Sun Tzu said, "On the battlefield, victory depends on planning." When thinking about how to prepare for an audition, this quote is just as true. Intimidating as they may seem, acting auditions are an essential part of your acting career. They are the first steps towards realizing your dream as an actor and thus need to be navigated with care.
Whether you're a newbie to the performing arts or a seasoned pro, your job as an actor is to show off acting choices based on a short project and character breakdown along with a set of sides (the portion of the script you act out) to casting directors, directors and producers in the form of an Acting Audition.
These days, mostly happening via: Self Tape. Click here to read my blog about self tapes
What separates professionals from wannabe artists isn’t inspiration. It’s preparation and execution, especially when it comes to delivering acting auditions. You, too, can take control of your acting auditions and deliver a strong performance with these helpful tips and acting exercises. Here’s the Coles notes version of how to prepare for an audition.
How to Prepare for an Audition
- Familiarize Yourself With the Project You’re Auditioning For
Research the project you are auditioning for and read up on it as much as possible. Preparing yourself for the audition is the most important of the acting exercises. Knowing everything about the filmmakers, the tone of the show, the plot lines and the other characters will inform every choice you make in delivering your version of the character you’re auditioning for and ultimately help you perform better.
- Find yourself in the Character
Get into the mindset of your role long before you begin rehearsing your lines. Identify all the ways that you are similar to your character. Think about the times in your own life that mirror the experiences of your character in the scene. Think about the people in your life that mirror the relationships being played out in the scene. Spending this time to personalize the scene is integral to a grounded, free performance.
- Play Out the Scene in Your Head
Put down the script and play through the moments of the scene, don’t worry about knowing the words yet, just focus on imagining what happens in the scene. Imagination time is a key acting exercise!
How to Practice for an Audition
- Choose Your Actions
Once you have thoroughly prepared, now it’s time to choose which Actions your character takes and identify which Reactions they have as they move through the audition scene.
Rehearse your actions and reactions until they feel natural. It is one of the most important acting exercises. The more you rehearse, the more confidence you will have during your performance.
- Check in with the Script
Go back to the script and learn the words that the screen writer has provided as the vehicle for your actions and reactions.
- Put Your Work on Tape
Find an acting friend or coach to read for the other characters in your scene and film your scene. Review your work and ask yourself if each reaction and action is being played out in a grounded way that serves the purpose of the project you’re auditioning for.
Acting Exercises for in between Auditions
- Practice Cold Reading
Cold reading, also known as Sight Reading, is reading material aloud, audition style, with no preparation ahead of time. This can be a super fun and rewarding exercise because it forces you to rely on your own natural instincts. These instincts are what make each actor unique, and tapping into that is a surefire way to build a great actor.
- Reading Screenplays and Plays
Reading everything from Greek drama to contemporary cinema will build your understanding of storytelling. The purpose of the story is the lighthouse for every choice an actor makes in every performance. Master storytelling and watch your audition work reach new heights.
How to Get Ready for an Audition
Get At Least 8 Hours of Sleep the Night Before
Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night so that you can wake up feeling relaxed and alert on the day of the audition. All the acting exercises that went into preparing for your audition will go in vain if you are not in the best of your health.
Do a Full Physical Warm Up
Get your blood moving, your heart pumping and your muscles flexing. Your body is your instrument, make sure to loosen any of your stress and tension so that you can easily and effectively take on the physicality of your character.
Do a Full Vocal Warm Up
Humming, tongue twisters, dive bombs and fa la la’s. Just like your body, your voice is a part of your instrument. Warm up properly to release any tension in your face and voice before every audition or performance.
Pick an Outfit
Wear something that makes you feel good and makes me feel like your character.f. Avoid wearing anything too costumey as that can be distracting. The right outfit suggests the character you're auditioning for while also flattering you.
Nailing the Audition
- Be Ready Early
If your audition is in person, show up 15 minutes early to the studio or audition location. Everyone loves punctual people. Besides, being on time has its rewards. It gives you ample space to process any nerves that may come up. If your audition is via self tape, the same rule applies! Be ready for your performance 15 minutes before your scheduled taping time to set yourself up for success.
- Perform With Confidence in Yourself
You've prepared, you’ve practiced and you’ve set yourself up to perform at your best. Now it's time to show what you can do! Have fun with your well earned confidence! And you’ll surely do your best.
- Let it Go
The rest of the casting process is out of your hands, so it’s best to leave your performance where you played it. . You might get a call back, you might book the job from tape, you might never hear anything, you might hear something weeks or months later. s. If you’ve done your job to the best of your ability, you can be confident that you made a good impression, and that good impression may not lead to booking that specific job, but it will most certainly mean getting more opportunities from that casting director and those producers in the future.
It's Time to Start Your Acting Career!
You decide to start auditioning. Spotlights! Your pulse is racing. You want to hit your lines perfectly, but as you start, something isn't clicking.
“What is it? I've been prepared for this?. How can I be so nervous?” As a working actor and coach, I understand first hand that even though you might have spent hours preparing for an audition, it's common to feel frozen when the time comes to perform.
This list of “How to Prepare for an Audition” is just the tip of the iceberg if you want to be a successful film, television or commercial actor.
After teaching countless workshops for acting, traditional acting classes and having worked with hundreds of aspiring actors in coachings and one on one acting lessons while simultaneously building my own career as an actor;
I have developed a comprehensive acting program that will help any aspiring actor break into the world of being a full time, professional auditioner and eventually - working actor. My online acting lessons have helped hundreds of actors land roles in film, television, commercials, and more. The program ensures that all our students are prepared and have access to the information and support they need for every step of the auditioning process.
If you're looking for a way to get started in the industry, the Laura Mac Method Foundations and Academy Online acting classes offer the full series of acting exercises, tools and resources you will need to prepare and excel in from your first audition to the audition that bags you the role of a lifetime.