize your lines. But an audition isn’t the final role, and the expectations are different. At an audition, you’re expected to show your versatility and creativity, and the casting director won’t be able to get a feel for how you can bring life to a character if you aren’t spontaneous. Be excited and do your homework, but be natural too.
As you book more auditions down the line, you will get a stronger sense of what to expect. But for your first time, remember to prepare, fight anxiety, be yourself, and have fun!