It’s not secret that Utah is a hot spot for films. Besides the Sundance Film Festival, which brings in thousands of people each year, Utah is known for several other film companies including Disney. Perhaps you have received information on movie auditions or have been approached by agents. Maybe none of this has happened but you would like to be a film actor some day. Well, the biggest tip to be able to nail your audition is to be prepared. So in that light here are 15 tips to help you nail your audition, specifically what the top casting directors in Salt Lake City are looking for.
1. Always bring your headshot and resume
Unless you have won an Oscar and your film credits are public knowledge, ALWAYS bring your headshot and resume with you. Casting directors want to have your information right in front of them. They want to know not just your credits, but also your training and background. Sometimes the person contacting you forgets to ask you to bring these things, but it is something you never want to be without.
That being said, whatever else you are asked to bring, bring it. You might have to go and buy a couple quick things or it might not seem important, but it is. Make sure you have those packed and ready to go. Check them again before you walk out the door.
2. Know the material
As I said at the beginning, being prepared is the biggest tip. This means being prepared in all areas but specifically the material.
Practice the sides often. Dive into the material. Think about the character and their goals. Think about how the character feels, things they have been through, and how they relate to other characters.
Learn as much as you can about the plot and the overall story. All of this can help you in developing a real character and not just reading words on a page.
Practice reading in front of people. Practice how you hold your sides. You don’t need to be memorized, but the words should feel natural.
3. Be early
There isn’t much worse than being late for an audition. Even being right on time can raise flags in the casting director’s mind. Be 10 – 15 minutes early. That gives you time to calm yourself and get into the zone. You can go to the bathroom or get a drink one last time. Most important is you can relax.
Often auditions are held in back offices studios or even a warehouse. These aren’t places you know about unless you are auditioning all the time. If you don’t know where you are going, don’t expect Siri to help you get to the right place the first time. Find the location a couple days before so you don’t have to stress about it on your audition date.
4. Audition early
Casting directors see a lot of people. As much as they try to stay focused through all the auditions some might admit that by the end of the day they are done. So ask for an early audition time and be one of the first people they see.
5. Dress like the character would
Don’t go rent a costume or anything but you can dress to give off the persona of the character. This helps you and it shows the casting director right away that you have thought about the role on a deeper level.
6. Know how to slate
That means you stand at your mark, look at the camera, give your name and character name. They may ask for more information but always give your name and character name.
This may seem simple, but you want to practice how to be genuine, but also warm and charming. For some, it comes naturally, others will just need some practice.
7. Be gracious. You are a guest.
When you get called for an audition, be thankful. Casting directors want to work with good people. If you are easy and nice to work with that will do wonders for you.
When you walk into the audition room, you are a guest there. Be thankful and accepting of the invitation.
8. Be confident
That being said, be confident. Being gracious doesn’t mean being scared or worried. If you have confidence in yourself, then the casting directors will have confidence in you too. They are on your side. They are hoping you are right for the part. Show them that you are.
9. Leave your ego
Confidence is not pride. Don’t make excuses for any problems that arise or anything that may throw you off. Leave your ego at the door.
10. Come to work
Again, casting directors want to work with people who want to be there and are willing to put in the work. Be ready for any suggestions that come up or to try it in a different way. Once I was asked to change what I was doing and pretend to be a 10-year-old boy who got his pants pulled down.
11. Make choice. Go for it.
Don’t feel like you have to play it safe. That is why practice and knowing the material beforehand is so important. If the character is angry, there are multiple ways to “be” angry.
Remember acting is reacting. It is doing.
Find variety in how you can portray the character.
12. Don’t Apologize. Ever.
If you are sick or tired, don’t call yourself out. Casting directors understand people get sick. They won’t hold it against you, but they will if you apologize for it.
If you mess up a line or didn’t do it how you planned, don’t stop and apologize. Work through it and if they give you another chance take advantage of that one.
13. Don’t stare at the casting directors
If your side calls for talking to other characters don’t stare at the casting directors, it makes them feel uncomfortable. Instead, choose a point just to the side or above the camera so they can still see your eyes but it’s not awkward.
14. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you have a question about something, don’t be afraid to ask. If they ask you to do something and you don’t quite understand, speak up. Both you and the casting directors are learning and trying to figure out what the part should be. Questions never hurt.
However, this isn’t like a job interview where you should have 2-3 questions in your mind to show your intelligence or something. If you don’t have questions, don’t worry!
15. Keep auditioning
Auditioning is tough. The only thing that makes it easier is to keep doing it. Keep practicing, keep studying, and get to know the casting directors.
I was once told that auditioning is your real job. Once you get cast, then the fun begins.