Audition Etiquette

Audition Etiquette
A Sunday morning musing...

after discussions of the audition process from both sides of the table!

 Those of us who have been on both sides of the table realize the craft that must be there - on BOTH sides of the table - to make auditioning and  casting a success, however, there are a few things that come up time and time again about the etiquette of auditioning that I wanted to share today.

One's place in the business is EARNED, it is not assumed nor entitled.  No one is going to give you a chance just because.  Earning your place means recognizing where you are and beginning there and doing whatever it takes to build craft and experience.  

Building your resume does not mean big roles and credits! It means finding projects to participate in that are meaningful to develop your place.  It means taking classes and working on repertoire so you have a sense of yourself and those teachers have a sense of you too and can recommend you unhesitatingly. Sometimes an actor has very little on his/her resume but studies with a reputable teacher and that teacher's name can mean something positive to a casting director!

Remember, the audition begins BEFORE you get into the audition room!  As soon as you walk into the building people are watching you carefully.  The spies are everywhere and will report back to the people who are in charge. Sometimes the most important part of your audition happens while you are waiting your turn.  Decide how you want to be seen - and recognize you are "on" more often than you realize.  Your behavior and attitude OUTSIDE the audition space is being watched just as carefully as it is INSIDE the room.  In fact, by the time you get into the room, you may have been dismissed.  EARN that time, don't throw it away!

If you are emailing for information about an audition - once is plenty.  Unless you don't get the information and you simply follow-up.  Don't try to change the policy of the audition.  The company sets the policy, you do not.  Don't challenge it - you haven't earned that either.  When you are on the other side of the table, you call the shots. When you don't - you follow the company line.  Send your note of request with grace and respect - you are not emailing a friend, you are trying to get a job - make it simple and respectful.  If you expected an appointment and find out it's an open call, don't whine or ask why, suck it up and go to the call!  If you can't make a call or an appointed time, do not expect someone is going to change their audition schedule for you! You are not entitled that - you have not earned that. Business is business. 

A simple thank you follow-up email/note/card is all that is required after an audition.  It keeps your name alive in the minds of the audition panel.  Again, it is not up to you, nor have you earned the right to begin to tell the casting people what didn't go well, what they could do better etc etc.  Yes, I've seen it - too many times!

Leave the attitude at home. Or at least outside the building.  If you call yourself an actor - BE one!!! ACT the part if you have to - but nobody wants attitude at an audition. We want to see a sense of willingness to try, a sense of self, a sense of realization in the process.  We don't want to see or get 'tude.  That shuts the process down faster than anything!  Be prepared to walk in and work to  get that job!!!  You haven't EARNED that job yet - go get it!! If you don't think you need to earn your place, you are most definitely in the wrong business.

KNOW YOUR TYPE.  Or at least the types you TRULY can play.  Sometimes this is the most difficult of all.  We cannot all be the leading man/leading lady or the femme fatale or the villain.  Plays and shows aren't  written like that.  As in the life, there are MANY characters that create a story and we NEED THEM ALL.  It's okay to be the quirky fat girl type, or the geeky computer guy type, or the plain jane type.  Why? Because they are REAL CHARACTERS!!!!!! Get real, be real - as hard as it is sometimes.  You have to find the REALITY of what you can play and then claim it fully.  

Ultimately, know you are being watched very carefully - even though it may seem you are not. How do you want to be seen? In and out of the audition room? via email? by phone? How do you want people to perceive you? MAKE THAT DECISION and WORK FOR IT - EARN IT! And then your audition will become more positive - and even if you don't book that job, you are letting casting people get to know what you are about.  Make them WANT to hire you for something, if not now, SOON.  

None of us are entitled to anything - we must EARN our place.  It's work - it's not handed to us. So, go out and GET IT! 

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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