How to act at an audition

How to act at an auditionWondering how to audition for a movie and make it to the big screen? Here, we’ll share six important tips for success.

Many major movies are filmed in big cities such as Los Angeles and New York. Whatever big city you are closest to, you should start by looking up the local film office. For example, if you search online for “Massachusetts State Film Office,” you should see a website like this.

Every state also has its own film office, which will have all the information you need about what is being filmed in that state, local auditions, etc. Keep reading for more helpful tips to nail your next audition.

How to Audition for a Movie: 6 Steps

1) Find Your Role

This is a necessary step for those interested in how to audition for movies.

For most films, it may sound superficial but looks really are everything. You will need to try to assess which characters you could play on film. For example, do you look like a high school student? Could you portray a daughter, or a sister? Or could you play the dreamy boyfriend?

Think of all the different character possibilities you could portray, and start looking for the most appropriate auditions.

2) Find Smaller Productions

If you’re diving into film for the first time, you don’t necessarily have to shoot for the major, commercial films.

You might not realize it, but whatever city you are in there are many independent and student films being created and filmed all the time! This is a great way to start out, and see what it’s like being on a film set.

If you’re a college student, you should also get involved in your school’s film department. Many students will need to make films for their majors. These won’t pay well, but it’s a great way to start learning about film and how to act on film.

Also, low-budget independent films and short films are a great way to get a speaking part!

3) Find Background Work

If you’re wondering how to audition for a movie, you’ve probably already done some acting training or taken acting lessons. If so, don’t be be afraid to go for the big budget films! But films are being made every day, and they usually need tons of extras.

Extra or background work is fun – you will learn so much about film, get a decent paycheck, and perhaps even be featured on film. The part may be small, but you never know – depending on your look and how you act on the film set, you could get bumped up into a featured or speaking role.

If you want a speaking role, or a main role in a film, doing extra work is essential before you can hit these goals. Extra work will help you become comfortable on camera, get used to the terminology, and learn how a movie is made.

You may or may not need to audition for extra work. I encourage you to research online for local casting directors – try searching for something like “Background Casting Directors” and a list should come up near your city.

You then can register to have your headshot and resume on file, and if they have a role open for your character type they will get in touch with you.

4) Keep an Eye Out for Audition Notices

Many audition notices are posted online on sites like Playbill, Backstage, Actors Access, and Casting Networks. Some of these trade websites require a monthly fee to subscribe, and some of them even allow you to “audition” by submitting your materials online.

Your materials should include a headshot and acting resume, and perhaps a reel of video footage. With the industry changing so much, it’s easy to get headshots taken and get some film footage with YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and so on.

5) Expect Competition at Auditions

At a film audition, you should expect a lot of other people auditioning for the same role as you. Sometimes the writer or director may be present in the room. Other times it will be interns from a local film office who will film a quick take and send it to LA for more consideration.

No matter who is in the room, you should always remain professional and courteous at all times. A film audition will usually consist of you reading lines from the actual movie, say with another actor, who they are also considering for a role.

Sometimes you will have seen the script before, and other times they’ll give it to you on the spot. The casting team has many people to see, and are usually tired from auditions. If you’re wondering how to audition for movies in the best way: be prepared and don’t ask them many questions.

6) Work Your Way Up to the Union

Working in film and TV, you will eventually need to be part of the union, which is called SAG/AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild, and American Federation of TV and Recording Arts).

The union will make sure you are paid fairly, have health insurance, and are not working under unethical circumstances. Many of the main roles and speaking parts in major films are cast with actors represented in the union, and usually only actors in the union can audition for that role.

If you are not in that union, you are then considered non-union. Non-union actors are paid less, so you’re probably wondering, how can I get in that union? The answer is: it will take some time, work, and dedication!

You will need to do extra work for a few years before getting into the union. If you audition for a film as a non-union actor, and are offered a union role right away, the production will grant you the opportunity to join the union. No one can just join, you have to earn your way up!

Also by doing extra work, sometimes you can earn “waivers,” which are given when the role is meant for a union person, but they cannot possibly find a union person to fulfill it. Once you earn three waivers (three days on set), you become eligible to join.

However, there is a pricey initiation fee to join, and once you join you can’t do work that is not covered by a SAG/AFTRA contract (meaning you can’t do non-union work).

Knowing these tips for how to audition for a movie is your first step, but keep in mind that working your way through the film industry will take time. With hard work, patience, and persistence it will all pay off, and you will have fun doing so!

How to act at an auditionLiz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music, including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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by Lisa Kay Jennings October 27, 2016, 10:01 am 94.6k Views 9 Comments

How to act at an audition

There’s a ton of ways to stand out at an audition: acting like a diva, wearing a crazy costume, or being just plain crazy. Stand out you will, but for all the wrong reasons. Here are some positive ways to be more memorable at your next audition.

Being prepared in every possible way is sure to make you stand out as a true professional. i.e.: Be warmed up, physically and vocally, have your headshot and résumé (plus extra copies), carry your sides, know the character, understand the project and the tone of the script, and be aware of who’s in the room. As the saying goes, “Success happens when preparedness meets opportunity.”

Being on time is super important. Perhaps you won’t stand out for being on time, but you’ll definitely stand out for being late- and not in a good way. Being on time shows that you are a professional and you value both your time and the casting director’s time.

Having proper audition technique is a must. Slate accordingly and don’t do any ‘green’ actor ticks that make you look like a newbie or a hack. No last minute tongue twisters in front of casting or strange turns into character. Say your name, take a beat, and begin.

No matter what the character, dress in a way that shows a hint of them. If you’re auditioning for a Queen don’t wear a ballgown, but simply something that shows you have class and poise. Most importantly, always dress with respect for yourself.

Go in and do the best you can do and be happy with that. Don’t seek validation, it’s needy and casts doubt over your entire performance.

Be kind to the other actors in the waiting room, to the monitor, to the receptionist, to the security guard- to everyone. First of all, you never know who’s watching, and secondly, you should be kind regardless because it generates positive energy, which is good for everyone.

Be pliable. Even if you disagree with the direction given just go with the flow.

When you go in front of casting, try to connect with them on a human level instead of putting them on a pedestal. Ask them how they are doing and try to strike up a quick convo on something you can both connect on. Be aware of time and your surroundings; don’t be overly chatty if you sense they are rushed.

This is one of the most important things you can do. A hundred other actors just read the same copy as you did with basically the same instincts. Find a moment in the script where you can add something surprising and unexpected, while remaining true to the scene. This is your chance to let your creativity shine.

If you’ve been doing the same tired monologue over and over again- mix it up. Try something that scares you. Taking a risk is always noticeable.

If you connected with the script or the character let the casting director know. It never hurts to mention that you really loved the story, or that you found the character eerily similar to you.

Find a way to allow what makes you unique, shine through the copy.

If an opportunity to mix up the material arises- take it. If they aren’t specific that your monologue/scene comes from a play, take one from a lesser known movie or television series. As long as it fits the needs of what they may be looking for and it’s okay to do so- it’s a great chance to do something they’ve probably never seen before instead of the same tired Heidi Chronicle monologue.

Try doing a scene or a monologue written for the opposite sex. It adds a fun twist and when done correctly it can really turn heads.

It’s impressive when an actor knows how to properly pronounce the strange word in the script, or understands the odd historic reference. It also makes you look super smart- which never hurts.

If you have a genuine question about the script or character, ask it. But don’t waste time by asking arbitrary questions just to stand in front of casting for a few moments longer.

Whether it’s commercial copy or a comedic scene look for a button. Find it, then end strong with it. When actors don’t hit the button it’s equivalent to never receiving the sweet satisfaction of hearing the other shoe drop.

The most important thing above all else is to make a choice, a strong choice, and then stick with it. Don’t change your mind in the middle of the scene- for better or for worse, ride that choice to the end.

How to act at an auditionWondering how to audition for a movie and make it to the big screen? Here, we’ll share six important tips for success.

Many major movies are filmed in big cities such as Los Angeles and New York. Whatever big city you are closest to, you should start by looking up the local film office. For example, if you search online for “Massachusetts State Film Office,” you should see a website like this.

Every state also has its own film office, which will have all the information you need about what is being filmed in that state, local auditions, etc. Keep reading for more helpful tips to nail your next audition.

How to Audition for a Movie: 6 Steps

1) Find Your Role

This is a necessary step for those interested in how to audition for movies.

For most films, it may sound superficial but looks really are everything. You will need to try to assess which characters you could play on film. For example, do you look like a high school student? Could you portray a daughter, or a sister? Or could you play the dreamy boyfriend?

Think of all the different character possibilities you could portray, and start looking for the most appropriate auditions.

2) Find Smaller Productions

If you’re diving into film for the first time, you don’t necessarily have to shoot for the major, commercial films.

You might not realize it, but whatever city you are in there are many independent and student films being created and filmed all the time! This is a great way to start out, and see what it’s like being on a film set.

If you’re a college student, you should also get involved in your school’s film department. Many students will need to make films for their majors. These won’t pay well, but it’s a great way to start learning about film and how to act on film.

Also, low-budget independent films and short films are a great way to get a speaking part!

3) Find Background Work

If you’re wondering how to audition for a movie, you’ve probably already done some acting training or taken acting lessons. If so, don’t be be afraid to go for the big budget films! But films are being made every day, and they usually need tons of extras.

Extra or background work is fun – you will learn so much about film, get a decent paycheck, and perhaps even be featured on film. The part may be small, but you never know – depending on your look and how you act on the film set, you could get bumped up into a featured or speaking role.

If you want a speaking role, or a main role in a film, doing extra work is essential before you can hit these goals. Extra work will help you become comfortable on camera, get used to the terminology, and learn how a movie is made.

You may or may not need to audition for extra work. I encourage you to research online for local casting directors – try searching for something like “Background Casting Directors” and a list should come up near your city.

You then can register to have your headshot and resume on file, and if they have a role open for your character type they will get in touch with you.

4) Keep an Eye Out for Audition Notices

Many audition notices are posted online on sites like Playbill, Backstage, Actors Access, and Casting Networks. Some of these trade websites require a monthly fee to subscribe, and some of them even allow you to “audition” by submitting your materials online.

Your materials should include a headshot and acting resume, and perhaps a reel of video footage. With the industry changing so much, it’s easy to get headshots taken and get some film footage with YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and so on.

5) Expect Competition at Auditions

At a film audition, you should expect a lot of other people auditioning for the same role as you. Sometimes the writer or director may be present in the room. Other times it will be interns from a local film office who will film a quick take and send it to LA for more consideration.

No matter who is in the room, you should always remain professional and courteous at all times. A film audition will usually consist of you reading lines from the actual movie, say with another actor, who they are also considering for a role.

Sometimes you will have seen the script before, and other times they’ll give it to you on the spot. The casting team has many people to see, and are usually tired from auditions. If you’re wondering how to audition for movies in the best way: be prepared and don’t ask them many questions.

6) Work Your Way Up to the Union

Working in film and TV, you will eventually need to be part of the union, which is called SAG/AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild, and American Federation of TV and Recording Arts).

The union will make sure you are paid fairly, have health insurance, and are not working under unethical circumstances. Many of the main roles and speaking parts in major films are cast with actors represented in the union, and usually only actors in the union can audition for that role.

If you are not in that union, you are then considered non-union. Non-union actors are paid less, so you’re probably wondering, how can I get in that union? The answer is: it will take some time, work, and dedication!

You will need to do extra work for a few years before getting into the union. If you audition for a film as a non-union actor, and are offered a union role right away, the production will grant you the opportunity to join the union. No one can just join, you have to earn your way up!

Also by doing extra work, sometimes you can earn “waivers,” which are given when the role is meant for a union person, but they cannot possibly find a union person to fulfill it. Once you earn three waivers (three days on set), you become eligible to join.

However, there is a pricey initiation fee to join, and once you join you can’t do work that is not covered by a SAG/AFTRA contract (meaning you can’t do non-union work).

Knowing these tips for how to audition for a movie is your first step, but keep in mind that working your way through the film industry will take time. With hard work, patience, and persistence it will all pay off, and you will have fun doing so!

How to act at an auditionLiz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music, including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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Post a Casting Call

Are you a producer or director? Seeking talent for your next project? Post your casting notice on Ace Your Audition.

Simply send an email to [email protected] with the subject New Casting Call and include the following information.

  • Basics: Title of project, type of project (film, TV, theater, commercial, voiceover, print), casting agency, production company, a short description or synopsis, the genre, union or non-union, etc.
  • Dates: Audition dates, shooting dates, etc.
  • Locations: Audition location, shooting location, etc.
  • Compensation: What is the pay? Any other perks?
  • Character Breakdown: Including age, gender, race, personality traits, and any other relevant info.
  • Image(s): Whether it’s your production company’s logo, your headshot, or promotional material for the project, including an image is always a good idea.
  • Call to Action: How should actors submit? Is there an open call? What should they prepare?

If approved, you may expect your casting notice to be displayed within 72 hours. You will receive email notification with a link.

Feel free to post your casting call on our Facebook page as well.

Here you’ll find plenty of free online acting classes for actors of all levels: acting lessons on both the art of acting and the business of acting, including various acting techniques, how to prepare monologues and work on character and how to nail auditions. You can even submit your monologues for review and get feedback!

If you live too far from acting classes or just can’t afford to go to acting school, this is a good place to start. You can also explore these lessons if you don’t feel ready to perform in front of others or if you’re just not sure if you want to act yet. All the lessons below are free to read on the website. If you want to take them with you, get a copy of the e-book by clicking in the right column. We also offer Skype acting classes for a fee, so when you’re ready for the next step, contact us if you’re interested in private acting classes online.

Ready? Let’s get started!

1) Online Acting School for Beginning Actors

These online acting classes are for those who never went to acting school or only took a few acting classes in high school. It covers basic acting techniques, how to become an actor and how to work on an acting monologue for the first time. When you feel ready, you can submit a video of your first monologue for feedback.

Acting is a performing art. The more you act, the quicker you’ll learn. So first, pick a monologue to work on so you can try acting techniques out as you go.

The first thing you need to learn as an actor is to act truthfully, which means not faking. All the basic acting techniques help the actor achieve this goal but all use slightly different methods.

The first acting technique to get familiar with is Stanislavski because it is at the core of all the other modern acting techniques you will study as an actor.

Start by reading our Stanislavski online acting class. Try the exercises, then return to this page.

Now look at each of the acting techniques below, tryout the acting exercises and experimenting with your monologue as above…

  • Method Acting Lessons: Start with this acting lesson if you feel tense when you act and have trouble connecting with the emotional life of the character.
  • Meisner Online Acting Class: Read about this acting technique if you feel self-conscious when you act. Meisner helps actors to be more in the moment.
  • Stella Adler Online Acting Class: Use this information to start digging deeper into your monologue and using your imagination to have the text “speak to you”.
  • Michael Chekhov Online Acting Class: Read this overview of Michael Chekhov’s work to stop “being in your head” and rely more on your artistic intuition to work on roles.

Follow this quick step by step guide if you’ve never acted and just don’t know how to start an acting career.

Tips and techniques to memorize your lines as an actor.

This acting lesson gives you a step by step approach to working on a monologue for acting class or auditions.

One of the best ways to learn is to perform and get feedback. When you feel ready, scroll to the bottom of the acting monologue lesson to submit a video of your work. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sharing your work in progress will help you determine what you need to concentrate on next.

Online Acting School for Intermediate Actors

These online acting classes are for actors who have taken quite a few acting classes or attended acting school and are ready to audition professionally. It focuses on audition preparation and specific acting issues like speech and stage fright. You can also submit an audition monologue to get feedback before a big audition.

This is an acting guide on the business of acting auditions. It covers how to find castings, how to submit to acting auditions and how to prepare for auditions.

This online acting class is packed with tips, from how to make a first good impression when you enter the audition to how to make the most of your callback.

This quick online acting lesson covers movie auditions at the Hollywood studios, how to work with the camera at filmed auditions and how to make the most of your film auditions by researching the project and using the “sides”.

This is a 2-part acting lesson that covers both the business aspect of commercial auditions and tips to nail your commercial audition.

Check out this page if you haven’t got an acting reel yet or if your reel is not getting you called in.

This online acting class focuses on auditions that require monologues. It covers how to pick good audition monologues, the dos and don’ts of audition monologues and several acting tips to help you have a winning audition.

This is the place to view audition monologues by other actors and share your big audition monologue to get comments and/or feedback.

Online Acting Lessons for Advanced Actors

These online acting lessons are for working actors who want to explore lesser known acting techniques or get a refresher course by browsing acting career tips and acting videos.

A look at some lesser-know acting training methods, from the Spolin technique to Suzuki and viewpoints for those who need a new acting approach.

Get a refresher course on how to look for clues in Shakespeare’s blank verse.

Step by step online acting class to work on a role.

Please come back to visit us often as our list of online acting lessons grows or sign up for our newsletter for the latest online acting classes!

How to act at an auditionDreaming of making your debut on TV? Here, acting teacher Liz T. shares her tips for how to audition for a TV show…

Want to be on TV? You’ll first need to get some acting training under your belt, and establish a strong knowledge of current dramas and comedies on TV. Then what? Here are your next steps…

Film Yourself

Because it’s TV, casting directors will want to see how you look and act on a screen as opposed to a stage in a live theater. At home, try filming yourself on an iPhone, Macbook computer, or other film recording device to see how you look! Sometimes how we think we look on film is very different than how we actually look! When you do this, think about these questions: Do you look comfortable on film? Or are you making a lot of weird facial expressions, such as blinking a lot, touching your nose, biting your lips, or raising your eyebrows? See if you have any habits that you can break before you step into the audition room!

Also, it is not recommended to wear white or black clothing in front of the camera, as this can wash your skin tone out. Wear something flattering and a neutral color; casting directors don’t usually like busy patterns or stripes.

Critique Yourself

If you are doing an acting scene either alone or with a partner in front of the camera, you want to make sure your speaking volume is accurate. You don’t need to speak too loud, as on a Broadway stage when you are trying to project your voice to the back of the audience; the camera and microphone should be able to pick you up at your normal speaking voice. But it shouldn’t be so soft, either, that they can’t hear a word you are saying.

Also, make sure you don’t look directly into the camera all the time, or directly at your scene partner. When you do your “pretend” filming experiment at home, notice where your eyes are most of the time. Are they rolling around, looking cross-eyed, or are they glued on one thing? They should look natural, with some movement, but nothing too still or sporadic. When you look at your reading, make notes of where in the scene or lines you should look at the camera and at your scene partner. Perhaps it is a romantic scene, and you are saying “I love you.” You may want to try two different approaches, one directly into the camera, and one at your scene partner. Think about these techniques. Study your favorite actors and see how they do it and what makes an impact on you!

Join SAG-AFTRA

Similar to movies, you will need to be part of the SAG-AFTRA Union (Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Recording Arts) in order to audition. If not, you can start by attending non-union auditions.

To join the union, you will need to start working in TV as an extra or stand-in. If a director hires you as a non-union actor in a role that is meant or contracted for a union actor, you’ll receive a waiver each day you work – and once you receive three waivers, you can then apply to join the union. If accepted, you will need to pay a union initiation fee of approximately $3,000, along with monthly dues. It is a very big investment, so make sure it is something you really want to go for! Being part of the union, however, will ensure that you are being paid and treated fairly on set, and you are also eligible for health and retirement benefits.

Finding Auditions

Of course, if you want to learn how to audition for a TV show… you’ll need to know where to find the actual auditions! Try websites and resources such as:

These sites mostly post auditions for big cities such as New York, LA, Orlando, Boston, and Chicago. Some of these websites will require a fee to join (it is worth it!). And some you can submit your headshot and resume online to the casting director, without having to audition in person.

Prepare Yourself

If you do receive an audition time slot, or are attending an open call, don’t panic! You will need to bring your headshot and resume to the audition, and also be prepared that it could take as little as under two minutes, or you could be in the audition room for an hour. Be prepared for both scenarios.

In the audition room, there may be one or several casting directors. Sometimes you will be given the script or “sides” a few days or weeks beforehand, or sometimes you’ll get it on the spot! If you are reading on the spot, it’s good to practice these types of “cold reads” before your audition. Find a friend, and test yourself reading lines or monologues. See what your natural reading tendencies and acting choices are.

When you walk into the room, be very polite and be yourself. Sometimes the casting directors will want to chat and have a conversation with you, but other times they just want to focus on the audition. Try not to distract them. In a TV audition, it will most likely be filmed. Sometimes they will send it to another casting office in LA or New York, so you must be as comfortable as possible auditioning with a big camera or several cameras right in front of your face!

If you would like to practice reading lines, work on your monologues, or learn more about how to audition for a TV show, I would love to start working with you today! Contact me through TakeLessons!

How to act at an auditionLiz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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How to act at an audition

Emmanuel Faure/The Image Bank/Getty Images

  • M.A. in Literature, California State University – Northridge
  • B.A. in Creative Writing, California State University – Northridge

A queasy feeling settles into your stomach. You are surrounded by a group of gossiping men and women who sip cafe mochas while complimenting each other’s headshots. Suddenly, the casting director calls your number. “What monologue will you be reading for us today?” she asks.

“Oh, sorry,” you reply. “I didn’t know I was supposed to bring one.” Her annoyed expression tells you everything. You won’t be getting a callback.

This scenario can be easily avoided by following these simple audition tips.

Read the Audition Notice Carefully

Actors should arrive at auditions fully prepared, not just ready to perform, but also to present any requested material. Examine the audition notice. Should you prepare one monologue? Two? Make certain you match the material to the play. For example, if you are auditioning for Oedipus Rex, prepare a scene from Greek drama, not The Odd Couple.

Finally, based on the audition notice, make certain you are trying out for an appropriate part. If the casting director is looking for a tall, bald man in his 60s, don’t show up hoping that they will change the script for your short, frizzy-haired, thirty-year-old self. Follow whatever guidelines are offered to ensure that you arrive at the audition as organized as possible.

Be Professional

Show the casting director how reliable you are by showing up at least fifteen minutes before the audition. Be courteous, but don’t be too talkative. Don’t pester crew members or fellow actors with idle conversation. Spend your time privately readying yourself.

Most casting directors expect you to bring a headshot and resume. This might not hold true for community theatre productions. However, if you are committed to a career in theater, you may want to bring these along just to make a favorable impression.

In general, think of an audition as a job interview. Avoid inappropriate behavior, whether its chewing gum, using profanity, behaving too shyly or brashly, or making long-winded speeches as to why you are perfect for the role.

Dress Appropriately

Usually, it is best to wear “business casual” attire. You want to exhibit charm and professionalism, but you don’t want to look like a stock-broker or a banker. Remember, many new actors make the mistake of wearing costumes to audition. Perhaps they say to themselves: “Hey, I’ve got a great pirate outfit from last Halloween! I’ll wear that!” Sadly, this is bound to cause casting directors to chuckle under their breath. They might be amused, but they will definitely not take the actor seriously.

If you are auditioning for a dancing part in a musical, wear dance attire. It should not be anything flashy or expensive. Any choreographer worth her salt will focus on your dancing ability, not your sequins.

Perfect Your Monologue

If you are asked to bring a monologue, make certain that you have rehearsed it completely. Do not just know the lines, know the character you are becoming. Let the directors see a striking difference between the person that just said hello to them and the character that is now coming to life on the stage.

At the same time, be flexible with the audition material. They might have you read the lines over, asking you to take on a different personality. Sure, you may do great when you perform the monologue with tears in your eyes, but be prepared if they ask you to do the same lines in a calm, icy voice or a whimsical British dialect. If given the chance, show them that you can interpret the role in many different ways.

Get to Know the Play

Many auditions involve reading “sides.” Sides are small, hand-picked portions of a script. Sometimes they are a brief monologue. Sometimes they are short scenes involving two or more characters. Most of the time, you won’t know exactly what scene you’ll be reading. In that case, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the play in general.

If you are auditioning for a popular play feel free to buy a copy of the script online or at your local bookstore. Better yet, visit your local library. Watching a film version of the play might help as well. Don’t simply mimic the movie actor’s performance, though; casting directors want to see what you can create, not what you can imitate.

Practice Cold Reading

If the play is rather obscure or brand new, it may be difficult to purchase a copy. In that case, you’ll want to polish up your cold reading skills. Cold reading is the act of performing lines as you read them for the very first time. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with practice, most actors can become quite adept at it.

The best way to become a fluent cold reader is to read aloud as often as you can. When you cold read during your audition, do not worry if you stumble over a word or two. The important thing to remember is to stay in character. Create chemistry between you and your fellow actor. Make the casting director, and anyone else watching, believe that you are thinking and feeling the words on the page.

Don’t Apologize

After an audition, an actor becomes his own worst critic. Often times, hopeful thespians are tempted to explain themselves to the directors. They provide excuses or even apologies in hopes of gaining sympathy. Avoid this as much as you can. Thank the casting director and leave the stage knowing that if you are right for the part, they will contact you. If not, know that you did your best. And remember: there are many other wonderful roles out there just waiting to be filled.

How to act at an auditionDreaming of making your debut on TV? Here, acting teacher Liz T. shares her tips for how to audition for a TV show…

Want to be on TV? You’ll first need to get some acting training under your belt, and establish a strong knowledge of current dramas and comedies on TV. Then what? Here are your next steps…

Film Yourself

Because it’s TV, casting directors will want to see how you look and act on a screen as opposed to a stage in a live theater. At home, try filming yourself on an iPhone, Macbook computer, or other film recording device to see how you look! Sometimes how we think we look on film is very different than how we actually look! When you do this, think about these questions: Do you look comfortable on film? Or are you making a lot of weird facial expressions, such as blinking a lot, touching your nose, biting your lips, or raising your eyebrows? See if you have any habits that you can break before you step into the audition room!

Also, it is not recommended to wear white or black clothing in front of the camera, as this can wash your skin tone out. Wear something flattering and a neutral color; casting directors don’t usually like busy patterns or stripes.

Critique Yourself

If you are doing an acting scene either alone or with a partner in front of the camera, you want to make sure your speaking volume is accurate. You don’t need to speak too loud, as on a Broadway stage when you are trying to project your voice to the back of the audience; the camera and microphone should be able to pick you up at your normal speaking voice. But it shouldn’t be so soft, either, that they can’t hear a word you are saying.

Also, make sure you don’t look directly into the camera all the time, or directly at your scene partner. When you do your “pretend” filming experiment at home, notice where your eyes are most of the time. Are they rolling around, looking cross-eyed, or are they glued on one thing? They should look natural, with some movement, but nothing too still or sporadic. When you look at your reading, make notes of where in the scene or lines you should look at the camera and at your scene partner. Perhaps it is a romantic scene, and you are saying “I love you.” You may want to try two different approaches, one directly into the camera, and one at your scene partner. Think about these techniques. Study your favorite actors and see how they do it and what makes an impact on you!

Join SAG-AFTRA

Similar to movies, you will need to be part of the SAG-AFTRA Union (Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Recording Arts) in order to audition. If not, you can start by attending non-union auditions.

To join the union, you will need to start working in TV as an extra or stand-in. If a director hires you as a non-union actor in a role that is meant or contracted for a union actor, you’ll receive a waiver each day you work – and once you receive three waivers, you can then apply to join the union. If accepted, you will need to pay a union initiation fee of approximately $3,000, along with monthly dues. It is a very big investment, so make sure it is something you really want to go for! Being part of the union, however, will ensure that you are being paid and treated fairly on set, and you are also eligible for health and retirement benefits.

Finding Auditions

Of course, if you want to learn how to audition for a TV show… you’ll need to know where to find the actual auditions! Try websites and resources such as:

These sites mostly post auditions for big cities such as New York, LA, Orlando, Boston, and Chicago. Some of these websites will require a fee to join (it is worth it!). And some you can submit your headshot and resume online to the casting director, without having to audition in person.

Prepare Yourself

If you do receive an audition time slot, or are attending an open call, don’t panic! You will need to bring your headshot and resume to the audition, and also be prepared that it could take as little as under two minutes, or you could be in the audition room for an hour. Be prepared for both scenarios.

In the audition room, there may be one or several casting directors. Sometimes you will be given the script or “sides” a few days or weeks beforehand, or sometimes you’ll get it on the spot! If you are reading on the spot, it’s good to practice these types of “cold reads” before your audition. Find a friend, and test yourself reading lines or monologues. See what your natural reading tendencies and acting choices are.

When you walk into the room, be very polite and be yourself. Sometimes the casting directors will want to chat and have a conversation with you, but other times they just want to focus on the audition. Try not to distract them. In a TV audition, it will most likely be filmed. Sometimes they will send it to another casting office in LA or New York, so you must be as comfortable as possible auditioning with a big camera or several cameras right in front of your face!

If you would like to practice reading lines, work on your monologues, or learn more about how to audition for a TV show, I would love to start working with you today! Contact me through TakeLessons!

How to act at an auditionLiz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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