Some bits of auditioning advice (for plays and musicals):
About the cast list:
- Have fun!
- Listen and respond to directions. Don't fall in the rut of playing the scene the same way when given new directions.
- Tie your hair back. The people casting the show want to see your face!
- Don't ever have gum at an audition.
- Arrive on time.
- You don't need checks at the audition this year, but you do need to have all your contracts signed and your conflicts listed. Demonstrate how responsible you are by having everything signed and ready to go. This is, after all, a minimum expectation.
- Be confident! Imagine yourself succeeding, not failing. There is no substitute for the power of positive thinking.
- Demonstrate willingness. Some of the warmups or exercises a director might ask you to do might seem very odd to you. Prove that you can take them seriously by fully committing yourself to each one.
- Prove that you can be courteous, genuine, and supportive of other auditioners. In addition to being the right way to behave (in life), you don't want the directors to think that your personality will alienate others if you were to be a part of the cast.
- Project! It is hard for any director to cast someone he can't hear very well.
- Make big, bold choices. It is better for you to make the "wrong" big choice than to make no choice at all. Take risks.
- Don't replicate. This applies to the choices made by other auditioners, the choices you made for the director in previous readings and professional filmings or recordings. The director doesn't want to see you do the same thing again or the same thing as anybody else. Make creative, original choices.
- Never, never purposely do poorly while reading or acting a part you don't want. Do your best on everything you do! You may be reading for a character and the director is imagining you as another part. If you don't try your best, you might not be cast at all. From personal experience, I have given actors parts to read that I wasn't even considering them for because I wanted to see if they would make strong, energetic choices no matter what they were being asked to do.
About the cast list:
- Auditioning is a skill. The more times you audition, the better you will be at auditioning. Even if you don't get into the Fall Musical, you should try out for the Winter Play and the Spring Play. Continue trying out and you will gain confidence.
- Though it is cliche to say it, it is true: "There are no small parts. Only small actors." Even if you are an "extra" or get a part with few scenes or lines, make the most of it. Respect this part by treating it as if you got the lead. Work your hardest and don't take it for granted. Those who do much with little will be given more in the future.
- So many actors think that parts are assigned from best to worst, meaning that the "best" actor will be given the biggest part, the 2nd best actor will be given the 2nd biggest part, etc. This is not how casting works.
- Each part has different physical, emotional, and social requirements. Each director might have a different interpretation for each part. The director's job is to find the best match between the interpreted attributes of the character and the actor. Some of the most experienced and talented actors might not be cast at all if they don't fit the parts in that particular play.
- Additionally, this program has many "best" actors. Nearly every cast list leaves talented actors off the list. You shouldn't necessarily see the casting as a judgement of your overall talent as it is how well you fit the characters in that play. This is why willingness and flexibility are so important to demonstrate in the audition! Though you might be "talented" enough to get the part you want, you might not be the best fit. Prove that you are flexible enough to handle any part!
- The "lead" is not always the "best" part nor is it always the best experience for you as a growing actor. In many plays (including CATS), there are characters that are extremely difficult to play and very important to the story even though they have few lines or few songs. Best policy is to play every part with all your heart.
- If you are cast, work your hardest. Every role is an audition for future roles. Don't miss your call times or rehearsals. Have your lines and blocking memorized on time. Prepare for each scene the BEFORE the rehearsal. Stay focused, take your role seriously, and look for opportunities to help. Most directors want to cast actors on whom they can depend. Indeed, most directors will choose "hard-worker" over "talented" for future casting.
- Do your best to maintain a positive, helpful attitude even if you are not on the cast list.
- As a director, I appreciate actors who ask how they can improve after a cast list has been posted, though my answer is almost always the same: Continue to educate yourself and keep working on it! Take the Theatre Arts class, take other classes in the summer, read books about acting, try out for everything, go see more plays, and ask for help when you need it.
- Acting is not something that people are automatically "good" or "bad" at. It is something that can and should be worked at and studied. It is a process, not a product. Never think that you can stop learning or growing!