Here are valuable insight and tips from teaching thousands of students and observing actors who have auditioned at Commercial casting sessions:
1. As you walk into the audition, be present.
2. Be respectful, positive and professional without losing your personality.
3. Give full attention to the person who is directing you.
When you are being given direction, don't be figuring out how to do what they are saying. Just listen and trust that you got it: otherwise, you might miss input.
4. If clarification is needed, ask questions.
Those running the session won't think less of you because you request answers. Their input will help you to do a better audition for them.
5. While being recorded on camera, if they ask questions, they probably want to get to know you and see your personality.
6. If the session director or CD is short-tempered or seems ambivalent, do not take it personally.
It may be their nature or they may be dealing with problems or previous actors who tested their patience. Remain pleasant, positive, and ready to perform your audition.
7. "Get centered" before starting your audition.
Breathe...take one or two seconds before beginning or find your own unique way to "get centered" but avoid being self-indulgent by keeping everyone waiting.
8. Don't let anxiety or energy of those running the session overwhelm you.
9. Try not to rush your audition.
When actors are nervous or "in their head," many speed up the dialogue or their improvised scenarios. When actors are connected and focused, they don't rush. On the other hand, don't speak really slowly or take long pauses between the lines.
10. Being focused is key.
Whether you are auditioning for one person or a group, reading into a camera and being put on tape or speaking to an actor, stay focused and never allow unexpected incidents to upset or put you "in your head." No matter what happens, be flexible and just go with it and adjust quickly.
11. Motivate Out.
For improvised and scripted on-camera scenes: "motivate out" actions and/or dialogue at least fifty percent of the time to maximize your facial exposure.
Most new actors constantly look at their partner(s), which keeps them in profile and upstaging their own performance. Practice how to "Motivate out" while looking into camera or just off camera.
12. Don't cheat out.
When auditioning with a reader and told to do the dialogue looking into the camera, don't look back and forth between the reader and the camera. It makes you look nervous.
13. Use the cue cards when needed.
Most actors feel they will do better if they memorize the audition dialogue. If are not sure of your next line, LOOK AT THE CUE CARD. It is there to help your audition. If you are convinced you know the copy and are stubborn about looking at it then you will go in your head to try to remember and will often loose the flow of your audition.
14. During the read, trust and commit to your instincts.
Unless given a specific direction, don't consciously perform anything you rehearsed. Some of the choices that you rehearsed might not feel right in the moment. Allow your instinctive interpretation for your read to flow - organically, you may do most of what you rehearsed. When you are connected and "out of your head," you are open to instinctive moments that are often better than those you planned.
15. Ask to do it again.
If you feel your audition was off or if you have another interpretation that you would like to do, politely request, "If you have time, I would like to do it again" or "I'd like to do another interpretation." If they refuse, say "thank you" (mean it) and leave.
16. Repeat steps 1-15 every time!
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