What is an “Audition”
(By AM Staff)
An audition is a brief performance meant to demonstrate an actor’s suitability for an acting role that must be cast.
Breaking it down:
To fill an acting role, a casting director must evaluate the suitability of the actors under consideration and select the actor who best fits the creative vision of the writer, producer, director and/or others involved with the project. This evaluation process is known as casting. To complete the casting process, actors are usually asked to participate in brief performances related to the project, performances that clarify which actor best fits the role at-hand. This performance is known as an audition.
It typically involves an actor going into a room of decision-makers and performing all or parts of a script, to give those decision-makers a clear understanding of the actor’s ability, range and fit, relative to the character they are auditioning for.
The audition process is not monolithic. There are many different types of auditions that actors may be asked to perform. Here are some examples:
An actor may be asked to do a “cold read”. This means the actor will have little-to-no time to prepare for the audition or learn the lines they will be asked to perform. They simply must do the audition “cold”.
Actors may be asked to audition by performing a monologue – a block of speech from a play, television show or film (or even written by the actor themselves) that the actor has prepared prior to attending the audition.
Dialogue or Scene
An actor may audition in a dialogue or scene format, performing their audition with the casting director, a reader or another actor reading the lines of the other character in the scene.
Actors who are auditioning for a musical may be asked to prepare a song or a medley of songs as part of their audition.
In some cases, an actor may not be given “sides”, a script, or be asked to perform a prepared monologue. Instead, the actor may be asked to perform in improvisation form, or “improv”. Here, the actor is asked to think on their feet, making up their own lines based on the “given circumstances”.
Callback or Recall
When actors complete their initial audition, they may be asked to return for a second audition, known as a “callback”. In some cases, there may be several rounds of callbacks as decision-makers narrow down their choices.
Increasingly, actors are also given the option to send in a self-taped audition, rather than performing their auditions in-person.
General Audition Tips
Always be on time for your audition
One of the worst things you can do is arrive late to an audition. In addition to being unprofessional, arriving late shows the casting director that you are not driven to succeed and, if they hire you for the acting job, that they cannot count on you to be on time, to be prepared, to be professional.
If you are asked to perform a monologue at your audition, choose a monologue that showcases your best talents. If you are given a script or audition sides, be sure to memorize your lines. If you are asked to do a cold reading, be sure to ask questions about your acting role, such as the age and background of the character.
Dress To “Suggest” the Part
Show up at your audition dressed as the character you are auditioning for. But don’t overdress. The idea is to dress to suggest the role. For example, if you are auditioning for a role as a police officer, dress as a police officer would dress. However, it is usually not necessary to wear a full police costume. Instead, dress in a manner that suggests you could be a police officer, such as wearing a dark shirt and formal pants. Dressing to suggest the character you are auditioning for will help casting directors see you as the character.
Stick to the Script
Don’t do a whole lot of adlibbing. Try to stick to the script as much as you can, unless you are asked to do a portion of the audition as an improvisation. Sticking to the script can help you stay focused and stay in character. Additionally, sticking to the script can be important because there may be certain lines that the casting director is expecting you to deliver; certain lines that are important to the character.
Make a Strong Character Choice
It is extremely important that you make strong choices for your character. For example, if your character’s objective is to convince another character, perhaps your spouse, to purchase an expensive luxury car, a weak character choice might be to play the scene as if your character really likes the vehicle and thinks it would be fun to drive it. A much stronger character choice might be to play the role as if this vehicle, and only this vehicle, is the vehicle you’ve wanted since you were a child, and this is the only opportunity you’ll ever have to get it.