Top 5 Indicators you're ready to audition...
1. You’ve been consistently training in an on-camera class, scene study class or improv class for at least 1 year.
2. You know how to bring a scene to life; genre, environment, stakes, moment before, arc of the scene and most importantly you can have a relationship with your scene partner.
3. You can easily be “off book” with a 2-3 page scene. Key word here is easily.
4. You can take direction.
5. You’re marketing tools are all up to date and ready to go! i.e., headshot, resume, website and reel.
This is one of the most important factors in my book as I see so many actors who are not ready to audition signing up for casting director workshops, sending out mass mailings seeking representation and working extremely hard on their marketing tools. All of these things are wonderful for you to be doing, yet treating your audition skills/training as secondary can be detrimental to your career. Most of us start off being “green” in the industry, which is normal because how are you supposed to gain experience when you don’t have much! First things first, getting yourself into a great ongoing class that helps you hone your skills is where you want to begin. You’re much more likely to be seen again and again by casting when you know what you’re doing in the room.
Bringing Your Scene To Life
When your agent/mgr or casting director sends you your sides, pages from a script that you will audition, knowing how to break them down effectively will help you have a better audition.
For example, can you identify the genre? There’s a big difference between thinking you’re going in for a procedural vs. finding out you’re going in for a single camera comedy.
Who are you in the scene? Sister, friend, long lost lover? Knowing your relationship to who else is in the scene is key to the story being told and how you tell it.
What’s your moment before? Meaning what just happened to you and where are you coming from? A lot of times in TV/Film you don’t have time to build an huge backstory, so being able to quickly identify what just happened is key to beginning your scene in the moment.
What’s at stake and how do you feel about what’s at stake? So your mom got a new job which is amazing, but now you need to get a babysitter so you can keep your job. What’s at stake if she takes it? How do you feel about her taking it? Loving the fact she takes the job or hating the fact she takes the job will give you immediate high stakes. Being so/so about it, keeps you in general, one note land.
Where are you when the scene is taking place? There’s a big difference between you having a conversation in a cramped bathroom vs. a parking lot.
You Can Easily Get Off Book
Picking up a 2-3 page scene and being able to know it are key. Not just memorizing your lines but knowing the story; where you are, who you’re talking to, how you feel about them and your opinions about what’s being said or done to you by that person or person(s). Once you can do this easily, then you’re in the game.
You Can Take Direction
I know, I know, how can you tell if you can take direction if you’ve never auditioned? You can tell because you’re in a consistent on-going class where you’re honing your skills. You have a teacher who cares enough about your craft to direct your choices, guide you to stronger choices and tell you when you need to make better choices based on the story and your relationship.
Your Marketing Tools Are Up To Date
For me, marketing comes after you have some solid acting training under your belt. I’m not saying you have to graduate with a MFA, I’m saying it’s worth your time and money to work on your craft first and foremost, then get that marketing game plan in place!