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How to ace your acting audition

How to ace your acting audition

Casting director Sig De Miguel has cast dozens of independent and studio films, first with mentor Amanda Mackey and then as an independent casting director. He partnered with CD Stephen Vincent in 2006, and together the duo has cast more than 40 feature films including “Rabbit Hole,” “Holy Rollers,” “An Englishman in New York,” the 2011 Sundance hit “Gun Hill Road,” the new film “For Ellen” starring Paul Dano, and the upcoming “Affluenza.” De Miguel’s previous casting credits include “United 93,” “The Cooler,” “The Matador,” “A Love Song for Bobby Long,” and more.

Although he now specializes in casting independent films, De Miguel cautions, “Actors should not think in terms of studio films versus independent films versus episodic television versus theater versus commercials. They should aspire to be working actors and work in all mediums available to them. The reality is unless a project is doing a search for an unknown, most actors starting out are going to be considered for small roles and day players.”

In advance of his upcoming Backstage Casting Intensive, presented Wednesday, Sept. 12, in partnership with New York Film Academy, we asked De Miguel for his advice regarding auditions, submissions, and acting résumés.

What should actors always remember to do when they walk into an audition room?
Sig De Miguel: The two most important things an actor should bring into the audition room are preparedness and professionalism. I always admire it when actors come into the audition with a strong knowledge of the text, a defined point of view on the material, and assertive, specific choices. Actors should try to approach the most truthful state of being of the character and since it’s usually done in a very short period of time, knowledge of the role and material, preparedness, and specificity are the actor’s best tools.

They should also know how to read an audition room. They should be able to gauge when a casting director is open to conversation or when they have to move quickly. If they have questions, they should be concise and they should be the type of questions that help inform the choices they are about to make. I also love it when an actor has a strong sense of their space and their frame on camera. Even if you have very little experience, learning audition technique and practice can make you come across like an old pro in the room.

And what are your audition pet peeves?
De Miguel: My biggest pet peeve nowadays is actors not bringing their sides to the audition. Because we are firmly in the digital age, a lot of actors are going through their lines on their iPads or phones, but they should always bring their sides to the audition. Somedays it’s like we are Kinkos! But seriously, when you are printing sides for 12 people, it becomes an annoyance. I also think that actors should always carry a couple of headshots with them, as you never know who might want an additional headshot.

What do you wish more actors knew about auditioning?
De Miguel: The main thing I want actors to know is that the power is in their hands. That might be a strange concept to understand, but they are the ones coming into the room and giving the auditions. There is nothing that makes me happier than when an actor comes in and blows me away with an audition. That is why we do our job. When someone walks into the room and does extraordinary work, our job is done. It is very rewarding to see that.

No one is going to do the rehearsal and preparation but you. No one is going to give the audition but you. That audition room is your room to shine. It’s your room to show your specialness. Actors who revel in that are the ones that succeed—the ones who enjoy and take command of the process. Unless you reach a certain echelon of the business, you are going to be auditioning for many years and the audition room needs to feel like home. Regardless of whether the audition room is big or small, whether you are auditioning for two people or 10 people, whether the casting director is warm and friendly or is rude, the great work must always remain the same. The only constant is you and your work in the audition room. It is your moment to seize.

How can actors get your attention, and how do you discover new talent?
De Miguel: Please never visit or call. You never know what is going on in a casting office on any given day. An actor could decide to stop by or call on a day where there is a very time sensitive deadline and things are very urgent. It would not be a good idea. In addition, think of the number of actors that live in New York and try to imagine just a hundredth of them calling every day. It would be chaos.

I strongly encourage specific self submissions, submitting for a specific project and role with a concise paragraph as to why they would be right for the role. By being specific and defined as to their type and skill is how actors tend to open their first doors. I’ve always been critical of actors who put 100 skills in the special skills section of their résumé. “Special skills” means just that—you are very knowledgeable and experienced at these skills. Too many actors put everything and the kitchen sink into this section, and it weakens it. Can you do a dialect listed on your résumé at the drop of a hat if asked by a director in an audition, and can you do it very well? If not, then you should take it off your résumé. Also don’t say you are fluent in a language if you are not truly fluent, because a director or producer could start speaking to you in the language.

How important is acting training on an actor’s résumé?
De Miguel: Education is important to me, whether it means having attended a theater school or currently studying with a teacher, taking a class, private coaching, etcetera. It doesn’t mean that you need to have attended the most renowned theater program in the country, but you should always strive to further your education. There are some great teachers and classes in the city and even successful, established actors continue to take classes.

As an actor, you’ll need plenty of savvy to find the people who are casting for productions in your area — using the web, local theaters and even casting agents to help you get hired. Ideally, you’ll have quality head shots of yourself, and even a demo reel that shows you in other roles, so that you can present a professional image at the casting calls.

Explore this article

1 Search Websites

Actors routinely use a few key casting websites to help them locate casting calls. Some will require you to register or pay a fee to access all casting information. Reputable sites include Backstage, Actor’s Access. Those sites list casting calls in New York, Los Angeles and other cities — though your local area may also have its own casting sites that are more specific to your area, such as Casting Networks.

2 Contact Agents

Casting agents and talent agents in your area will also have access to many of the casting calls that aren’t widely advertised. To find them, search for “casting agents” or “talent agents” in your local business listings. Also try the listings provided by the Association of Talent Agents or the Casting Society of America. If you find an agent in your area, be prepared to show head shots and perhaps even audition before an agent decides to work with you. Agents will often hold “showcases” to seek out new talent, but the other way to get your foot in the door is to send in head shot and cover letter describing your interests — though it’s important to follow the company’s submission policy to the letter, suggests Ryanne Laratonda.

3 Locate Theaters

Get in touch with local theaters or production companies in your area to find out when they’re staging a new production. Some theaters have a mailing list or email newsletter list you can sign up for, which will alert you when there’s an upcoming casting call. Look for community theaters, school theaters that may cast community members as well as students, theater companies, dance companies and commercial production companies in your area through the local business directories. Your state or city film commission website may also post casting call information.

Another option: Team up with other actors to compile a list of every possible production company in your area, and then check that company’s website or social feeds regularly to stay up to date on upcoming casting calls.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

To do really well in an audition you’ll have to practice your audition skills until they become second nature. Every single actor knows how critical a good audition is This and your headshot are crucial to your success as an actor.

How to ace your acting audition

A Great Example Of An Actors Headshot

Giving your memory a good work out is one of the most valuable skills as it is critical to learning your lines. Making sure you have a few pieces memorised is absolutely essential for any actor. Every actor should set aside at least 15 minutes of their schedule everyday and practice their reading. It’s imperative that you have several audition pieces and that you practice them on a regular basis along with your sight-reading skills. Having these two techniques thoroughly practiced and comfortably in your ‘locker’ relieves the pressure on the day of the audition.

You can begin by simply taking a few sentences from a script or a play and reading them aloud. Take a good look at them and try to repeat the sentences without looking back at the passage. The first time you may well struggle with just a few words. But within 15-20 minutes or so, as you continue to practice, you will find that you will memorize the whole of the sentence and maybe part of the second, and so on. Whatever you do, you have to perfect your skills. You have to put your time and energy into them. The more you practice, the more you’ll be prepared. Then if you get a sudden call for an audition, your preparation will definitely pay off. But you should also remember that improvisation is one of the greatest skills an actor can have. You can be funny, creative, energetic or even solemn, pensive and thoughtful to bring life into the character.

If you read well and you’re right for the part hopefully you’ll get that callback. What happens if you read well but and your audition piece is wrong – well that’s just tough luck. Take it on the chin and get on with it – and learn for the next time. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Think of it as a learning experience and make sure you’re better prepared next time.

The casting director may well think that you are a good actor, but not exactly suitable for the role. Maybe they thought you didn’t understand the character correctly – another essential skill for the actor. As an actor you’ll have to learn to make those choices and interpretations, as they’re crucial to a successful audition. When you’re introduced to the character, you’ll have to visualise and understand what the character is all about. Essentially you’ll do your own version of the role, but it’s you who brings the character to life.

Everyone likes a creative and intelligent actor but a director will be more impressed by an actor who can follow direction. You should keep in mind that you’re there to impress, to get the role but you’re also there to follow direction and bring a character to life under that direction. You may well be asked to read with another actor, a complete stranger auditioning at the same time, or someone employed by the casting directors to play a role across the whole day for everyone the same way. If you have a chance to practice together – great – do it. If you don’t and you have to do your duologue straight off, make the most of it. Give it you’re best shot and try to bounce off the other actor, look for clues in their speech and actions and feed off those for a better, more realistic performance.

Colin Firth may be flying the flag for Britain at this year’s Oscar ceremony, but his newest character is a far cry from the days.

Publish Date: 02/05/2010 15:14

How to Ace Your Acting Auditions | ActingandModeling.net

If you are an actor hoping to make it big or, at least, make a living out of acting it is important to learn how to ace your acting audition. By “acing” we don’t mean, get every job because that is just impossible. …

How to ace your acting audition

Do you get enough auditions every week or do you feel like you could be going out much more often? Is your agent pushing you hard enough? What can you do on your own to get more auditions? The cold hard truth is: regardless of how incredible you are at acting, that does not guarantee you’ll get to audition all the time. What matters is – how proactive you are, how pleasant you are to work with, and how well you perform in the room.

Here are 5 ways to get an audition:

1. Make sure your online casting profiles are up to date.

You must, must, must keep your profiles up to date at all times!

– Update your credits: this means adding new ones and taking down old ones like a student film you did in 2004.

Go through your headshots on Actors Access and make sure you have updated headshots that look like you! If the headshots you have on there are from 10 years ago you probably need to upload some recent ones. Make sure you have a variety of headshots that could be used for commercial and theatrical auditions (including TV & Film).

– Go through your reel footage: Make sure you have a good reel on there that could showcase your acting skills. You can also make a very professional self-tape that you could upload and use for now until you get enough footage to put together a professional reel. Pick a scene and film it. Make sure you’re using a professional self-taping set up, whether that’s at home, a friend’s place, or a studio. It might cost you a bit, but it’s worth it to get that professional looking self-tape. If you’re not getting any auditions, choose something that plays into your type. Want to audition for Homeland? Pick a scene from Homeland, and put that down. Want to audition for Riverdale? Pick a scene from Riverdale, or another similar genre series and put that down. Once you’ve put down a solid tape, upload it to Actors Access. Make sure your self-tape is no longer than 2 mins.

2. Check your stats to make sure they’re correct and up to date: Make sure your weight, hair color, eye color are up to date. If you’ve recently learned a new skill, like snowboarding or horse-back-riding, then add that skill. Be honest, exaggerating your skills can only hurt you when you get called in and have to prove them.

3. Set up a meeting with your agent.

It’s important to check in with your agent every month – whether you’re auditioning or not. They won’t reach out to you and tell you to get a new reel, or update your headshots. You need to reach out to them, make the first move, and then they will advise you and you can come up with an action plan together. Ask for feedback – “Are my self-tapes up to standard?”, “Do my headshots need refreshing or are they working?”. First of all, it’s important to be at the forefront of your agents brain. They have a lot of clients to look after, and the more you fade into the background, the less likely you will spring to mind when they’re submitting actors for roles. Honestly, the more you keep in touch with your agent, the more auditions you get, the more work you get, and therefore the more you keep in touch with your agent. It’s a cycle – and if you’re not in the cycle right now, then make it happen and get in the cycle. Give him or her a call, and ask if you can pop in to their office for 20 minutes tomorrow. Agents love talking to their actors! You should not feel like you’re wasting their time. Here’s where that self-tape you just put down comes in handy – when you go in, show them the new tape. Get some feedback, and then upload it to your casting profiles. Agents LOVE to get new material from their actors, and they will use it when submitting you for roles.

4. Submit yourself on casting platforms.

Don’t just rely on your agents to do all the work. You should be submitting yourself every day on all casting platforms even if you have representation. Make sure to include a note in your submission with your recent bookings or major credits, news like signing with a great agent or manager, your social media following (if you have more than 10K on any one platform), if you have special skills that this role requires, why you would be perfect for this role and if you’ve met them through a class (don’t forget to say when & where the class was held). Honestly, any message can help you stand out from the actors that don’t write messages. Choose a headshot that works best for this project, include your reel or a professional self-tape and off you go.

5. Meet casting directors in person.

It’s very important to create great long-lasting relationships with casting directors. You can do that by following up after a call-back or a booking with a Thank You card or meeting them in-person via casting director masterclasses. Most casting directors teach classes where they share their industry knowledge and teach actors proper audition techniques. They can review actors headshots/resumes and give great tips on how to make actors audition stand out. It’s a great way to meet casting directors in-person and showcase your acting skills and talents in a class environment.

At Acting & Voice Studios, we work with many top casting directors that are currently casting projects. Right now, we have one of the leading casting directors, Kimberly Graham of Judy Henderson Casting, teaching a masterclass. Learn from an industry pro who has been on the “other side of the table” and is currently casting projects. Her insight on audition technique and overall on-camera performance is tremendous. Kim, a seasoned vet with years of experience and insight to offer, casts for film, television, commercials, and theatre. Kim is most well known for casting projects like “Avatar” and Showtime’s hit show “Homeland.” Currently casting FOUR new projects; NOW is the time to meet and work with Kimberly!!

Getting an audition for an acting role can sometimes be tricky, however once you’ve found the perfect audition, it’s even more important that you’ve prepared yourself enough in order to ace it.

No matter whether you are auditioning for the lead in a stage show or a minor role in a television series, there are a number of things that you can do to increase your chances of success. Here are our top tips on how to ace your next acting audition.

Know your role

In order to properly portray a character, you need to fully immerse yourself in that role you are auditioning for. Before any audition, read the entire script and make a connection with the character. Ask yourself what your character would think about themselves, what the other characters would think and say about your character and what the screenwriter would say about them. After all, the more you know about the story and character you are auditioning for, the more you will be able to do with the script in order to impress the judges.

Practice to make that connection

Not only do you need to connect with the role you are auditioning for, but it is also important to make a connection with the reader. Practice your audition piece in order to memorise the material, or to at least be familiar enough with it to keep eye contact during the audition. However, if you are unable to memorise the material in time, don’t pretend that you have. While knowing the dialogue is important, making a connection with the reader is ultimately what will make the scene believable and natural.

Let your personality shine

An acting audition is truly the perfect opportunity to show off your personality. Don’t give one-word answers when conversing with the casting director and if you are curious about anything, ask questions! Allow the judges to get to know you – after all, it may end up being your captivating personality that gets you the role.

Be confident

If you want to be an actor, you need to be able to command the attention of everyone in the audition room. You will be judged from the moment you walk into the audition, so confidence is key! Keep your head held high, avoid fiddling and shuffling your feet and smile! If you are new to the acting world, be sure to practice confident body language and posture ahead of your audition. Auditioning is all about making an impression – give the panel something to remember!

Be professional

Auditioning can be extremely daunting; however, it is essential to maintain professionalism at all times. Be sure to come as the best version of yourself, with clean clothes and shoes and a high level of detail given to your personal grooming. Some other tips include being punctual, bringing copies of your headshot and resume and checking your schedule for any clashes.

Additionally, be sure to always be polite and friendly! You don’t want to come across as rude or someone who is difficult to work with – that will ruin your chances of getting booked or networking with others who can help you in your career. Having a high level of professionalism is sure to set you apart from others auditioning and may improve your chances of securing the role.

Keep auditioning

Even if your audition doesn’t go to plan, that is no excuse to give up. The best way to master anything is to practice, with auditioning being no exception to this rule. By auditioning over and over again, you can further develop your self-confidence, get used to the nerves and gain experience regarding the audition process. The perfect opportunity is out there waiting for you and by gaining audition experience, you’ll be ready to ace that dream audition when the time comes.

Need to fine-tune your acting skills? Consider enrolling in an acting degree

Following these tips is just the first step to acing your next audition and becoming a successful actor. To further hone your skills and gain industry connections, consider completing a degree in acting. After all, a bachelor’s degree has become the entry-level benchmark internationally for the industry.

Sign up for the Bachelor of Stage and Screen (Acting)

Here at APAC, we offer an acting programme that teaches students to use speech, movement, and expression to bring characters to life and equips graduates with the skills and tools required for film and stage work all over the world.

Make studying with us the next step towards nailing your next acting audition. Plus, with FEE-HELP available to all of our degrees, you can focus on your career first and worry about the cost later.

Whether you want to have the audience in splits, tremble in fear, or shed a bucket full while you woo your love onscreen, your aim is to want to be a brilliant actor someday. With your animated expressions and charming personality, you have always been told “you have what it takes”, but you don’t hear the phone ringing for callbacks.

The only thing that separates the professionals from wannabe talent isn’t inspiration. It’s the preparation and execution of a good audition. Auditions are a part and parcel of any actor who wants to chart out a successful career in films. Auditioning for a movie can be a nerve-wracking experience especially the first few times and mainly due to the sheer amount of cut-throat competition that exists on such platforms.

Here are 10 most valuable tips for a better acting audition experience:

1. The 3 C’s mantra

Comfortable, Charismatic and Confident. To be a good actor is to command attention. As an actor, you need to be the most interesting person in the room. Confidence is an integral part of every audition process. This may sound quite easy but it takes heaps of practice. You are not going to get any sympathy points if you are fidgety, feeling unwell, or are just having a bad day. Your personal problems should be left at the door. Be professional because the moment you walk in, you are being judged.

2. Find a role that suits you

Do not land up for an audition just because there is one. Find a role that suits you and you understand the character. Try and get whatever clues you can about the character from the script that has been provided to you.

3. Check the requirements

Most auditions are very precise in nature so pay special attention to the guidelines that are mentioned. Do not hesitate to ask the audition contact or the agent for additional information.

4. Memorize the material

In order to make a connection with your casting directors, you need to establish eye-contact which cannot be done if you haven’t memorized the material. Knowing the dialogue is important but making a connection with the audience is what will make the character come alive.

5. Don’t start over

It doesn’t matter if you screwed up in delivering the dialogue. Take a deep breath. Gather your thoughts and move on to the next line.

6. Be careful about over-costuming

An acting audition is a performance that needs to be memorable. This does not necessarily mean that if you were auditioning for a role in a Yash Raj film, you need not look like Shahrukh Khan from DDLJ. Wearing a costume or bringing props will make you look amateurish.

7. Audition during the early part of the day

Casting is not an easy process and at the end of the day, the creative team is grumpy, tired and everyone wants to head home. The best audition slots are mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Avoid being the first or last audition of the day.

8. Do smaller productions

If this is your first audition as an actor, start with small, budget films and gather the feel of a film’s set before moving on to try for major, commercial projects.

9. Provide a resume with pictures

Irrespective of whether you have an agent or a manager, you need to present your resume with pictures right before an audition. Now, sometimes this may not be necessary but do enough research for the film you are auditioning for in order to provide the right kind of headshots.

10. Wrapping up

Make a short pause after you have finished your audition to signify that you are done. Give them a warm smile and exit with something simple like “thank you” and “nice meeting you”. Don’t linger around in the audition room and ask when the callback will be. This will only portray you as desperate. Don’t make excuses for yourself if you feel that the audition didn’t go too well.

Familiarising yourself with these tips on how to audition for a movie is your first step, but keep in mind working your way through the film industry will take time. With constant hard work, lots of patience and persistence, your efforts will pay off. Have fun while you are at it!

How to ace your acting audition

Confidence
Remember that the minute you walk into that room; you’re being noticed. It’s up to you how you present yourself and how you want others to see you. Good posture, your body language and dressing sense speak way before you do. Always remember, a smile goes a long way!

Be a team player
Auditions are a great way to make new connections in the industry. With each audition, you will meet important people who help you in your journey. If you appear to be someone who is difficult to work with or is impolite; there is a possibility that they may not be a call back.

Do your homework
Understand your character to the teeth! If you are to be donning a character’s skin, learn and research the vision. Ask questions like: What does your character think about themselves? What do other characters think and say about your character? Then get your inputs on the character. Let the panel understand why you are the best for the role.

Calm the nerves
Nervousness is a difficult feeling to move on from. If you fumble while delivering the dialogue, don’t restart. Take a deep breath and move on to the next. The casting director and panel are there to see you succeed in whatever is best for you. Don’t let your mind tell you otherwise. Let your personality shine through.

Eye Contact
Have good eye contact with the casting director and the panel. Along with memorized lines you need to connect with the audience. Have a dialogue with the people watching you and let them immerse themselves in the scene. That’s what gets you the part.

How It Ends
When you’re done, say something like thank you or looking forward to hearing from you. Don’t stay back to ask when the call back will be or you could call them. Speak when you’re spoken to and don’t give excuses if you think it didn’t go well. Just smile and leave when you’re done.

Auditions are your chance to show them how you can work well with the film’s crew. It’s a brilliant opportunity for you to show what you are capable of, so be brave and positive. We at AAFT believe that a career in Films, Radio and Television is greatly enriched by sound theoretical knowledge and practical training. We offer specialized courses and have been designed to impart sound grounding in practical and technical training to anyone who wants to make it in the industry.

Our acting course has been crafted for aspirants to kickstart their career with a specialized online course with industry experts to equip you with the right skills and knowledge to find success in this industry. With an industry-recognized certification program, you will enter your auditions with an edge over others along with the right knowledge and skills to make you stand apart.

Today’s world is definitely one of opportunity, especially when it comes to art and entertainment. The world of high profile acting was never as open to those who don’t come from a high profile background or study at expensive New York or Los Angeles acting schools. Getting your acting career on the roll is probably as much about training as it is about grabbing the right opportunities at the right moments.

Open casting calls are the most useful tools for those who are feeling capable that they can make an immediate impact upon their acting careers, but aren’t well-enough known to get invited to usual castings. They might also prove to be an opportunity to score your name into onto a big production even with an almost insignificant role – it’s still a thing to boast over and usually gets you good pay when compared to the amount of work you have to do. And even if you don’t manage to grab the jobs, you’ll at least get acquainted with directors and get to know what they appreciate – making you have better chances of success with every casting you attend.

How to ace your acting audition

Example of an open casting call poster, looking for young boys to star in a family movie.

Firstly, to make sure we’re on the same terms – open casting calls are the types of casting which can be attended by anyone. That’s right, it doesn’t matter if you’re a physics teacher from a town in Michigan or a ski instructor from Philadelphia; everyone can give it a try and hope for the best. This seems like more competition at a first glance, but think of it this way: the overall quality of casting attendants will be lower, and this means that you have more chances of sticking out from the crowd if you have the talent.

Finding such auditions used to be quite a niche process back in the day, but the rise of the online streamlined to just a couple of clicks. Sites like ActorsAccess or Backstage display a wide array of such auditions, ranging from indie movies to multimillion dollar budget blockbusters all over the country – be it Dallas, San Francisco, Boston or other locations (though in some cases the more important casting calls are hidden behind a pay wall – meaning you need special types of membership on those sites).

But before noting yourself the time and date of the audition, be sure to take a look at the role’s breakdown, which normally should be posted in the announcement. This is basically a summary of the available roles within the picture, and the most important thing is to at least resemble one of them by physical aspect – you can’t really hope to get a female role as a male, now. There might also be slight details posted about the character, giving you a hint towards the mindset you should approach the audition with.

If you’re really looking to see how professional open casting calls are held, then you should try attending a Disney one. It’s not really as complicated as it sounds; Disney actually holds several large open casting calls at multiple points throughout the year, all over the country. If there’s some kind of opportunity in your area, you’ll surely get wind of it; they don’t downplay it as they want as many people to show up for them as possible. It doesn’t hurt checking their site periodically though.

One of the most famous recent examples happened throughout 2013 and 2014, when a season of massive casting calls involving tens of thousands were held for the very anticipated next Star Wars movie, with two mostly unknown actors ending up being cast in what appears to be as key roles. This was also manner in which the most beloved original cast for the 70’s series was also found.

So, how do you go about a Disney open casting call to maximize your chances of being noticed? Well, if you don’t really manage to fit in, you can’t do much to convince them of your real talent. However, there are certain aspects which you could be sure to do to stick out of the crowd. The most essential thing is to make sure that you get there about a quarter of an hour before the time your audition was scheduled for; being late might not only cost you the chance of proving yourself, but might even give you a bad reputation for it.

Also, don’t forget to bring an actor resume and the best headshots you can afford. You’ll hand them over to Disney employees, who are required to keep them and, who knows, might even call you up for other auditions that fit your profile. The audition itself is done in an enclosed area, so you’re pretty much going to be there on your own. Don’t worry though, Disney employees present there will make it so that the whole thing will be less intimidating than it appears.

Now the specifics of what you’ll be required to do depends on the nature of the role; but generally, Disney requires auditioned actors to come prepared with a comedic monologue lasting no more than a minute. Timing there is essential, as you’ll be stopped if you pass that minute mark; making a complete monologue will leave a better impression than a cut-off one.

How to ace your acting audition

Example of a color version of a casting call flyer.

Another type of popular open auditions are those for entertainment shows. Channels like MTV, CBS or NBC hold them nationwide on a regular basis; even Nickeloden holds them for teens, kids and babies. In these open casting calls, it’ll probably be less about your acting skills and more about your overall charisma; particularly if you’re auditioning for reality shows.

Shows like The Amazing Race or Big Brother do massive cast periods in a multitude of locations and they require less an actor and more a believable, interesting and fun-to-watch human being. Other shows have other requirements, depending on their target: America’s Got Talent is self-explanatory, The X-Factor will look for competent singers and so forth.

This might not really be what you had in mind when you picked acting as the main focus of your career, but the truth is this type of shows grant two things which are extremely appreciated in any form of entertainment today: image and exposure. They will fit great onto your resume are also good places to be observed; you’d be surprised on how major production companies also keep tabs on the TV entertainment industry for their next star. They also pay decently, and might even end up with a big prize if you manage to win their respective competitions.

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For the foreseeable future, in-person auditions are a thing of the past. While self-tapes have been around for more that a decade, (yes, really… and they literally use to be on tape!), overnight they have become the industry norm. What’s new is virtual auditions. These are auditions held live, but over Zoom or another video platform.

There are both huge advantages and disadvantages to being in the audition room in-person, and doing it virtually. In-person means a much bigger time commitment, maybe taking time off work, driving and parking. And sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of other actors that look like you can be nerve wracking! Not to mention the in-room audition jitters.

While we’re all more comfortable at home, you don’t get the benefit of meeting everyone face to face, having a professional and standardized set-up and connecting with other actors.

Here are some steps to help you set up your space and your equipment and audition like a pro.

1. Set-up the “set”

If you haven’t done so already, figure out a place in your home that is going to be best suited to doing your audition. The standard is to use a portable backdrop or a blank wall, but depending on the scene, you may want to have your room in the background. Be careful to keep it clean and uncluttered and limit the personal items – we all love to look! Also, glass picture frames can create a glare and be distracting. Remember, the most important thing is your work, not showing off your cool place.

2. Check the lighting.

Poor lighting can absolutely kill your audition! Casting wants two main things: to be able to see you and hear you. Ideally, you live in a beautiful well-lit place with lots of windows and can do this at the perfect time if day. But since life is seldom ideal, make sure you have a reasonably consistent light source. Stay away from back lighting and face a window if you can. It’s also really worthwhile to invest in an inexpensive ring light or studio light just for this purpose. You can find my personal lighting recommendations here.

3. Wire up for sound.

Like I said, casting directors really need to see you and hear you. While smart phones are completely okay for auditioning purpose, just do a quick mic check and check your sound quality. If it sounds too hollow or echoey, consider buying a low-cost lav mic just for audition purposes. Pro Tip: An extra long cord really helps! Then you’re not tethered super close to your phone. Again, you can find my personal recommendations here.

How to ace your acting audition

4. Test beforehand.

Just as you’ve rehearsed the rest of your audition, do a couple of run throughs checking your equipment. This isn’t only camera, mic and lights, but if it’s a Zoom audition be sure to check your internet connection! If you can hardwire in with ethernet cable, great. If not, always reboot your computer beforehand to clear any memory and do a quick speed check at speedtest.net. If you are using an app or platform that is unfamiliar to you for the audition, same thing, check it out first. This is a huge bonus when doing the audition, because live and in-person you never get that kind of opportunity to try it “on-set” so to speak.

5. Quiet on set!

Try to find a place for your audition that is away from as many household noises as possible. Family members, roommates, pets and kids making cameo appearances can be really cute and funny in blooper reels, but chances are they’ll throw you completely off your game! Also be mindful of things like a noisy refrigerator running, smoke detector beeping, laundry machines and air conditioners. The noise may go unnoticed in day to day life, but it can completely take over your audition.

6. Turn off all notifications.

This is a biggie that most people forget. Many good takes have been interrupted and ruined by text messages or email coming in. Turn off all notifications on your cell phone and computer, including social media and app notifications. One little message flashing across the screen can instantly derail your focus, and it’s just not worth blowing an audition over!

Self-tapes and virtual auditions are here to stay. It’s not an option of whether or not to have a great set-up and to get really good at doing them – it’s just a matter of when.

Questions or comments? Head to the comments section below… I answer every one!

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* Please Note: I am not an agent, manager, or casting director. I do not procure work for actors. All information, workshops and coaching are for educational purposes only and are not a guarantee or promise of employment. Thank you for being here!