Auditioning can be a heart-racing process for many actors. Some actors have great talent and can act really well, but do not audition well–and therefore have trouble getting work. Some actors can audition well, but are not necessarily the most talented of actors, but they work, as they audition well.
Here are 10 tips to aide in auditioning well:
This post is intended to help those auditioning for theatre schools/drama programs and assumes monologues will be used.
1. Focus on what matters
The human mind can only focus on one thing at a time. If we are thinking about one thing, we are not thinking about something else. If we are thinking about the director, we are not thinking about what we are doing to create an experience for the director. Focus on what matters: Your performance.
2. Have fun, as you cannot control their thoughts
Peoples’ views are subjective and you cannot control how others will experience your performance or if they will appreciate your work. So, have fun. Make this an opportunity to get to perform. We perform because it is fun. Remember this while performing in the audition. The more joy you have in your performing, the more free your expression and the more fun the auditioning panel will have. Play.
3. Be as prepared as you can possibly be
Find out what the audition requirements are. If you are asked to perform monologues, ALWAYS read the entire play, if you can get a copy. Have your monologues memorized and as prepared as is possible. The director may ask you questions. You want to be able to answer them with insight, perspective and intelligence. If you are reading text from a play or screenplay, see if it is it possible to get the scenes you will read ahead of time.
4. Take the space as your own
You likely have no idea who auditioned just before you and if they were amazing or not. When you enter the space, those holding the auditions are probably still thinking about the person from before, especially if they were strong performers. It is important that you claim the space as your own. If the previous person used a chair and left it there, confidently walk in, smiling and move that chair to the side. This little tip refocuses the auditioning panel on you, as you have altered the space and removed any lasting impression from the previous person. This is your time. No other auditioning person has your time. It is just yours. Claim your time, use it well and make the room “yours”.
5. They want you to be the one
The people you are auditioning for do not want to waste their time. With each performer who walks through the door, the director or auditioning panel has high hopes. They are hopeful that you will end their need to continue to see people. They want you to be brilliant. They want you to be amazing. Remember this. They are on your side.
6. Find your focal points & think clearly.
In Norway, artists performing monologues will often look straight into the eyes of the director and give their performance. This can have a distracting effect for the director, as this can prevent them from relaxing and appreciating your performance fully. To help them appreciate your work, find a focal point in the room, which can serve as the person you are speaking to or imagine the other character in front of you (in space). Then try to effect that image of the “other character”. Creating is about making choices. Make strong and clear choices. The more specific you are in your choices (about your character and what you are doing), the clearer and cleaner your work will be.
7. Take direction quickly and well
If the director asks you to take direction (meaning gives you instructions to change what you are doing, the choices you have made), do it. Do not justify your previous choices. They are looking to see if they can work with you. Many actors cannot take direction. They get stuck in a pattern in how they perform and find it difficult to change their performance quickly. If you are asked to change and go in a new direction with what you are doing, jump off the cliff! Take their direction to the best of your ability and try to enjoy doing so. Directors want to work with actors who can and are willing to adapt and perform flexibly, who can “take direction”.
8. Choose material that speaks to you
Find language and roles that motivate you, that mean something to you. One of the greatest strengths an artist has is their ability to create from what they know and/or have experienced. Choosing material that moves you personally (because it speaks to you) will enable you to give the performance a feeling of truth, as you can identify with the character. This will lead to a stronger performance.
9. Choose monologues that contrast
If you are asked to perform more than one monologue, choose two that are different in focus and character. You want to be able to demonstrate your range for a director. Show them that you can play more than one type of role, that you are versatile as an artist. This will give them a better sense of your abilities.
10. Never apologize for your work
When you complete your monologue, pause, to give the viewer a chance to process what they have experienced. Don’t pause for long. A few seconds will suffice. But most importantly, when you finish your performance, don’t apologize for what you just did. Many performers, insecure about what the director thinks about what they did, the performer will humble themselves through body language or act frustrated with themselves publicly, as though to communicate that they could have done better. You do not know what they are thinking and they may have just really enjoyed your performance. Simply finish, stand and face them, smile, awaiting a conversation or instructions or simply say, “Thank you”. This conveys professionalism and confidence.
TITAN Teaterakademi will be offering free audition workshops, prior to auditions in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim Norway. In these workshops, Rektor Hart will offer additional information to help auditioning students and artists feel more confident in the audition process and thus increase their chances of giving greater insight into the full scope of their talent.
To sign up for these audition workshops, see the calendar of dates HERE.
To apply and audition for TITAN, click HERE.
Jim Hart is the founder and Rektor of TITAN Teaterakademi (The International Theatre Academy Norway). www.titanteaterskole.no