The Audition

1 Nov

Every actor anxiously awaits the email/call from our representation telling us we have an audition. We print the sides, go watch an episode (or 3), then study the lines till our eyes hurt. If we’re lucky we get 2 days to prepare. More often than not we get a day, well, more like a night…and maybe a morning if we don’t have work. And every now and then you get the same-day audition notice. (Those are the ones that you hope you have a flexible job.)

waiting by the phone

As I stated in my recent post about my first TV co-star, there are six different roles you can be cast in for TV: series regular, recurring guest star, guest star, recurring co-star, co-star, or extra. (There is also a term called Under 5, which means the role has less than 5 lines.) For film you can be lead/principal, supporting, featured or an extra. Depending on what role you’re going out for depends on how many pages you are given as sides. I’ve had everything from just reactions (which I was cast in for “Masters of Sex”), to one or two lines to three pages of dialogue. I’ve had anywhere from five hours of prep to five days!

audition sides

What typical audition sides look like.

After we’ve done all the prep work we can, including picking out just the right outfit, and figuring out where the casting office is (especially when it’s our first time there), we fight traffic (and yes, there is always traffic in Los Angeles so don’t use it as an excuse), then spend another 10 minutes (or more) trying to park so we don’t get a ticket if it’s on the street. If we’re lucky we get to park in a designated lot. Hopefully the office itself isn’t too hard to find, but it’s one reason you give yourself a little extra time. I went to an audition just the other day and the security guard gave me directions, but they ended up being wrong. Fortunately I was only lost for about 2 minutes, lol.

actor sign in sheetWe sign in to the audition, then wait patiently for our name to be called. We look around the room of other actors that look eerily like ourselves and try to concentrate on our own prep work. Or it’s a room of people who look 180 degrees different from us and we fight back the voice in our head saying, “You’re not going to get this, you’re not what they’re looking for obviously.” Even if you’re the only skinny, short blonde in a room full of tall brunettes, you still go in and do your best work because casting called you in and wants to see YOU. You were chosen out of over 1000 actors (depending on the role, it could be many, many more) to read, so take advantage of the opportunity to ACT and be seen by casting.

Once the audition is done, we leave, going through every second of the audition in our head. Wondering if we did a good job, thinking we should have said something a different way, or kicking ourselves for flubbing a line. Then we have to do the hardest thing ever: forget all about the audition. Dwelling on auditions will only make actors go more crazy than we already are. We can’t go back and change anything we did, nor will thinking about it all day magically make us get the part. So we allow ourselves a few minutes to think about it and then have to forget all about it. We go running, go back to our day jobs, work on other projects, anything to get our minds away from the audition. If we book it-great! If not, oh well, we got to act for a few minutes out of the day and we should be excited for that.

Actor Audition Sign

So if your actor friends don’t want to talk about their auditions, don’t take it personally, they’re just trying to get ready for the next one. And now you know a little bit of what an actor goes through for a first audition.

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