I think we’ve all been through the audition process and wondered “What the heck went wrong?” It’s easy to make excuses and say “I could tell the casting director didn’t like me,” or “there were SO many people there, there was no way to be noticed.” I urge you to get out of that mentality as quickly as possible. To help you on your road to success, I’ve listed some traps we often fall into, and provided ways to stop them from getting in your way.
1. Asking To Start Over
Something might go wrong during your audition. Maybe you’ll mess up, or maybe your accompanist will read your music wrong. Keep going. When you stop and ask to start over, you are displaying what your instincts are. If you can find a way to pull it off despite the mistakes, your audition panel will be super impressed at your skill level. Things will go wrong in shows, too. Chances are, the director will already have heard your song 1,000 times that day, and THEY KNOW it is not supposed to sound like that. But if you can work it like a champ anyways, you’ll look like a genius. Don’t apologize. The show must go on.
2. Making Half Choices
The audition process is NOT the time you want to play it safe. Yes, you want to put your best foot forward, and yes you want to deliver exceptional quality. However- do not be SO safe that you get ignored. If you are going to raise your hands over your head at the finale of your song broadway style, make the choice ENTIRELY. Don’t get stuck at the end of your song looking like you have T-Rex arms, because you second guessed your choice. If you are going to walk around during your number, do it with confidence. If you can’t make 90 seconds of bold choices during a song that YOU picked, you will not instill a lot of confidence in your director that you can do it throughout an entire show. Fortune favors the brave.
3. Wearing An Outfit That Blends In Or Doesn’t Suit The Part.
Even if you completely nail your audition, it’s also paramount that you be memorable. In regards to your outfit, there are two fail safe rules. #1: Dress for the part you want. #2: Don’t blend in. You will want the judges to see you as the role you want to be cast for. Make sure that you wear something that is tasteful but memorable to your audition. Later on the judges can think back to that and remember who you are. Your judges have 90 seconds to see you, and they will likely write down “girl with the bright scarf” so they can remember which one you were. Give them at a least one memorable item to work with.
4. Using Material That Does Not Suit The Part.
We all love to stay in our comfort zone. Sometimes we’re called with very little time to prepare for an audition, so we stick to something very safe. If you say to yourself, “I’m not sure if this is the right style for the gig I’m trying to get,” then you’re probably right. Trust your gut on that one. Even if you’re afraid of doing the same monologue as someone else, you should still demonstrate what it is that YOU have to offer in that style. Don’t send in your opera reel to get a gig singing Motown. I know that it seems like a simple concept, but you would be surprised how many people do it.
We often tell ourselves, “It will show that I am a dynamic performer.” If you are applying to something online, and the first thing they click on is your opera reel, then you have lost the gig because they think that you haven’t read the casting notice. Gear EVERY bit of material you submit or audition with to EACH specific audition. I know you don’t want to waste your time, but neither does the casting director.
5. Not Getting Feedback Before Your Audition.
I harp on this topic a lot. You’ll see it in many of my blog posts, because it is SUPER important. Film yourself, perform your audition for people, do research on different performances of the song. Make the best choices you can. Also, make sure to ask specific questions to your pre-audition audience, because not everyone who sees it will know what a professional audition should look like. One silly oversight can cost you the part if your competition is steep. Invest in your choices.
6. Not Making Each Audition Authentic.
When you walk into your audition, that is the time to convince the director that there is nothing else you would rather be doing than performing in their show. It may not be your first choice. With that in mind, you also may not get cast in your first choice. Respect the process, respect your director and show them that this audition could open doors for you. Bring energy, and be optimistic about where each show or job may lead you. Every audition that you go to should be done as well as it possibly can be done. Even if it is the tenth audition you’ve done that day. Show up ready and be genuine. Never be on your heels.
Hopefully some of this insight is helpful to you. There aren’t many things worse than checking a casting board to find that your name isn’t on it. Hopefully 2016 will be full of success and excitement for you all. Next time you are getting back out there, make sure you don’t let these simple issues stand between you and your next role! Cheers to all, and Happy Holidays!!
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