Preparing for An Audition

A diverse range of people are on stage behind a glass window. There is a mix of ages and ethnicities present around the table. Their attention is focuses at a light-skinned older man who appears to be telling a funny story.

“There are many ways to get auditions and the experience will vary for different people…”

Hello! My name is Kristian Lustre. I’m a Filipino-Scottish Actor, currently studying at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Being part of Scottish Youth Theatre for National Ensemble 2020 has considerably helped my learning about the industry, networking, creating work and enjoying what I love to do.  

The universal struggle that actors face is looking for auditions, which is often the first hurdle when looking for work.  

Where do you even look? How do you even know if a production company is carrying out auditions? There are so many questions but the key is to always be curious and ask them. I found that questions are important and people are nice enough to help you find some answers.  

It’s even more difficult if you don’t have an agent. But don’t be disheartened by this. Having an agent does not define how and where you find auditions – there are still many ways to look for them.  

While Casting Calls are sent through to Agents, they are also often posted online via Spotlight and various Open Casting Calls. Always be on the lookout for these!  

I have found being proactive online is vital for making connections with fellow creatives and industry professionals. Additionally, attending live and in-person events such as shows, sharings and networking sessions will help expand your network. There shouldn’t be a hierarchy between actors and industry professionals, so be bold but respectful when networking. 

Everything starts with research. By exploring what’s currently happening in the industry; upcoming shows and festivals, and by participating in drama groups, writers’ rooms and research & development workshops, you are creating opportunities to meet other creatives who are taking steps to put their own work on.  

There are many ways to get auditions and the experience will vary for different people. So try not to limit yourself from networking opportunities and meeting others who share your principles and love for the work.  

Auditions can be exciting at times but often scary, especially if you don’t have a structure for how to approach them. But don’t worry! As long as you follow your own structure and remain open as an actor to explore the wonderful moments you can encounter in the audition room, you can make the experience as fun as possible for yourself.  

It always benefits me to be accompanied by someone who can help me learn my lines, rehearse or film a self-tape. Having a trusted friend or family member to support you will greatly help the amount of work you’ll be doing for the audition. My approach to preparing for an audition is as follows.  

A group of young people stand in a brightly lit room and smile at the camera.

IN PERSON AUDITIONS  

  • The audition brief sent to you will tell you what to prepare. Every brief will be different; varying from a piece of text, a poem or a song.  
  • After becoming familiar with the brief, now comes the point to begin your research. This could mean researching the production company you’re auditioning for, what kind of work they usually do and the context of the text they have asked you to prepare for the audition. 
  • Next: learning the lines. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!  
  • Once you’ve learned the piece of text, it is important to rehearse as much as possible. However, be wary of burnout and ensure you give yourself plenty of time to rest before the audition. Looking after your mental and physical health is always the priority, so keep those in check throughout the process.  
  • Lead-in time is key, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to process everything that you are practicing. Once you feel more confident, you can then explore different avenues within the piece.  
  • When it’s audition day and you are confident with the text, remember to relax! Take time to centre yourself, visualise the text and do a vocal and physical warm-up.  
  • During the audition, always listen to directions and don’t be set in your ways. BE OPEN. At times you will be asked to make changes in the audition room. If this is the case, try to stay composed, eager and courageous (if you feel the nerves setting in). Stay positive and remember to enjoy the experience when you are there.  

SELF-TAPES  

With a constantly changing industry, self-tapes are one of the more convenient ways to audition as it widens the range for castings. With self-tapes, Casting Directors, production companies, student films, short films and other industry professionals can widen their search for casting. Another reason is it creates opportunities for connection between actors unable to attend in-person auditions.  

  • When getting ready for a self-tape, check the brief as it will have everything you will need to prepare. If they’ve sent you the script and sides (a couple of scenes within the script), these are usually the audition scenes that they want you to film.  
  • Careful – it will have a deadline! Make sure you map out your schedule and manage your time. I allow myself to read the text multiple times and rehearse as much as I can. I will also encourage getting the words ‘into my body’ by incorporating the text into my warmups.  
  • Read any instructions they provide for filming. I usually use my phone, a tripod and a blank white wall background to film the self-tape (recently I’ve been using a blue background that I pin up on my wall instead of a blank white one). 
  • When you’ve filmed the tape, now it’s time to edit. I usually use my phone to edit, but I’ve previously used iMovie and the Splice app. Use whatever is comfortable and familiar to you. When you are happy with your tape, it’s good practice to double check the instructions for the audition and make sure you’ve included everything they’ve asked of you.  

I hope these pieces of advice will help you feel more confident, knowledgeable and optimistic as you prepare for your own auditions. And I would like to leave these thoughts with you…  

“Risk failure to make truthful discoveries.” – Lupita Nyong’o  

“Find the joy.” – Jonathan Groff 

– Kristian

 

Collaborate.
Create.
Reverberate.