On Auditions: 02/15/12

I decided to date this post in the subject, because I am constantly learning and challenging myself to become a better auditioner. Thus, in a month or so, with more practice, experience, and training, I will want to post on this topic again and share any wisdom that seems valuable to pass along.

As I have stated before, the “auditioning bible” still seems to be Audition by Michael Shurtleff. The book, however, does have a heavy bias towards auditions aimed at theatre casting.

Since I am not a book, merely an actor sharing his experiences and wisdom, I cannot provide you with as much information as a comprehensive text. I will, however, give you insights into what seems to be working for me and how I prep for an audition.

Here are a few quick tips (some of which will be easier to accomplish than others):

  • Read the material. And read it as often as possible. Is your tongue tripping over anything? If so, work on those sections.
  • Mark up your script with thoughts, beat markings, highlighting, and anything else that helps!
  • Determine the context of the material (commercial, industrial video, TV, film, comedy, drama, farce, slapstick, verse, etc.). You are going to want to prepare a bit differently depending on the style of the material.
  • Do your text detective work – make choices and choose playable actions (to plead, to threaten, to beguile, etc.), break the scene to beats, and determine a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Create a moment before, so your scene has immediate life.
  • Find the emotional headspace of your character (especially important for more “emotional” pieces).
  • Practice with a partner, record the scene so you can practice alone, put yourself in front of a camera and review (if applicable).
  • Relax. Relax. Relax.
  • Stretch, breath, and warm up.
  • Get your head out of the script during your read! The camera wants your eyes!
  • Be nice in the room. Openness helps. Be ready to receive information, as adjustment may be coming.
  • Say, Thank You.

4 thoughts on “On Auditions: 02/15/12

    • Vanessa,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. In order to prepare for adjustments on the fly, I suggest you practice playing scenes, monologues, and lines of dialogue with different tactics so you develop the talent to take direction quickly and without having to over think things too much. Does that help?

      ~ DSH

      • Thanks David. Yes, I think I just need to prepare more, trying it in different ways. I can cope with being asked to say things in different ways, but It’s always the actions that throw me. I don’t have a great deal of experience, so that’s part of it.

      • Yes, practice will certainly help. Grab some scenes or monologues off of the Internet, and play with creating different objectives/needs and using different tactics to get what you’re after!

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