ABC's of Auditions
Below is an excerpt from Young Thespians: Tips for auditioning for high school theater by Steve Couch.
A is for audition requirements. Before you do, know what the director’s requirements are for the audition and be sure to meet all the criteria. If you don’t, you might as well wear a sign that says “I can’t follow directions!”
B is for brave. This is what you must be before you head into the audition room. You have nothing to lose by trying out, and auditions are stressful enough. So don’t add needless anxiety to the process.
C is for callbacks. Some directors use this process, some don’t. Just don’t assume that if you are called back a second time that you are about to nail down a role, and don’t think you blew it if a callback doesn’t come your way. Directors have all kinds of things they are looking at, so don’t try to read their minds. Speaking of.
D is for director. They are running the show, quite literally. It doesn’t hurt to introduce yourself before auditions if you have any questions. It shows initiative and your level of seriousness. Just don’t be too pushy about it.
E is for energy. Put it all out there during your piece! Conserving energy is admirable when talking about global warming concerns and the like, but not on stage in an audition piece.
F is for face the audience. We want to see your face and your body language. Shoulder blades do not have much expression.
G is for grateful. This is what you should be for any role you receive. Plenty of other actors would love to have it if you don’t. Be prepared to accept any role or look unprofessional if you refuse something.
H is for hello. Don’t forget to introduce yourself and your piece when you take the stage, and wait until the director is ready. Don’t just launch into something.
I is for innovate. If you are doing an audition piece that has been done a million times before, show something new in your interpretation. Don’t follow the crowd unless you want to be cast in one.
J is for jerk. Don’t be one by getting up and moving around or entering or exiting the room during someone else’s audition. That is just rude.\
K is for keep going. Don’t start an audition over unless absolutely necessary. Chances are no one noticed that tiny mistake you made except you, and working around errors shows your ability to think off the cuff.
L is for loud. An audition you can’t hear is pretty useless.
M is for movement. Don’t be static. Use the stage space given to you, and incorporate different body positions to create variety.
N is for negativity. Leave it in the lobby. Auditions are hard on everyone, so be supportive. After all, once the crucible of auditions are complete, you are going to be working with these people — if you are cast.
O is for offstage. Keep it quiet while others are trying out. Remember — you are always auditioning.
P is for preparation. Don’t just slap something together. It will show in your performance, and make you seem unreliable.
Q is for questions. If you have any, ask them before audition day. Moments before you take your turn is really not the time to ask about the appropriateness of a given piece or audition requirements.
R is for rest. Get some the night before.
S is for song. If it is a musical audition, try to sing something appropriate to the style of show and that shows your range.
T is for “There are no small parts, only small actors.” ‘Nuff said.
U is for understanding. Try and have some for your directors. Auditioning is tough, but directors have a tough job, too. They are making a judgment on only 90 seconds of your life. Don’t take it personal.
V is for voice. Try and come to auditions healthy, and don’t apologize for being under the weather if you’re not. If your director knows you, they can account for illness if need be.
W is for waiting. While waiting your turn, be appreciative of the other auditioners. Everyone deserves a round of applause for daring to try.
X is for X-ray vision. Directors don’t have it, but they can see right through a phony. Don’t try to pull a fast one. If you are unprepared, they will know. (See “P”.)
Y is for you. You should try! What do you have to lose? After all.
Z is for zero. That is the percent of actors cast who don’t try out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Go for it! And break a leg.