An audition is your chance as an artist to show a Casting Director, Director and possibly Producers, what you will bring to the cast for their project. When you are requested, they already have shown interest in who you are from your resume, headshot and reel.
Audition Protocol and Verbiage
What to Bring:
- 2 Heashots with resume stapled to the back, and TRIMMED To FIT THE Headshot!
- Water, so your mouth doesn't get dry
- Great Attitude!
1) Professional etiquette: (How to not be viewed as an amateur)
a) 15 minutes early = on time! DO NOT BE LATE!!! If you are going to be one minute past your call time, call your agent.
b) Don’t wear perfume/cologne in case of sensitivity or allergies.
c) Always carry multiple headshots/resumes, stapled and trimmed with you at all times.
d) Don’t talk to others at the audition. If they want to talk to you, just tell them, quietly, you’d love to chat with them outside after you’re both done.
e) Turn cell phones to silent, or off, not vibrate.
a) Get your sides (film) or copy (commercial) (This is your audition script)
b) Find a quiet place, and read flat, no inflection, to get information in your head.
c) Create background, personalize. DON’T jump to a stereotype, i.e.,
“bad guy”, or “dumb blond”, for example. Create a real person, with specific
details; then practice the scene out loud, with your background influencing
your read emotionally.
d) Bring in your environment, “shake hands” outside of frame, but not actually touching the . OC reader. Or whatever physical thing is happening in the scene that is supported by dialogue.
a) Wardrobe, no red, black, white, thin stripes (they moray), no logos or fluorescent colors. Hair OUT of face!
b) Come in, great energy, being yourself. Do not extend your hand to shake hands, UNLESS casting director extends hand first, in which case you hand them your headshot if it is in your hand, and then if the re-extend their hand, you may shake their hand knowing that is what they are intending and initiating. (germophobes)
c) Hit your mark. (tape on floor in front of camera)
d) Determine if you read into camera or to an off camera reader for commercial; always to an off camera reader, for film, unless otherwise specified.
e) Determine your eye line on the opposite side of camera from the reader, if establishing multiple characters to react to. (pick a spot on the wall, or light fixture, etc.)
f) For a film audition, ask if they are cutting after slate and between scenes,
and ask any other questions you may have at this time.
g) Slate your name, & age if under 18, and then if they ask, agency, or independent
if you aren’t represented. They will tell you any additional information they may want in your slate, such as location or if you are available for local hire.
h) You can ask if there’s any other way they’d like to see the scene. Thank them and leave promptly when finished. Don’t get chatty, unless they prompt it.
4) Getting The Job
a) After “Callback” (wear same clothes, do same thing that got you there), then comes “Right of First Refusal” -They are narrowing their choices to 2-5; you’re very close!
b) “Booking”- They’ve chosen you. Wardrobe will call to tell you what to bring.
c) Ask wardrobe if you come to the set “camera ready”, meaning hair and makeup fixed and ready for the camera.
d) Be ‘off book’, meaning MEMORIZED, not kinda memorized.
e) Listen to direction, be quiet, be available, be responsible, don’t disappear, let the First A.D., (First Assistant Director, know where you are at all times)
What TO Do
-Arrive 15 minutes early, but leave an extra 45 minutes driving time for Stupid Texas Traffic, or STT.
- Have your lines memorized! Be off book!
- Always be open to a re-direct if Director gives you another way to do your scene
- Go into the room with positive energy and enthusiasm, but not bouncing off the walls
- Be confident in the choices you make in your audition
- Understand the script and know your character before you begin
- Commit to your creative choice, regardless of what the Off Camera Reader does, then be open to the redirect.
-Ask SPECIFIC questions to help clarify, but don't just ask questions to ask questions
- Look like your headshot
What NOT To Do
-Do not be late, it shows you will be late to set, and indicates your time is more valuable than theirs. If you ARE late, call and let your agent know so they can adjust accordingly.
- Do not shake hands with casting director unless they initiate it, (you will know AFTER you hand them your HS & Resume if they then extend their hand to you). Many people are germaphobes!
- Never chew gum or have something in your mouth
- Making excuses for your audition and mistakes you make shows you are not prepared
- Do not bring props, except for personal props, such as a phone, (kept on Airplane mode, when the scene calls for it)
What to Wear
- Wear jewel tones and rich autumn colors (except orange, yellow or gold) avoid blues, the backgrounds are usually blue
- V necks give good frame to your shoulders
- Avoid noisy patterns, logos, very thin stripes, anything fluorescent, shiny, white, black, or red, or nude colors
- Minimal jewelry unless told so in character breakdown
-Character appropriate shoes
-Suggest the character without becoming too costumey
-No props, other than a phone if it's in your scene, turned on Airplane mode, not just silent, or things you would naturally have on you, but don't bring lots of props, it shows your newbi-ness. They prefer you to pantomime out of frame if possible.
For more information, this Backstage article has more detail: