As a production company, we cast on-screen talent quite often for roles in everything from industrials to commercials to music videos and short films. Holding auditions allows us to meet and connect with actors on a more personal level compared to simply reviewing resumes, reels, and video submissions. Based on my experience coordinating casting calls and sitting in on auditions, I have put together a few tips to keep in mind to give you the best chance of success!
1) Do Your Homework
You’ve booked an audition- that’s great! Now, get ready to do some homework. You may have only been given so much information about the project at this point, but if you know the production company and client you would be working with, do some research on them. Get a feel for their work, their products/services, etc. This background knowledge could give you an edge during the audition. To be honest, we put this in practice ourselves and always research a company when bidding on a project. It is important to understand a client, what they do, and what they are looking for before attempting to fill their needs.
Another important piece of homework is preparation of sides. If you have been given sides, that is, a portion of the script that will be used for the audition, learn them! It’s fairly easy to spot the actors who took time to prepare compared the ones who just skimmed it over on their commute to the audition.
2) Don’t Be On Time...Be Early
Speaking of the commute in, make sure to give yourself enough time, especially if the audition is being held at an unfamiliar location. This is critical to take advantage of this next tip. Unlike an open casting call, auditions are typically scheduled in specific time slots. Whether you have been designated 5 minutes or 30 minutes, you’ll want to be ready to go when you are called in to make the most of your time. If you are showing up right when your audition is supposed to start, you may be rushed straight into the studio or room to keep on schedule. Of course, use your best judgment on how early is appropriate. At the end of the day, it is in your best interest to be the one to wait, not to make others wait on you.
3) Be Yourself, But Keep It Professional
This tip transcends auditions and really should be considered for any type of interview setting. As I mentioned earlier, auditions give the client and director a chance to interact with the actors and get a sense of their look, personality, and delivery in person, in real time. Bringing a bit of your personality and style into the audition is welcomed, but should still remain professional.
I once had an actor show up to an audition for a medical professional role in a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops. While I can appreciate personal expression through clothes, it made it difficult to picture him in a professional role.
4) Headshot And Resume, Always
In my opinion, this shouldn’t be optional. Having a picture and resume to quickly reference back to during or after the audition can be instrumental. Some directors may even pull information from the resume to better connect with the actor. This is just one more tool that can help seal the deal.
5) Be Nice...To Everyone
Sounds obvious right? But I am not just referring to the director, producer, and client that you may encounter, I mean everyone, from assistants to office staff to other actors auditioning. Now, I am not saying act fake; that won’t help. But having a friendly demeanor from the moment you walk in can. I have overheard actors bad talking other actors, other production companies, etc. There is a good chance that what goes on in the waiting area will be relayed to those sitting in on the auditions.
Some say there is strategy to booking the “best” time slot for an audition. I have heard book the earliest so you can be one of the first people seen with the freshest eyes; I have also heard book the latest so you can be the last person seen, and hopefully easier to remember compared to the earlier auditions. Does it really make a difference? I suppose it can. But if you’re good, you’ll stand out no matter the time of day.
We recently held auditions where we saw 21 actors throughout the day and ended up hiring the 17th person we saw. She wasn’t first, she wasn’t last. She was simply the best fit for the role.