22 May 2012

Acting: Ten tips for doing an audition

Top advice from an actual casting director. Warning: this article could make you a star...

Acting: Ten tips for doing an audition

1. You don't have to go to stage school. Casting director's genuinely don't care whether you do or not, all they are looking for is the right person for the role.

2. But do join a drama club. Acting is a craft and you have to work at it to get better and drama clubs are a great place to start. Being in a drama club suggests that you enjoy acting and that you’re willing to dedicate time and energy to it, rather than just being someone who has randomly rocked up to the audition ‘cos you saw people queuing...

3. Get used to reading from scripts. In the audition you are likely to have to read something from a script, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Familiarise yourself with the format of scripts (Remember: you only need to read dialogue, not stage directions) and practice reading aloud from writing that you’ve only just been given. We’ve included a sample script here for you to practice on but you’ve probably already got some Shakespeare knocking about... Lay on MacDuff! etc

4. Feel comfortable in your own skin. When it comes to auditions you need to leave your inhibitions at the door. You might be asked to improvise scenes with actors you have never met before or asked to do things that make you feel silly. The worst thing as a casting director is auditioning someone you think might be really good but who is obviously shy or embarrassed, just throw yourself into it. It’s not like your whole school can see you or anything.

5. Practice your audition technique. When you come in for the audition you will probably be asked to say your name and age to camera and maybe talk a little bit about yourself and you might also be asked questions about what drama you do in your spare time or what hobbies you have. So quite simply, practice your answers to these questions. Talk to yourself in the mirror, or if you have access to a camera, film yourself so that you get used to being on film. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget your name when the spotlight is on you...

6. Be prepared to travel. Auditions can happen round the country, but at the end of the day you are more likely to be in your nearest big city, or even London. Keep some cash saved for those inevitable trips, booking train tickets in advance, or using a young person’s railcard will save you pounds also.

7. Learn about all aspects of the industry. There is more to making a film then just acting. Have a go at writing a script, making a short film, or putting on your own play. The more you know about what goes into creating dramas, the better you will be acting in them. You might discover that your real skill is for cinematography or directing.

8. Pursue other interests. Acting might be your passion but you can have other interests too. It's good to be well rounded and pursuing other pastimes will lead to new experiences that will help your acting too.

9. Get an agent. The best way to find out about auditions is to get an agent. To find one in your area the best thing to do is to go to your local library and buy a copy of contacts 2011. It has a section which lists all the children's agents in the UK (http://www.spotlight.com/shop/contacts). Call the one that's closest to you and ask how to get on their books. We’ll also be posting news about auditions here, so keep checking back.

10. Learn how to cope with rejection. The hardest thing about acting is the continuous rejection that you face. The competition is overwhelming and no matter how talented you are, you won't get every role you go for. You don't have to like rejection, but if you are going to be an actor you are going to encounter it more than anyone else you know. You have to find a way of dealing with it and moving on to the next audition.

These books have good tips:

1. It's the Audition, Stupid! Brendan McNamara. Do and don't's for when you are in the audition room. 



2. Contacts 2012. A really helpful directory that lists all the kids and teen agents in the country



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