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Let's talk about what the actor's real job is. If you think "acting" is the correct answer, I appreciate your enthusiasm! Auditioning is the actor's real job, the truth is unless you're Johnny Depp or Meryl Streep you're going to have to prove you deserve the job that the casting director, producer, and director are trying to fill. I know, I know it sucks and it can be so frustrating going to audition after audition and booking nothing. The truth is that their are millions of factors that go into casting a project, and although most of it is out of the actor's control I am here to give you a few tips and anecdotes that will hopefully help you feel more comfortable in your next audition!
1. Know your material.
I know this one seems super obvious, but besides being on time, this is the easiest thing you can do to set you up for success. If you are auditioning for a musical, make sure you have your music clearly marked in the correct key in a binder, and please make sure it is a song you know and feel confident singing. The same goes for monologues! Know the monologue backwards and forwards, and make sure you understand what you're saying. As far as sides go, while the audition notice might say you do not have to be memorized, memorize it anyway. You don't want to be that actor that keeps getting lost in the script. The best way to think about it is, would you go into a test without studying or a job interview with no understanding of the company? No. As Scar himself said, "be prepared."
2. Do your research.
This definitely goes along the same line as being prepared, but it's important anyway! Be familiar with what and who you are auditioning for. Read the play, listen to the music, watch the movie, read the book. Being familiar with the work is another easy way to make yourself look really good. Not only should you be familiar with the piece, but also the director, production company, theatre, producers, playwright, and so on! You can never be too prepared.
3. Read the room.
This is something you definitely learn with time, so don't stress too much about this. I just mean that if any of the auditors are trying to have a nice conversation with you then TALK TO THEM. We all had the high school drama teacher who did theatre in the 50s and told us to rigidly recite our slate with a plastered on smile. Oh how times have changed. Relax. If you walk into the room and the auditor says "Hi Maddy! How are you doing? What are you singing for us today?" Please don't say, "Hello my name is Maddy Berry and I will be performing "Pulled" from The Addams Family." Just be yourself and tell them! I recently went to a big casting call in LA and I sang for Craig Burns (the casting director for literally everything I was shook) and there were hundreds of people there, so before we sang for him we were told not to slate because "nobody does that anymore."
Just relax, be yourself, and breathe.
Going into an audition can be so daunting, but always remember that those people behind the table are not your enemies. They are hoping the next person to walk in the door will be their star, they want you to succeed and you could be IT. So come on, boo!! Put yourself out there, go to as many auditions as you can! They will get less daunting, and you will get more and more comfortable. The undeniable truth is that the only way to get cast is to audition, so learn to love it and keep shining!