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How to prepare for an audition

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Actor preparing for audition
If you research the production in advance, when you are asked to do a cold reading you will appear professional and knowledgeable – not clueless and bumbling
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Make the most of your chance.

Many actors dread the audition process. Once you have a role, you get to make character choices, learn your lines and rehearse until opening night. An audition is a one-time shot. You have one impression to make on the director, and if you flub it, the job will go to someone else. There's no way to guarantee a perfect reading, but there are some things that can help when preparing for an audition.

Before the Audition

Research the production. If you have no idea what the production is about, you will have no idea what the director is looking for. Find a copy and read it. Read it more than once. You should have a good understanding of what the production is about and who the characters are. Then, if you are asked to do a cold reading of a scene, you will appear professional and knowledgeable – not clueless and bumbling.


Know the details of the audition. What is the director looking for in the audition? Of course, if you are seeking work as a professional actor, you should always have at least one comedic monologue and one dramatic monologue ready at all times. Some directors have a very definite idea of what they want to see at an audition: cold reading, prepared pieces, a song. Make sure you show up prepared.


Choose your audition piece. When choosing audition pieces, play to your strengths. If you are 22-years-old, don't attempt to play an octogenarian. If you don't do accents well, do not try one during an audition. You want the director to see the best of you; an audition is not the time to try something that is outside your area of expertise.


Prepare your piece. After you have chosen a monologue, read the entire play it comes from. This will help you give a deeper characterization. Memorize your piece, and practice, practice, practice.


Audition Day

There are also some things you should do on the day of the audition that will help you be at your best.


Be well rested. Do not stay out late partying the night before. Get a full night's sleep. Not only will this help you look your best, but it will ensure that your voice is strong.


Dress professionally. Don't try to dress as the character you are auditioning for, or as the character in your monologue. Dress like a professional: nothing too racy or flashy.


Be courteous. Remember that the director will be looking at more than simply your acting skills; he or she will want to know what type of person you are to work with. If you are rude to the receptionist, late for your appointment, or completely unprepared, it won't matter how talented you are.


Bring a headshot and résumé. This is a given: you should have headshots and résumés with you at all times.


Do warm-ups. Warm up your body and your voice as you would before a performance.


Don't be overly chatty. When you enter the audition room, unless otherwise instructed, simply introduce yourself, your character and the play your piece is from. Then begin your audition.


After the Audition

Don't rush out when you're finished. Wait for additional instructions when you are finished with your prepared pieces. The director may want you to read from the script, or may ask you to try a different character choice with your prepared piece. This is a good thing – it means that you've made enough of an impression for them to take some extra time with you.


Be grateful. Make sure to thank the director for the opportunity to audition.


Wait. That's usually even harder than preparing for an audition, or even the audition itself. Don't give in to the temptation to go over every single thing you did wrong. The audition is over, and even though there is a chance you will get the part, you should be looking ahead to the next opportunity.

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