Auditions, castings, workshops – they’re never the same and they are all a bit odd.
Auditions are a necessary evil of the acting profession. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who really enjoys auditions but we all rejoice when we get them and despair when we don’t.
For the uninitiated, I’ll describe the different types
A fairly standard audition
You have the script in advance, you read it, you prepare your part. At the audition, you perform the scenes you were asked to practice in advance and possibly read from another part of the script, which because you are well prepared, you are already familiar with.
“Bring a monologue” auditions
Variety of reasons for these. If it’s a Shakespeare play, they may want to see your grasp of the Bard as many people are not strong sight readers, especially with Shakespeare. For other works, a monologue is seen alongside a script reading and can provide a bit of variety for the director. Sometimes the script isn’t finished. Sometimes, they don’t know what the hell they want so panic and ask you to bring a monologue.
These can be the most fun or the least fun kind of auditions.
Best case scenario, you play some non-awkward games, sit in a circle and perform your monologue and everyone claps, you might do a structured improvisation, everyone is nice and throws themselves into it. You leave the room feeling enriched and having swapped Twitter handles with half the group.
Worst case scenario, you have to play name games with 25 people you’ve never met, get up close and personal with someone with BO or everyone else in the room seems to know each other and so you feel ostracized from the get go.
Often quite fun, totally unpredictable and fairly baffling.
You often don’t know the brand you’re going in for so it can be a bit of surprise when you get there, the casting breakdown will say “well known high street bank” or “soft drink” for example. You always have to fill in a form, always. If there is a script, you rarely get it before arriving at the casting location so speed reading and practising some reactions in the corner are necessary. Once inside the room, there are rarely less than 7 people. Sometimes you’re introduced to everyone by name, sometimes you have no idea who anyone is, or why they are there. As well as the director, casting director and camera operator there is usually someone on a laptop paying zero attention to anything that’s happening, someone who looks bored and someone who looks incredibly anxious. The room is usually far too small for the number of people and someone will comment on the temperature. There are usually discarded Pret or Starbucks containers covering every surface not already obscured by a Mac.
Exactly like A Chorus Line but without the opportunity to tell your life story
They like you, but they’re not sure how much.
Being “pencilled” or “optioned”
They really like you but a big boss somewhere needs to decide who they like the best.
They really, really like you but they’re still keeping their options open
Release all pencils
You didn’t get it
You hear nothing
You didn’t get it
Auditions are stressful, high stakes situations for both the casting team and the actor. The thing to remember is that everyone in the room wants you to be the one. You, the actor, want the job and the casting director wants you to be right as then their work is done.
There are also many reasons why you won’t get a job, all of them out of your control – see this article in BACKSTAGE So all you can do is prepare and do your best and then forget about it as soon as you leave the room.