Auditioning for Film and Television

So, you've been submitting your headshot and resume to agents, casting directors, producers, and other industry professional who are involved in the casting process.  One day the phone rings, and you are excited when you hear someone on the other end inviting you to audition for a principal speaking role. Almost immediately, a wave of panic sets in and you question whether you are ready for this major event.

The best way to dissipate this wave of panic is to calm yourself, and come to the realization that you are a professional and you have prepared yourself for this moment by taking acting classes and workshops, and gaining all the skills and tools that you will need to be successful in this business.

Sometimes, some simple things are overlooked, like have a working cell phone number at which you can be reached at any time. I recommend going with a mobile phone like an iPhone or a Blackberry which offers options that a basic cell phone does not, like the capability of receiving and responding to e-mails and casting notices.

Always be sure that when the phone rings, you have a pen and notepad at hand so you won't have to run around trying to find something to write with and on. Make sure to note all the pertinent information that is given to you, including the name and telephone number of the person who contacted you. This way, you will know who to call if something important comes up.

In the majority of cases, you will be sent an e-mail giving you all the details for the audition. These should include but are not limited to the breakdown for the role you are auditioning for, the sides, which are the scenes or scene that you will be reading for, what kind of wardrobe you should wear, and the audition time, location and address. If you do not receive the audition details in a timely fashion, call your contact person to let them know. Check your spam folder regularly to see if the e-mail you were waiting for was mistakenly misdirected to your spam folder instead of being received in your inbox.

Once you've received your lines, you must memorize, memorize, and memorize again until you are confident that you know them by heart. When you are completely memorized, begin to flesh out your character to the extent that your performance will be natural and engaging. More on this topic to come in part six of this series.

I invested in a Sony Webbie so that I could put myself on tape after I have memorized my lines. This way, I can review all my takes and get immediate feedback about what adjustments I may need to make to fine tune my performance. This practice has been a tremendous asset to the auditioning process since it gives me practice working on camera so that I become more and more comfortable with the process.

The Sony Webbie or similar quality camcorder, is an invaluable tool for obtaining objective feedback to gauge how you are coming off on camera.  The model I use is the Sony Webbie MHS-PM1 HD Camcorder.

There are times when I am unsure about how my facial expressions or gestures are being played out when I start reading my lines. By taping myself and playing it back, I am able to see immediately if I am looking goofy, blinking excessively, or making any other expressions that are not natural for the role I am playing. For example, if I am blinking a lot and my eyes are very wide open and the role does not indicate that my character is insecure, nervous, scared, or intimidated, then my take on the read would be unnatural and not in keeping with how the role should be played.

In Part Six of this series on auditioning tips, I will discuss memorizing your lines and developing your character for the audition.

Review Auditioning Tips Part One: Getting The Best Headshot, Auditioning Tips Part Two: Creating Your Acting Resume, Auditioning Tips Part Three: Reproducing Your Headshot And Resume From Your Home Printer, Auditioning Tips Part Four: Submitting For Casting Notices And Acting Jobs.