Have Fun At AuditionsBy Ty Unglebower • May 18th, 2011 • Category: An Actor's Advice
Auditions should be fun. It is a director’s job to make them so, and let’s face it, not all of them make sure the experience is free of anxiety and fear. Some even like it that way. But ideally an audition should be fun for everyone involved.
That doesn’t however mean that it should be out of control. There needs to be structure of some sort to all of the fun you will have in an ideal audition. As a potential actor, you will not have control over everything that happens during try-outs, but you can take a few steps to ensure that balance between fun and effective audition time.
To begin with, take a moment to introduce yourself to others with whom you are auditioning if you have not done so already. When I read a scene with an actor I have not met, I try to remember to introduce myself before we begin, just to keep it light and friendly. But it needs to be quick and of course it cannot lead to conversation of any length, neither during the read, (which should be obvious), but also once you resume your seat. A comment here and there about the scene, a mishap, or some other common observation can be made to keep things light and fun, but know when to stop and pay attention to what is coming next. A director should not already have to be calling for your attention before you are even a member of the cast.
You also want to stay loose during the reading. Especially if it is a cold read. Even for a dramatic scene, remember not to become so rigid that you give yourself a headache while you read. Just like on stage you should relax during an audition. If you start something and screw up, just ask if you can start over. The director is a human being, and if they are worth anything they will let you. Take it easy, and maybe laugh a bit at your mistakes as you ask for another chance. There is a natural tendency for everyone in a room to feel bad for an actor that has made a mistake, but if you acknowledge it and enjoy it, others will ease up a bit, and the whole mood of the room will improve.
At the same time, don’t go off onto a wild tangent about how dumb you were, or how drunk you must be, or some other comment that is specifically designed to have them rolling in the aisles. Stay loose and have fun, but don’t make yourself the center of the situation. You are not there to entertain the masses, but to give a director an idea of what you can give on stage. After a light moment to ease the tension of a mistake, jump right back into your reading.
Auditions have a very specific purpose, and it is the first and most important chance you have to prove why you should get a part in a production. Make no mistake, they matter. But many actors, especially volunteers, tend to mythologize them as some sort of religious sacrifice: make one mistake and you get hung. And then the fun goes away, and nobody wants to be there. On the other side of the coin, keep the fun under wraps if it starts to interfere with the forward progress of the auditions.
Balance fun and hard work. Master it during the audition, and hold on to it throughout the rest of the production. If you get in, of course.
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Ty Unglebower is a Maryland native and has been acting for nine years, having studied it at Marietta College in Ohio. He has been schooled in Shakespeare, improvisation, public speaking and voice articulation throughout his career. His credits to date include over 30 plays and readings as well as 2 films. You can also read his blogs offbook.blogspot.com (for theatre related thoughts) and tooxyz.blogspot.com (for thoughts on personal success from an outcast). Follow him on Twitter @TyUnglebower.