So you have an audition? That’s great! How do you feel? Excited? Nervous? Happy? Scared? A combination of them all? These are all natural reactions and how you feel perhaps may change as the time of your audition gets closer. Hopefully, you will get more and more confident and the way to achieve this state of mind is by being as prepared as you possibly can before the day. So how can you do this?
Preparation for success really is the key here. The first step is to find out as much information as you can about the audition, the production and part for which you’re auditioning and what you’ll be required to do. How do you find this information and who do you ask? The trick is to get as much information as you can when you are offered the audition, so it pays to think ahead and write down the questions that you’ll need to ask in order to be fully prepared. Don't be afraid to ask whoever is giving you the appointment for your audition for any pointers or guidelines they can give you on the character you're playing or the piece for which you are auditioning. Knowing as much as you can about these will significantly increase your chances of success, so be sure to ask. As well as researching the project in general, also try and find out about the people and company for whom you will be auditioning. You could try Googling them on the internet, or asking your drama tutor or friends what they know. I would also recommend dressing to give an idea of the part you are playing, but don't go too far over the top – an accessory or look to give the panel an idea that you could play the part and have made an effort is fine, but nobody needs to see you in full costume (a mistake made by lots of performers, even experienced ones).
Find out where the audition is, work out the route using an internet mapping service and allow enough time to get there, bearing in mind that there may be delays on public transport or the traffic may be bad. Being late and rushing will do your confidence no favours. Also allow enough time if the audition is running late (castings can sometimes run several hours late, especially if they are seeing a lot of people) so be prepared for this. They can also run early, if several people have cancelled at short notice or a shorter time is taken with each than has been allotted, so again be prepared to go into the room as soon as you arrive, even if this is way before your scheduled time. Always arrived a few minutes before your appointment time – 5 or 10 is great, though if there is script for you to read you may want to arrive earlier than this (if you are dyslexic and need more time with the script, please let the organisers know this ahead of time, as it is your right to have an equal chance when it comes to sight reading).
Keep your energy levels up while you're waiting, even though it may be far longer than you thought, and when you are called into the room take a deep breath, smile and walk through the door with a sense of purpose. This will make you look confident no matter how you are really feeling inside. If you are introduced, tried to remember the names of those on the panel and help them to remember your name by saying it clearly. If you are offered a hand to shake, make sure your handshake is firm (rather than limp or bonecrushingly strong) and your hand is dry – sweaty palms are a symptom of nervousness, so wipe your hands if you have to, just before you enter the room.
What exactly will happen during your audition nobody can predict, as every one is different, so be prepared for anything. Remain positive and confident in everything you say and do throughout your audition. Even if you think you have done badly, never make excuses – it has gone however it has gone, and your negative viewpoint may be very different from that of the panel. When your audition has finished, leave the room as quickly as you came into it, being prepared to go back in after you have left should the panel need to see more, so it’s important to keep your energy levels up until you are away from the building, just in case.
There, that’s it. All that remains is to wait for the outcome – though it really isn’t worth worrying about – if the part is meant for you, then you’ll get it, and if not, something better will come along when the time is right. Whatever happens, learn from your experience and above all, enjoy every audition that you do. Good luck!
My book, AUDITIONS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE, contains in depth advice, preparing you for many situations, and includes an audition log, which will help you with the questions to ask when you are offered an audition. Click here to buy your copy.
A version of this article also appears on the website Get Into Theatre.
© Richard Evans CDG 2009