How To Master Your Next On-Camera AuditionWednesday, December 16, 2020
When most people think about acting, the things that come to mind are the glitz and glam of being in front of the camera on set during production. But as any experienced actor will tell you, the REAL work of an actor takes place before any filming begins, before rehearsals, and even before you get the script. The biggest, most time-consuming, and most nerve-wracking part of the job for just about any actor is the audition.
Many actors will go through dozens and dozens of auditions for each single role they land. Rejection goes hand in hand with being an actor--it takes a thick skin to be told "no" many times and still keep showing up.
But just like you grow your skill as an actor by rehearsing, taking classes, and diving into roles, you can grow your audition chops by doing more auditioning, and learning how to fine tune your audition process.
Auditioning isn't just coming out to read in front of the camera--there are many skills to learn to become better. Here are a few tips to get started on mastering your on-camera auditions:
Submit for the right role
One of the most important auditoning skills begins before you step into the casting director's office--submitting for the right role. As an actor, you need to learn what your type is--which sort of characters you are most likely to be seen as and portray. It doesn't make sense to audition for a leading man role if you're more of a character actor. Yet many actors get caught up submitting themselves for roles that they aren't right for. While it's sometimes okay to stretch yourself as an actor, you need to always to keep things realistic for your character type. Learning this very important skill can save you a lot of time and heartache by pursuing the roles you are most suited for.
Begin with a slate
Your acting slate is the your introduction when auditioning for a project. This is typically a very simple greeting, along with your name, but can sometimes also include your agency or representation info, union status, or other information relevant to the specific audition. Be sure to read the audition notice or check with an audition monitor before you audition to see if there are any specific slate requirements. The most important thing to remember is that your slate is the very first thing that people will see in your audition, so you want to be friendly and make a good impression.
Memorize your script
If given the script in advance, it's always best to memorize it---to the best extent that you can. Even if it's not a requirement for that audition, you should definitely be as comfortable as possible so you can avoid looking down at the paper. And if you do need to hold your script...
Hold your script at eye level
If there's one thing that will tank any good audition, it's an actor who has his head buried in a script. There is a lot of film acting that happens through your eyes, so it's important that they be seen on camera. If you do need to hold a script, hold it just below eye level, and as flat to the ground as possible to minimize covering other parts of your face. Don't worry about trying to hide the fact that you're holding a script--the casting director is more concerned with seeing you and your acting than she is worried about whether or not you have book in hand for the audition.
Know your Who, What, and Where
Just because it's an audition, it doesn't mean that you need to let the basics of acting fall to the wayside. Remember the Who, What, and Where of the scene you're auditioning for--Who your character is, What your objective is in that scene, Where you are and Where you just came from. If you're working with just a side (a small section of a script or screenplay used for auditions) and don't have access to the whole script, you may have to make some educated guesses. Make strong, bold choices with these questions to really bring your audition to life.
This should go without saying, but make sure that you're polite and courteous to everyone you meet during the audition process. Being nice can go a long way--there have been many stories of actors losing a part because they were rude to the audition monitor, another actor, or even the casting director. Remember, if you're going to be stuck for long hours on a film set with someone, you want it to be someone that you can get along with.
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