Auditions

Auditions IrelandThey are the chance of a lifetime or simply another credit to your CV. Either way, you’ll jump every time your agent calls with an audition. And after you audition, it may feel a lot like waiting for a phone call from that cute guy/girl you just met. You’re on the edge of your seat for them to call you. But when that phone doesn’t ring, your heart may start to sink and you might start to think that a career in acting isn’t for you.

Welcome to rejection, the most common occurrence in your life as an actor. ‘They’ say you’ll book only 1 out of 40 auditions. Of course, your own personal scorecard depends on your experience, training, confidence and yes, as much as we’d hate to admit it…looks.

Every audition is an opportunity to showcase your talents. So we’ve compiled a few pointers to get you started. Even if you are self-represented (ie. you don’t have an agent) you should keep note of how things work as it’s similar to independent, student, or theatre productions.

Spotlight

Spotlight is the industry’s leading casting resource and a Casting Director’s Bible. Join it if you are not a member. At least start your application, you can park it and go back to it at any time. Like your Head Shot this should be seen as a necessary investment in your acting career.

The Breakdown

This is the meat of the audition. The who, what, when, where and what to wear. Ask your agent to email this document to you along with your audition time. It’s best to arrive at the very least, 10 minutes early for your audition. Expect to be at the studio as little as 5 minutes and on rare occasions, as long as 2 hours.

If you book the job, bring the breakdown to the shoot to ensure the contract accurately reflects the terms originally set forth.

How to Prepare

Your agent will normally tell you if there are lines to learn, a dialect to be used, etc. But just in case, check the breakdown.

If you’re auditioning for a scene that includes speaking with another person, there will be a reader there for you. Your reader is your connection and they are there for you. Feel free to ask them to stand, sit, change sides of the camera etc. It’s your moment, own it.

There are a lot of great classes in town that will help you with your auditioning skills, not to mention great coaches that will help you prep for a role you really want to nail. Your agent will usually have a couple referrals for you. For a few tips on choosing a class, coach or school, go to our Getting Started – Training page.

What to Bring

100%. Give everything that you have in your performance. It’s said to be easier for a casting director or director to shave off a few inches from your performance than it is to cultivate something from it.

But remember, Don’t fawn over Casting Directors, Producers or Directors at your audition. i.e. ‘Hi, I just want to say I Love your work’, ‘I’m a big admirer…’ etc etc.

Be yourself, Let the Casting Director etc know you.

There is no room for nerves at auditions, nerves are noticeable and they make actors do stupid things. Think of another job, not an acting job that you’ve had in the past. Where you were nervous on your way to or while working..? If acting is your chosen profession why would you be nervous? It’s your job! If however nerves are a frequent feeling for you during an audition, learn to use them in your performance, channel that energy into the emotion of the character.

Don’t Dress for the part, But do be subliminal. This will prevent the casting director from typecasting you into a certain category.

Be off book with your lines, but not over prepared – be adaptable. Leave wiggle room so you can take direction.

Self Taped Auditions

If you feel you are really right i.e. physically for a character that a Casting Director is looking to cast and you feel you’ve been overlooked for an audition, prepare a 2 to 3 minute piece yourself relevant to what you / your agent knows about the character, and get it recorded.

If you, or your agent can track down a copy of the actual script or the appropriate audition side even better although this could prove challenging if a production is only at the casting stage.

Do Not e-mail self-taped auditions that you have filmed yourself directly to Casting Directors. Forward them to your agent and he/she will e-mail them to the appropriate Casting Director along with a written submission. Communicating with a Casting Director through your agent makes life a lot easier for the Casting director.

What to Expect

For starters, you will likely see a surprising number of actors with your look – especially for commercial auditions. It may seem daunting, but remember that you all have something unique to offer, so no worries. Many casting studios will have more than one audition running at one time. And if that’s the case, they usually have a bulletin board at the entrance stating the project name, room & casting director. If you’re not sure, ask.

For Commercial auditions, there will be a stack of blank forms hanging about. If they have the name of the project you’re auditioning for, fill it out. You’ll need your basic contact info, measurements, agent info, etc. Hand in your completed form along with your headshot & CV to the casting assistant. It never hurts to write your call time on the form, just in case you get lost in the mix.

For Film or TV auditions, they don’t usually need a form to be filled out, but if you’re at a union audition (Film, TV, or Commercial) you will find a sign-in sheet. Make sure you sign-in and sign-out every time, even if you are not part of the union.

In the actual audition room, expect to see the casting director and a camera operator. The casting assistant may also join you in the room. You’ll stand on the ‘mark’ in front of the camera. Simply follow their directions. The casting director might ask you to slate your name and/or agency then perform the audition as directed. You’ll find that after you go through a few auditions that they run in a similar way.

A “Thank you” as you leave is recommended as common courtesy.

Callbacks

Congratulations! They liked what you had to offer and want to see you again! And this time the Director, Producer and maybe client & agency reps will be there in the auditioning room! So expect your audience to grow from 3 to 8 people. They liked what you did the first time, now do it again, exactly, right down to the wardrobe, unless told otherwise. And expect the Director to work you a little, test how well you can take their direction. It never hurts to dress in clothes that can be quickly modified to offer a different look as well.

“On Hold”

You audition. You get a callback. Then you’re on hold. Basically it means that they really really like you, but for a myriad of reasons, not even half of them pertaining to your performance, they’re not ready to book you. But they might. Maybe. Holds can feel like a great big tease when you don’t end up booking them, but ultimately it says ‘you have what it takes!’

Break A Leg!

We have an ongoing list of current auditions on the site, and advise you go out for as many indie films as possible, you never know who you will meet in the process, the Directors & Producers of the future, and you never know who might see it – view our audition list. Going out for these roles also gives you an opportunity to start auditioning with or without an agent, build up a showreel, network, and gain experience on-camera or on-stage as well as the experience of the audition process itself. For seasoned professionals, auditioning is a great way to stay on your toes when on breaks, keeps the rust off. And is of course a whole lot of fun!