They are the chance of a lifetime or simply another credit to your resume. Either way, you’ll jump every time your agent calls with an audition. And after you audition, it may feel a lot like waiting for a phone call from that cute guy/girl you just met. You’re on the edge of your seat for them to call you. But when that phone doesn’t ring, your heart may start to sink and you might start to think that a career in acting isn’t for you. Welcome to rejection, the most common occurrence in your life as an actor. ‘They’ say you’ll book only 1 out of 40 auditions. Of course, your own personal scorecard depends on your experience, training, confidence and yes, as much as we’d hate to admit it…looks.
Every audition is an opportunity to showcase your talents. So we’ve compiled a few pointers to get you started. Even if you are self-represented (ie. you don't have an agent) you should keep note of how things work as it's similar to independent, student, or theatre productions.
This is the meat of the audition. The who, what, when, where and what to wear. Ask your agent to email this document to you along with your audition time. It’s best to arrive at the very least, 10 minutes early for your audition. Expect to be at the studio as little as 5 minutes and on rare occasions, as long as 2 hours.
If you book the job, bring the breakdown to the shoot to ensure the contract accurately reflects the terms originally set forth.
How to Prepare
Your agent will normally tell you if there are lines to learn, a dialect to be used, etc. But just in case, check the breakdown. And it never hurts to double check the Casting Workbook sides to cover your bases.
If you’re auditioning for a scene that includes speaking with another person, there will be a reader there for you. Your reader is your connection and they are there for you. Feel free to ask them to stand, sit, change sides of the camera etc. It’s your moment, own it.
There are a lot of great classes in town that will help you with your auditioning skills, not to mention great coaches that will help you prep for a role you really want to nail. Your agent will usually have a couple referrals for you. For a few tips on choosing a class, coach or school, go to our Knowledge - Training page.
What to Bring
100%. Give everything that you have in your performance. It’s said to be easier for a casting director or director to shave off a few inches from your performance than it is to cultivate something from it. Always bring more than 1 headshot & resume and know your measurements. You never know when your agent will ring with another audition for that day or maybe you’re asked to audition for something else being cast that day in the studio.
What to Expect
For starters, you will likely see a surprising number of actors with your look - especially for commercial auditions. It may seem daunting, but remember that you all have something unique to offer, so no worries. Many casting studios will have more than one audition running at one time. And if that's the case, they usually have a bulletin board at the entrance stating the project name, room & casting director. If you’re not sure, ask.
For Commerical auditions, there will be a stack of blank forms hanging about. If they have the name of the project you’re auditioning for, fill it out. You’ll need your basic contact info, measurements, agent info, etc. Hand in your completed form along with your headshot & resume to the casting assistant. It never hurts to write your call time on the form, just in case you get lost in the mix.
For Film or TV auditions, they don't usually need a form to be filled out, but if you're at a union audition (Film, TV, or Commercial) you will find a sign-in sheet. Make sure you sign-in and sign-out every time, even if you are not part of the union.
In the actual audition room, expect to see the casting director and a camera operator. The casting assistant may also join you in the room. You’ll stand on the ‘mark’ in front of the camera. Simply follow their directions. The casting director might ask you to slate your name and/or agency then perform the audition as directed. You'll find that after you go through a few auditions that they run in a similar way.
A "thank you" as you leave is good.
Congratulations! They liked what you had to offer and want to see you again! Bring your headshot & resume to the callback as well, just in case. And this time the Director, Producer and maybe client & agency reps will be there in the auditioning room! So expect your audience to grow from 3 to 8 people. They liked what you did the first time, now do it again, exactly, right down to the wardrobe, unless told otherwise. And expect the Director to work you a little, test how well you can take their direction. It never hurts to dress in clothes that can be quickly modified to offer a different look as well.
You audition. You get a callback. Then you’re on hold. What? On hold? Basically it means that they really really like you, but for a myriad of reasons, not even half of them pertaining to your performance, they’re not ready to book you. But they might. Maybe. Holds can feel like a great big tease when you don’t end up booking them, but ultimately it says ‘you have what it takes!’
Break A Leg!
We have an ongoing list of current auditions, mostly consisting of independent or student productions. It gives you an opportunity to start auditioning with or without an agent and to gain experience on-camera or on-stage as well as the experience of the audition process.