Auditions deserve a 3 year course dedicated just to them, they can be scary no matter where you are on your acting journey. The main thing that worries actors and can sometimes get a firm grip and choke the creativity out of them is FEAR, fear of the unknown.
Every casting is unique and it’s definitely not a paint by numbers experience. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from my experience of auditioning and from regularly auditioning others the 3 monstrous audition mistakes I’m going to cover today are the ones that crop up every single time and ruin actors chances, yet they don’t have to if you decide to get disciplined with the audition process.
My awful audition experience
A good number of years ago, I had one of the worst audition experiences of my life. I did more than the 3 mistakes mentioned below. See if you can spot them.
A good friend had managed to wangle me an audition for a panto. I’d just finished a theatre job abroad with him and he thought I’d be great in the panto he was in.
The audition clashed with my holiday so I sold my ticket and decided to take the audition instead. I (in a very arrogant way) thought I had the audition in the bag because my friend was really good friends with the director. I had to perform two songs and a monologue. Great I thought, I’d love the opportunity to sing again because I hadn’t done it in so long.
I chose my songs and practiced and practiced them, until I was sick of them.
Can I introduce you to my lovely friend Mr. Fear
What happened next I’ll never forget. That nasty old thing called FEAR that I spoke about earlier, got hold of me with its firm grip and wouldn’t let go. It was strangling the life out of me.
S**t!!! I hadn’t even practised the songs to the piano. I began to stress about this but continued to sing these songs everyday to make sure I wouldn’t hit a bum note. The closer the audition got the more I freaked out and the more I became fearful that I would give a bad audition.
I contacted a friend in London, where the audition was and she put me in contact with someone who was an opera singer and played piano. Phew.
When I got to the singers house, I couldn’t sing. My voice was so sore and tired it had gone to sleep, but me being me and not wanting to miss an opportunity or let others down, I forced the notes out, which made my voice drift off into a coma.
Anyway I got the lesson over with and rushed off to Leicester Square and I couldn’t find the place. I was walking round and round in circles asking everyone where it was and you know what it’s like, everyone was sending me in different directions. By this point my fear was laughing at me because it was winning its game.
I eventually found the place and was mega late (first bad impression), when I was invited into the room I thought I better not tell them about my voice after turning up late, I’ll just look like I’m full of excuses.
I began singing and hit bum note after bum note, it was like trying to drag a child out of bed for school getting my voice to sing, it didn’t want to do anything.
Next up… the monologue. I hadn’t even prepared it, not because I’m a lazy actor, but because I’d spent so much time stressing about the songs. My mind was flapping, first I was late, second I’d screwed up my songs and now I hadn’t prepared my monologue.
What a sham. I tried to win the director over with my friendly vibes and humuor but he’d already made his mind up. Because I’d thought I was going to give a bad audition, I did. I felt like such a fraud to both myself and my friend who’d kindly got me the audition.
How could I pick up from there?
I made damn sure that every audition from then on I was super prepared for, I arrived at least an hour before my slot to avoid any obstacles so I wouldn’t give myself the opportunity to stress. Now surprisingly, turning up late to an audition doesn’t make it into my 3 monstrous audition mistakes because I’m fairly sure you already know that being late is a no go and the last thing I want to do is patronise you. So what does make it in? Lets’s have a look.
3 monstrous audition mistakes
Lack of confidence
This comes in many forms whether it be the way you hold yourself, lack of eye contact, not knowing what to say, the shakes and it can appear in many other ways too. Lack of confidence begins with your thoughts around yourself and the energy that comes from those thoughts penetrates the room.
When there is a lack of confidence in the auditionee that can ring alarm bells. ‘Will this person cope?’ is the first thought that runs through my mind when I’m auditioning. If you lack confidence in yourself you must work on your mind to overcome this. Don’t give anyone a reason not to employ you.
You may not verbally make excuses to the casting director/panel but you may make excuses in your mind. No matter whether the excuses are said or not, they manifest in your energy in the room and are easily detectable.
I can’t speak for other people, but when I hear or pick up on excuses I wonder what this person would be like to work with, will they make excuses throughout the time I’m working with them and if they do it’s going to make things very difficult for everyone. Excuses can come from shame. To avoid having any excuses in the first place be transparent, be honest with yourself firstly. Take responsibilty for yourself and you’ll find the whole process much more calming. No excuses = no attitude.
Lack of preparation
From my experience of auditioning actors I can share with you that being on the panel I have a very clear idea of what I’m looking for in the characters. When someone hasn’t prepared well it’s like the wrong key being played on a piano or an off key note being hit by a singer, it basically sticks out like a sore thumb. To counterbalance this there are actors who have prepped so thoroughly that the actor who didn’t is forgot about. I think you already know what you need to do.
Bare these 3 monstrous audition mistakes in mind the next time you land a casting, and through finding your method of preparation before the casting and honing in on your discipline, the audition process will be much more pleasant and you’ll make a good impression.
Let me know if this has helped you in the comments box below.
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning
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