Guidelines For Auditioning

What Happens When You Get To An Audition?

When you arrive at your audition, there will be some general guidelines for you to follow. Paying attention to these important points will help in making the process smoother. The first important thing to note is that Union auditions may have different requirements than Non-Union auditions. Make sure you know what type of audition you will be attending before you get there.

I like to prepare everything I need the night before my audition to avoid scurrying around trying to find things. I also make sure that I have selected my wardrobe carefully by trying on the outfit to check that everything is in order. For example, no rips, tears, wrinkles, or soil marks, unless the role calls for it.

Since I am not good at directions, I use mapquest consistently to determine the driving time to my location, and I print this out to take it with me when I leave for my audition. Some people prefer Google Maps or using a GPS. Whatever you decide to use, make sure that everything works and you are very clear on your destination. I like to do this in advance, most times, as soon as I get the call or audition notice. That way, if you are unsure about any specifics in the driving directions, you have an opportunity to make some calls and get everything figured out before you hit the road.

I think it is risky to wait until you are ready to leave to get your directions, or you decide that it will be okay to call once you get on the road. Please keep in mind that sometimes, when there is a major casting going on, there is no one available to take your call or answer your last-minute questions and if you call, it is very likely that your call will go straight to voicemail.

I put everything I will need in one place, like notes, phone numbers, directions, sides, etc.. It's a good idea to take along a notebook or paper to make notes if you need it. I like to take along extra pens as well. Be sure that your cell phone is fully charged and you take it with you in case of an emergency, or you are running late for your audition. Again, I would recommend an iPhone, Blackberry, or any similar mobile device that has the capability of receiving and sending e-mails. Sometimes, there may be last-minute changes and information will be e-mailed or texted to you, so keep checking for voice messages, e-mails, or texts  regularly.

Here are some general guidelines to help you:

  • Leave early with an extra cushion of time, especially if you are travelling a distance.
  • Get to your audition approximately 15 to 30 minutes in advance of your audition time. That way you will have enough time to fill out any necessary paperwork.
  • Use your extra time to relax and calm yourself. If you care completely memorized you can still look over your lines one more time so that you stay focused.
  • Do not use your extra time for socializing. This is not the place, and again, you need to remain focused on your audition.
  • When you are called in for your audition, and you enter the casting room, there may or may not be formal introductions.
  • Ask where you can place your belongings so that they are out of the way.
  • Get on your mark. If you look on the floor, there will already be a spot marked off with tape opposite the camera. Most times you will toe the line or "X" taped to the floor. Sometimes, you are given different instructions like "Stand between the X's".
  • Listen to all the instructions very carefully and follow them.
  • If you are unclear about anything, now is the time to ask. Do not stop in the middle of your audition to aks a question.
  • Your slate will be done at the beginning and read straight to camera. This is when you say your name and any other pertinent information that is required. You will be told what needs to be included in your slate.
  • After you slate, wait for your cue to start your audition before delivering your lines. This can be in the form of a statement like "Action", or you may be cued with a hand gesture to proceed.
  • In most cases, you will be asked to read your lines without looking at the camera. There are exceptions, such as if you are reading for the role of a newscaster or reporter, where it will be necessary to read directly to camera. In any event, ask if you are unsure whether you will be reading straight to camera or not.
  • If you are asked to do more than one take, listen carefully to the instructions given and follow them carefully.
  • When your audition is done, say "Thank you", retrieve all your belongings, and exit the casting room.
  • Sign out if it is required.
  • Leave when you are done. Do not distract other talent who are still waiting to audition.

For more information on the audition process, a very good resource is a book by the Hollywood Casting Director Helen McCready titled Audition & Book It!

Please review the following if you have not read them. I hope that this series will be helpful to you in your acting career. Break a leg!

  • 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
  • Auditioning Tips Part Five: Preparing Yourself For An Audition
  • Auditioning Tips Part Six: Memorizing Your Lines And Developing Your Character For An Audition