As you prepare for your audition, here is our collection of blog posts on the hot topic. Don't forget to check out the Auditions page for details about how to submit for a role. Break a leg!
Even with accomplished actors, and especially for rookies, auditions can create anxiety and make them insecure, making their work not as good as it can be—especially in last-minute auditions where actors have less time to prepare, so bad habits and nervous reactions can really be apparent. Here are the seven common preparation and presentation issues that make actors look insecure and can prevent them doing their best audition.
1. Not asking questions that would give clarity. When unsure about anything after reading the directions (that are usually posted or explained) and before starting the audition prep, you should politely ask whoever has the necessary information for answers. Don’t be hesitant. Getting this info usually helps to improve auditions, which benefits everyone involved.
2. Talking too fast, loud, or soft in the audition. This is usually nerves, habit, or both, but you don’t want to think about these things when auditioning, which can put you in your head and take your focus off of your work.
This should really be worked on so it doesn’t make you look insecure and/or undermine the power of their audition. I suggest that at home, record yourself and check to see if you are talking too fast, loud, or soft. If so, work on it with a teacher or on your own and create a new habit of speaking that empowers your auditions.
3. Refusing to look at the sides when necessary. Actors will do better if the material is memorized, but they often underestimate how nerves and additional direction from the session runner or CD affect the confidence they had during preparation when there were no distractions. Always bring your sides into the audition room and don’t hesitate to quickly glance at them when needed so you won’t disturb the flow of your read. Know that even the most experienced actors use them when needed.
4. Not connecting. Directors begin making decisions about actors as soon as they see them and speak to them. The first impression an actor gives could immediately cost them the role. It could be because the actor is not the right physical type for the job or because in those few seconds they see negativity, insecurity, or someone who is not relatable. If you think this is an issue for you, find a teacher who can coach you on interview skills and finding your natural charisma as an actor.
5. Making negative comments on yourself or the material. No matter how you think you did, never criticize out loud. You don’t want the decision-makers to think of you negatively.
6. Stopping if you make a mistake. This can cause frustration and upset because it only wastes time and draws attention to an error that could have gone unnoticed. Actors hardly ever walk away from auditions without making mistakes (or feeling they could’ve have done better). Don’t be thrown by mistakes. Learn to have fun with them and then they might help you book jobs. Staying calm and poised despite a mistake shows that you are a professional. Improv training can help!
7. Not really hearing the direction. Oftentimes actors miss some of what is being said because they’re being directed or are planning out how to do a part. This could come across as unprofessional or may look like they “don’t take direction.” Make sure you’re aware of what the decision-makers around you are saying.
Being aware of these audition issues and diligently working to improve them should help you look and be more confident and do better auditions.