Audition Song Selection, What to Expect, Tips, and More!
20 Audition Mistakes To Avoid
Auditioning can be stressful and exhausting, and it is easy to get a little downtrodden the more you go in for things without booking them. That said, no matter what kind of day you are having or mood you are in there are certain things you should avoid doing once you enter the audition space. Sure, doing these things will make you stand out, but not in a positive way. So whether you are auditioning for things professionally or at a community theater level take a look at the list below to make sure you aren't making any mistakes that could potentially cost you the job.
1. Being Rude
This is in the number one spot for a reason. Nothing will cost you a job as quickly as having a bad attitude. No one wants to work with people who are rude, so make sure to be nice to everyone from the moment you greet the audition monitor.
2. Wearing Inappropriate Clothing
Unless the role calls for it, don't wear clothing that is too casual or revealing. It makes you seem like you don't respect the audition space, the material, or the people behind the table. I'm not saying you need to show up in heels, but wear something other than flip-flops. How to dress for your audition is one of the most important choices you make before you get in the room.
3. Covering Your Face (Hair/Makeup)
Make sure the people behind the table can easily see your beautiful face! Having hair in your face or excessive makeup on can very quickly detract from your performance and if the casting director is running on a tight schedule they may not ask you to pull back your hair and do it again.
4. Not Looking Like Your Headshot
Along with this, make sure when you are getting your headshots done you look like yourself in them! Casting directors know they are expensive, so if you get your hair trimmed or get highlights that's not a big deal, but if you used to be blonde and now your hair is purple and you have new bangs and a nose ring, it might be time to invest in some new pictures.
5. Apologizing for a Bad Audition
If you go up on lyrics or lines in an audition it's all right to say, "sorry could I try that again," but if you finish your song and immediately say "sorry!" as though you are apologizing for your performance you are making up the casting director's mind for them. If it wasn't your best then it wasn't your best, but it still may have been the best performance they have seen that day - so don't sell yourself short too early!
6. Talking To The Casting Director & Creative Team
Avoid wasting time talking about the weather, or your birthday, or your commute to the audition. Imagine how many people a casting director sees in a day and imagine having to make small talk like that with over a hundred people - it's exhausting for them and if everyone does it then it becomes a big time waster.
7. Bringing In Difficult to Read/Play Sheet Music
Audition pianists are incredible musicians, especially the ones playing at any professional audition, but that doesn't mean you should hand them loose-leaf sheet music that you cut together with a pink marker on the subway and ask them to transpose it into a different key. If you're auditioning for a professional production make sure your materials look professional and are easy to read (and maybe avoid some of the more difficult Sondheim/JRB pieces, because even the most talented sight-readers can have difficulty playing some of their pieces).
8. Being Unprepared For Your Audition
When you go into an audition you want to make sure you are as prepared as possible, if you can be off book with your sides, be off book. You want to avoid looking like you don't care about the audition. A good simple rule to live by with this is if you aren't prepared someone else will be.
9. Not Being Yourself At Your Audition
As cliché as it sounds, be yourself! The casting director/producer(s) want to hire YOU, not the person you think they're looking for. Keep true to yourself and who you are - avoid shifting into someone else. As Sierra Boggess famously says, "You are enough. You are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are."
10. Making Excuses For A Bad Audition
If you're sick you're sick, if you're late you're late, if you miss a note you miss a note - try to refrain from making excuses for yourself once you are in the room. The people behind the table know that life happens and they want to see what you can bring to the table even when you aren't necessarily at 100%.
11. Being Too Nervous For Your Audition
Auditioning can be exhausting and terrifying work, but it is important to remember that at the end of the day everyone in that audition room is also just a human. Try to avoid being so nervous that you can't do what you went into that room to do.
12. Not Asking Permission Before Doing Something That Could Potentially Be Uncomfortable For Your Scene Partner
This is a big one and one I have seen first hand cost someone a job. Make sure if you are doing a scene with a partner you talk to them about what your physical intentions are going to be before the scene takes place. If there is a kiss written in the scenes' script ask the director if they want to see it and then clear it with your scene partner first. If you are reading with a reader and it is an intense physical scene or you want to touch them AT ALL ask before doing so. Don't be the person who makes their scene partner uncomfortable.
13. Not Paying Mind to Everyone in The Room
It is important to treat every single person in the audition room with respect because there is a chance the executive producer is sitting in the last row of the room next to one of the casting interns. To be on the safe side, avoid only acknowledging the existence of one or two people in the room.
14. Wearing Glasses
This is another one where it depends on the character you are going in for, but if you aren't planning on using them for your character and you have contacts, try to wear your contacts for auditions. You don't want to be acting your pants off and have any of it hidden behind your lenses.
15. Not Eating
Make sure you are well fed before your audition. Sometimes if the nerves are acting up it can be hard to force yourself to eat, but nothing is worse than waiting for your audition time to come around and ending up focusing more on your empty stomach than your audition materials.
16. Bathroom Breaks
This is pretty specific to dance auditions, but try to avoid going to the bathroom during a time when the dances are being taught. You never know what you might miss if you are late into a room or leave and come back so it is always best to plan bathroom trips accordingly.
17. Not Taking Direction/Arguing With Director
Nine times out of ten a director has spent a few months with a project before they even start casting it, so it is safe to say they have some pretty specific ideas of how a scene should be played. If they give you a direction try and follow it at least once before making your opinions on it known, especially in an audition setting. Sometimes a director will change up how you are doing a scene just to see if you can take direction, so it is important to be open and avoid judging things until you have tried them.
18. Bringing Your Day Into the Room
Everyone has bad days now and then but it is important that once you open the door for your audition you leave that bad day outside. No matter what job a person has it is important that your personal life stays separate from work if possible, and the theater is no different; which sounds strange because so much of what is created onstage is personal, but the actual work being done should be separated in order to keep some level of balance and keep auditions a productive space.
19. Asking Too Many Questions
Speaking of productive spaces, it is important to ask questions when you have them, but make sure those questions are bettering the audition environment and not wasting time. There is a fine line between questions that can help your performance/audition and ones which don't need to be asked until you actually book the job.
20. Wasting Your Time/The Casting Director/Producers Time
Rounding this list out I feel it is important to reinforce the idea of avoiding time wasting and unpreparedness. If you know you don't know the material that has been given to you don't pretend like you are ready to audition. All it does is waste your time and the time of all the people behind the table. If something comes up between receiving your materials and the day you are supposed to audition that keeps you from being able to properly look at them try to reschedule. Rescheduling due to a valid reason is always better than going into an audition space, not knowing what you're doing, and wasting everyone's time. And just remember, people know that life happens, so rescheduling is not the end of the world, I promise.