6 Ways to prepare for your best audition.
After sitting through thousands of community theatre auditions I've found that there is a definite secret to success – preparation. Those who have researched their character, the show, know their music, present themselves properly and are professional in their attitude are remembered by the Audition Panel. Unfortunately this ‘memorable’ group is very small.
With the amount of information available on the internet, it never ceases to amaze me how many people turn up to an audition with absolutely no knowledge of the show. They don’t know the story, the characters, the music, nothing and it shows in their auditions.
When you feel unprepared you will lack confidence, little things will throw you off your game, you will struggle not to throw up on your shoes and you will not be remembered. What a waste of your talent.
Some of the best auditions I’ve seen have not come from the best singers. Surprised? The best auditions looked like this:
It was obvious that the auditionee had researched the show, the music and characters because they could talk about them when the Audition Panel asked them to;
The auditionee hadn’t dressed in costume but they had presented themselves in a way that inferred the character they were auditioning for;
They knew their music backwards. Whilst singing it forwards is better (roll eyes and smile), when the director asked them to present their song in a different way, they were able to concentrate on his/her direction because they didn’t have to fumble for words or notes;
They didn’t just stand and sing their song, they told the story of the song. Remove the music from the lyrics and figure out what your song is saying. Tell that story to the audition panel. Move if you want to, use your face – ACT!
The auditionee didn’t excuse their voice by announcing they “had a cold”. Never, never get up at an audition and make an excuse. Auditions are a risk. If you are sick on the day and sound like a frog, then it’s just the luck of the draw. Your choice to audition anyway is admirable but don’t expect brownie points for it. Just be professional and get on with the job. The audition panel can recognise a snotty voice when they hear one. Just rack it up to experience and move on.
The auditionee was pleasant, polite and accommodating. BIG thumbs up for playing nice. From the moment you walk in the door and greet the audition clerks you are ‘auditioning’. Remember that the audition panel inside talk to the audition clerks outside. They want to know if Mr or Ms Diva has been in the building. It gives them a good indication of your ability to work as a team.
Here is the most important lesson to remember – when you have done all in your power to prepare, you relax and present your audition. Then go home and book your next one.
Do not go home and sit by the phone like your entire life depends on getting this part, because IT DOESN’T.
You may have done a fabulous audition but if you are not what the director wants for the part, or you are taller than your leading man, shorter than your leading lady, and a myriad of things out of your control, you're not going to get the role. You have control over about 10% of your audition; the rest is completely out of your hands. The production team have to make a group of 30-40 people fit together and this takes a lot of compromise.
You may have been the best singer but if the leading man is going to have his face in your cleavage when you embrace because you're so much taller than him, it isn't going to work.
A NOTE FOR FEMALE PERFORMERS: You are always going to be disadvantaged in community theatre because there are always about four times as many women as men at auditions; the competition is tougher. Get over it and get stuck into improving your skill base. Take dance and singing lessons and make it impossible to be overlooked.
Remember that the audition panel understand what you’re going through and want to help you do your very best audition. They are NOT waiting for you to fail, they are expecting you to blow them away, so relax, enjoy the experience and learn something to take to your next audition.
Finally, hear me when I grab your ears and yell in your face - "NOT GETTING OFFERED THE ROLE IS NOT AN INDICATION OF YOUR SELF WORTH!"
I can't tell you the number of conversations I have with people devastated by not getting the role they auditioned for. The melodramatics make me want to clip them around the ear and tell them to snap out of it. They are all extremely talented people who just didn't satisfy the myriad of other requirements of the role.
Do not accept that negative self talk. You just stood on a stage and put your everything into an audition. You took a huge risk, made yourself vulnerable and came out of it alive. You should be proud of yourself for doing something the rest of the population would pee their pants doing. Congratulate yourself and move onto the next audition.
Sherryl-Lee Secomb is An Idiot On Stage. The Idiot exists to encourage and equip community theatre to expect more and be extraordinary.
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