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How to “Pop” at Auditions

By Diane Christiansen

Auditioning is hard. It is arguably the most difficult aspect of acting. The actor’s imagination must be at it’s sharpest during the audition. You must be able to walk into a bare room and completely transform the environment and energy of the space, leaving an indelible impression on your observers. In other words, you need to “Pop” at every audition. Here are a few pointers to help you get poppin’.

  1. Treat each audition like it’s the first rehearsal. You know that excited feeling you get during your first rehearsal for a production? The security of knowing that you’ve already landed the role allows you to just relax, have fun, and be creative. You might find yourself taking chances and playing with new choices until you land on one that feels right. This is the same worry-free abandon that you need to bring to the audition. Think of it less as an interview and more as a collaboration between you and whoever is in the room. Go into the audition knowing that you have already done the necessary preparation of your character and be ready to play with your fellow collaborators. Not only will your positive energy be infectious, but you will also give a better performance as a result of swapping the audition tension for first rehearsal enthusiasm.
  2. Find opportunities for nuance. Think fine point details rather than sweeping brush strokes. Finding moments to make your own unique mark on your character will speak volumes in your performance. Don’t overlook the obvious choices readily evident in the script, but also look deeper into the subtext behind the written words. You may discover alternate interpretations of the lines that only you will find based on your own personal experiences and perspective. As a result, you can make the material your own by bringing an interpretation that only you can to the audition. Whether your interpretation is consistent with what the director wants is less important (at least on the first read) than making a committed and nuanced choice that will leave an impression different from anyone else.
  3. Take control of your audition. From the moment you walk into the room, let it be known that this is not your first rodeo. Be a professional. Be confident (or at least fake it!). Greet each person in the room as you enter and say thank you to everyone as you leave. Feel free to set parameters to get you in the proper mind space for your reading. Let your observers know if you need to take moment before you begin and if you will sit or stand (if the option is yours). Make eye contact with each person at some point while you are in the room, so that every individual there knows that you have seen them and so you know that they have each seen you too. Remember, over the course of a full day of auditions, it can become increasingly difficult for casting to distinguish one person from the next. Auditions may start to run together as fatigue sets in and attention wanes. You have the opportunity to fight against the monotony that casting may experience by making a specific connection and giving them something interesting about you to remember. Of course, your performance should be memorable all on it’s own; however, given two equally great performances from different actors, your personality, poise, and professionalism may break the tie. Talent is certainly a prerequisite for the best roles, but people also have to like you and want to work with you. So steer the course of your audition to ensure that you are being represented in your best light.

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