Show business (in particular musical theatre) is a tough business to be in. Endless competition, nerves, and auditions, but if you do find your niche here, I have a few tips that will help you get through all of those nerve-wrecking auditions!
1. Fake it til’ you make it
I’ve found that this phrase has become my motto for almost every situation. I’ve always been quite a shy person, so I often try to ‘fake’ confidence and it really does make a difference. Confidence is such an important quality to have in show business and especially in auditions. If you can fake being relaxed in an audition, it’s much easier to warm to the casting team and you look like you know what you’re doing. A part of this ‘fake it til’ you make it’ motto, is body language. A smile and open gestures (i.e. no crossed arms or legs), shoulders back, and your head held high, makes such a big difference. Along the lines of faking it, I was told once by a choreographer during an audition workshop, that if you really can’t do a particular step, alter it slightly so you at least look like you can nail it. Usually they’ll be searching for people who have the potential to dance and if they can act while doing so. It is vitally important that you don’t forget to act while dancing or singing – become the character they want to see on stage
2. Don’t apologise for your performance
How often have you heard someone say “Sorry I’m sick today, I usually sound/dance/act better than this”? In my experience, this seems to be a fairly common occurrence in auditions. In the same audition workshop I mentioned above, the director mentioned that he finds it so irritating when people say that and he simply won’t hire you. There are no excuses in show business, so even if you are sick, cancel the audition or give it your best shot. The director made this very clear when he stated, “If you don’t back yourself, no one else will back you”.
3. Be prepared
Always be prepared for an audition! It’s about showing them your best work isn’t it? So get your backside into gear and make sure you’re prepared for anything they could throw at you. Read the audition details a million times if you have to. Learn you lines inside out. It’s as simple as that. Know the meaning and the context of what you’re singing or acting. Who is your character? What are their qualities? Who are they talking about or to? What is their relationship? Be prepared to be put on the spot (you may be asked questions about your performance or asked to show another piece, so make sure you have back up plans, such as a second song or monologue that’s appropriate for the audition).
4. Wear a block coloured t-shirt
This may sound like a strange tip, but wearing a block coloured t-shirt in an audition makes you memorable. Someone on the casting team may need a defining feature of you to point out to the rest of the team, and simply the colour of your shirt is helpful for this. They will probably refer to you as “that girl/guy on the right with the purple shirt”. Avoid wearing patterns or words on your clothing, as it can be distracting to the casting team. You want them to be watching at your dancing or listening to you, rather than trying to decipher what you t-shirt says.
5. Be aware: You are being judged from the moment you walk into the building
I know for a fact that a company I’ve worked with asks the receptionist if they met anyone who was rude or late. They will write down your name and ensure that you won’t get a role. Be happy, confident and friendly and you may even get a positive mention to the director.
6. Be punctual
We all know there’s nothing worse than making a bad first impression, especially to someone who may potentially be your employer. Being late simply gives the impression that you don’t care about the role and have little respect for the casting team. Remember that they’ve probably seen a sea of people before you and still have a lot of people left to see, therefore, they don’t have time to wait around for anyone.
7. Have fun!
Above all, make sure you do have fun! If you’re in the business or want to be, you have to love it and auditioning is a large part of that. Although it is nerve-wrecking, I’ve often found that once you start, you just enjoy the experience. If you have nerves, try to channel them into adrenaline to improve your performance even more, rather than hinder it. I find that it helps if I think that I’m just going into the audition room and showing them what I can do, and if that’s not good enough, it will be a great learning experience.
I wish you the best of luck and congratulate you for chasing your dreams!