What is an “Audition”?

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  • 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:

    Cold Reading
    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”.

    Monologue
    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.

    Song/Musical
    Actors who are auditioning for a musical may be asked to prepare a song or a medley of songs as part of their audition.

    Improv
    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.

    Self-Taped Auditions
    Increasingly, actors are also given the option to send in a self-taped audition, rather than performing their auditions in-person.

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