Auditions are rarely an actor’s favorite aspect of acting and are more often thought of as a means to an end. Auditions can be nerve-wracking and often involve rejections; however, they can also be an excellent way for actors to continue growing and expanding their range. For over 20 years, Travis Preston has taught at numerous universities and theater training programs throughout the world and lectured on various theater topics ranging from directing opera to audition preparation. As an early artist in New York City, he also coached actors for their auditions. Below, Travis Preston will share some of the tips he gives his students for a successful acting audition.
Fully Understand the Script and Character
While it may seem obvious, it is imperative that all actors auditioning for a role know the script forward and backward. It is common for casting directors to ask the actors to take on the script, character, and other specific points. When answering, be sure to reply positively while giving a sincere answer. The questions that are normally asked by the casting agent or director are questions that actors should have considered during their preparation for the audition. Questions such as who does your character believe they are? What has happened to your character up until this point? What does your character want from other characters, and how to have these desires changed throughout the scene. These answers will inform the decisions actors make during the scene and ultimately enhance the performance. Consideration of these questions will enhance your greatest asset – confidence.
Remember, the audition starts from the minute you walk in the door. That means it is imperative to be on time, dressed appropriately and prepared. While an acting audition is not like a traditional interview, it is still important to appear professional. But most importantly, actors must appear confident.
As with any job, you want to hire someone who shows confidence in their work. For example, an inexperienced contractor may appear nervous on a new job, but someone with years of experience would seem calm and collected. While it’s perfectly normal to be nervous, try your best to keep your nerves below the surface. This means keeping your head held high, smiling, and maintaining eye contact with fellow actors and casting directors. It is vital that you take your time. You ony have this brief time to make an impression and rushing will only defeat the impact of your presence. Confidence is projected by someone willing to respect themselves enough to fully occupy the space and take time. This inspires trust and respect in those watching.