Ace your Audition

By Rena Bryson

As an acting teacher, I’m often asked how to best prepare for an audition. Being an actor and producer I’ve been on both sides of the audition process. Having recently cast Eva’s Echo’s upcoming production Starseed I felt now was the opportune time to share some audition tips. 

Headshots

Having high quality and clear headshots is often essential when applying to audition. Professional headshots are best but if it is an expense you can not afford ask a friend to take some photos for you, even if the quality is not as high it’s still better than applying without one.

Headshot session with Catriona Bonner Photography
  • Wear plain clothing, you are the focus.
  • Same goes for the setting, keep your background plain.
  • Make sure it looks like you, this means no heavy make up.
  • Your eyes should be perfectly in focus, alive, and energized.
  • Some agencies will ask for a full body shot as well as a head and shoulder shot, capture both on the same day for consistency. 
  • Different agencies have preferences for color or black and white headshots, have a copy of each shot in both styles.  

Showreels

A showreel is a great opportunity to showcase your talent before your audition. If you don’t have any experience on camera you can still create a showreel, simply film 2 – 3 monologues or duologues at home. 

  • Include your name, headshot and agency if you have one at the beginning of your showreel. 
  • Many producers or agents will have limited time to view several showreels so put your best work at the start.
  • Each clip should ideally be of similar length, around 30 seconds per clip is ideal.  
  • Show the variety of your talent by showcasing contrasting roles.
  • If you have a suitable clip, lead with a clip of a project similar to the one you’re applying for. 
  • Do not include extra work in your showreel, unless you are applying for an extra role.

Dress Comfortably

When preparing for an audition make sure you are not wearing clothing that will limit your ability to act. Those skinny jeans might look great, but if your unable to use the space or follow the directors physical direction your putting your audition in jeopardy. 

Warm up

Warm up your body and voice before you audition. An actor’s body is their instrument and needs to be tuned before any performance. Due to the amount of audition applications each actor we see at Eva’s Echo usually has a fifteen minute slot. This doesn’t allow time for warm ups in the space.

Be Punctual

Be on time or early if possible. I always take note of actor’s punctuality as I see it as a reflection of their time management for rehearsals. 

Research

Research the production and the role before applying. Over the years we’ve received so many emails from actors applying for unsuitable roles or for a production that collided with their own schedule because they did not read the application before applying. This wastes both the time of the actor and producer. 

Photo Credit – Sabrina Kelleher

Read the script

If you are provided the script or a scene before the audition read and analyse the work, especially the role you are auditioning for. You’ve been given an opportunity to rehearse with the text prior to the audition, meaning the director expects you to have done so. I don’t always provide the script before an audition but when I do I hope to discuss the play with the actor. An extra bonus is when an actor memorizes the script for an audition, without being asked. This has only happened once at Eva’s Echo and when it came down to a severely close call we cast the actor who had put in that extra effort.  

Be Yourself

Photo Credit – Piotr Łyszkiewicz

When you enter the audition room you have an opportunity to introduce yourself. The time spent speaking with an actor before their performance is an important part of the audition. When casting I am always factoring in how people would work together as creating a strong team is just as important as strong performances in individual roles. Be yourself, be friendly and use the time to show the director what you would be like to work with. 

Take Direction

After you’ve completed your first reading the director will often ask you to perform the piece again with notes. This an opportunity to show your variety and that you can take direction. Make sure you understand the directors note and ask for clarity if needed.

Ask Questions

Be open and authentic, if you have a question about the script, the production or the rehearsal process it’s the best time to ask.


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