- Treat every class/rehearsal as a performance
- Treat every performance as a class/rehearsal
- Treat every Audition like another performance
For years I saw auditions, especially auditions for agents and casting directors as a gateway to acting. I treated the industry with disdain. I didn’t respect the audition room.
At some point I started approaching every audition like a performance.
I stopped memorizing lines just in time. I really started making real choices. I discovered who the characters are. I truly prepared.
In school, you spend most of your time studying another’s interpretation of a character. The heavy lifting has been done for you.
At auditions, your directors are often your teachers. They know what you can do. So if you blow the try out, you can still nail the part.
When I first started auditioning I was all in for musicals. My voice was strong and pretty enough, dramatic enough. I could butcher an audition and still show I had what it took…. for dinner theater and non equity tours.
Two things happened.
- My ego exploded
- I got lazy
Out of arrogance, I thought, my voice is good enough, who cares if I butcher the words.
This happened when I made the NYC move.
Suddenly, I stopped working. Suddenly ego turned to insecurity.
Eventually I created my own work, performing and teaching improv. Thankfully, I’ve been a working actor, wo a day job, since 2005.
Now, at age 48, it’s been 25+ years since my first real paying gig, playing Samuel in Pirates of Penzance for 20 weeks at the West End Dinner Theater, just outside DC.
The above advice is 💯 my deduction of making a lot of mistakes, course correcting, finally getting it right a few times, at least enough to get a few costar gigs on TV.
The advice also coems after years of watching from the other side, as hundreds have auditioned for me.
The improv training is where I found the true confidence to be myself.
The real trick?
There are no tricks.
Respect the audition as if it is the performance. Be prepared. REALLY prepared.
Breath. Stretch. Warm up your body, mind and soul they way you would before an intense class or show. Do what you have been trained to do.
Prepare your material
Don’t just memorize line, LEARN the material. Make choices.
Close your eyes and SEE the characters world, the way a great improviser sees the world unfolding in a scene. Your imagination creates a pseudo hologram of the world. Don’t let the coldness of an audition studio or the comfort of your own home doing a self tape distract you. Go to the world this character lives.
For theater make those big bold choices.
For TV/Film, unless the show/style calls for otherwise, drop all pretense and just say the words (but do ALL that other work first so your inner monologue is on point)
On the outside less is more.
On the inside, you are a fiery inferno of energy creating something out of nothing.
ALL this starts on day one of your first acting class. This blog is not for the “actor” looking for tricks. This is for my newest students, or the ones getting lazy in their teen years (lol). The more you know as an artist, the harder the work gets, not easier.
No artist should rest on past achievements. I don’t care if your Tom Hanks, to keep putting out great requires great work now.
Be a sponge!!!!
Listen to every word. You don’t know what you don’t know. You may not get what I wrote above but someday it will click, if you don’t give up on yourself.
When the time comes, if you did the work, and get your ego and insecurity out of your character’s way, instinct will kick in and you rock.
You may not get the part, but you’ll make the impression that gets the next audition. This audition is an artistic experience, not a gateway to art. Treat it with the respect it deserves and eventually the numbers game will work in your favor.
I am so proud of my students. I am so overjoyed I needed to write this post for them.