Auditioning is a skill. In fact it is many skills. Many particular skills that require special training and lots of practice in order to get right.
Auditioning involves many aspects from organisation, preparation, to acting training, stress management and finally presentation.
What is an audition?
An audition is like a job interview. Often conducted by a casting director whose job is to find the right actor for the particular role.
What does the casting director want to see?
Like when you go to any other job interview, they want to know you can do the job.
Which means they want to check:
- You physically suit the character brief
You have sent them your showreel, they have a copy of your headshot. You have been invited to audition because based on these pieces of information, you seem to fit the bill. But they want to make sure that the person they have seen on the screen is like the person in real life AND, that the person on screen in the casting room, looks the same as in their showreel.
- You are a professional
Casting directors and directors will want to ensure they are hiring a professional actor or at least an actor who regards their career, professionally. Casting directors will know they have a professional actor in front of them when you do things like: turning up on time, turning up prepared, bringing necessary materials with you, you speak with knowledge and confidence about your character and your choices.
- You are easy to work with
Film sets can be unpredictable. Other actors can be unpredictable. Directors & producers can be unpredictable. Even on low budget and indie production changes will abound. For this reason it is important that directors and casting directors know that you will be flexible. They want to know for instance that they can rely on you to shoot the 3rd scene in the second act today even though you have been scheduled today for the 2nd scene in the first act. Most casting directors and directors will test this by asking you questions or giving you directions during the audition. Often they will ask you to do things differently. They want to see you can follow directions.
- You can act
Now this is the one that people get wrong most of the time. Sometimes, actors will be so motivated and eager to start in the industry that they at times neglect their training. Don’t neglect the most important thing, get real on your acting training, dedicate a few years to train as a professional actor! It certainly doesn’t mean you need to wait till the end of your training to audition. But, since you will only ever be as good in your auditions as your acting skills will allow, the quicker you begin working on your skills them, the quicker you can begin to audition.
- You can play the character
If you are interested in doing any film acting and especially if you are looking to pursue acting professionally, you need to know how to play characters as opposed to just being yourself. This type of acting requires specialist training. It requires you learn how to become the characters you are portraying from the inside out. Given the competition, most actors today are given specialist training in how to become another character. So if you are considering training as an actor, ensure the training or course you are taking involves teaching you how to ‘character-act’.
It takes a long time to perfect auditioning and you must constantly work at it. You must constantly work at each of those aspects individually in order to get ‘auditioning’ right.