Now that I believe you can spot a professional audition; let’s dive fully into today’s serving, which is what to do BEFORE the audition itself – before you walk into that room where you will face the camera and the panel of judges which might include casting director(s), producer(s), and sometimes the movie director. Remember, the only thing you are going to do in that room is to make a positive impression on the panel and you might not have more than 2 minutes to do that; sometimes less. So what do you do before you go in and rake in all the “YESES” from the panel of judges?
1. Get some training
No matter how little, get some professional training before you start attending any audition for acting or presentation. Know the difference between acting for stage and for television; know what they look for in a TV presenter. I mentioned in my last article that acting or presentation is as much art as it is a talent. While I believe some people are naturals, a lot of people can still train to become better. So, go to a school, watch a YouTube video, get some tutorials, whatever you want to do and however you want to do it, make sure you get some training so you won’t go for the audition and look like a joke in front of the panel.
2. Look in the right place
As unbelievable as this might sound, a lot of people who want to become actors, don’t know where to look for auditions. A good number of them still rely on those black and white posters on PHCN poles screaming “ACTORS NEEDED FOR NEW TV SERIES”. My dear, if you are one of these people, you are not ready to attend professional auditions; you are just looking for people that will scam you or pay you N2000 for your acting role at best.
This is 2015; serious production houses now call for auditions on mainstream media and on social media. While established actors/presenters get called for auditions on their phones, you as a “wannabe” have to know the right place to look and on time too. I hear lots of young people tell me they are not on any social media network – not even Twitter – and yet they want to know what is going on around them before anyone else. I have seen professional audition-calls on Facebook and on Twitter and I didn’t get to see same on TV or maybe I just couldn’t catch them because of electricity or because I wasn’t home when the ad ran. So, first thing is for you to look in the right place for the right kind of audition.
3. Rehearse; prepare
For a professional audition, you will always get a script 1 – 3 days before the audition date. At worst, one would be given to you right at the audition venue; but since you’ve had some training, you should be able to memorize and internalize a few lines before you go in to face the panel. But if you get your script days before the audition, then you have enough time to rehearse. Rehearse in front of your mirror, in the kitchen, in the bath, with your siblings, your friends, just anywhere but not while crossing an express road though; ensure the lines become part of you before you step into that room, because you are expected to act the lines and not just read them. Remember, you are auditioning to act in a play or present to a TV audience and not just to look cute.
4. Always have a photo
I spoke about headshots in the last article. The standard size is 8×10 inches, but here in Nigeria, a 5×7 inches photo can also work. I have seen people come to auditions with a passport photograph, my dear that’s no headshot. And a bad headshot can actually limit your chances of getting picked especially if the person doing the eventual sorting was not sitting in the room when you auditioned.
Quick tips for a good headshot: Make sure it looks like you; don’t airbrush yourself out of the photograph. Note that it’s more than just a shot of your head, forget the fact that it is called a headshot. Also its advisable to go portrait and not landscape, let it be full colour and not black and white, and stay away from cheesy angles and poses.
5. Study the character bible
This is for actors. A “Character Bible” is a document that gives you background information into the character(s) you will be auditioning for. It contains the age, sex, attitude, physical description and personality of the character. Sometimes, production houses let you choose the character you think you would fit into perfectly, so it is important you read this character bible (when available), so you won’t be rehearsing for the role of a 55-year-old chief, when you are just a 25-year-old man. No matter how good you are or think you are; the panel will not take you seriously if you don’t look like the character described in the character bible where one is provided.
Character Bible will also help you in choosing how to dress and look for the role you are auditioning for; if the character bible talks about the lead character as “A man in his 40’s, suave, smart and distinguished-looking. He comes from a middle-class upbringing. He dresses for comfort and practicality rather than fashion.” You better look for someone who has a good dress sense to tell you how to dress and look the part so you don’t turn up looking like a wannabe rapper.
6. Arrive early
I often drum this into peoples’ ears at auditions. The audition call says “Audition starts from 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.” Some will stroll in at 4:30 pm and when you tell them they can no longer be auditioned, they go “Bros, but they announced the audition ends at 5 pm, it’s not 5 pm yet”. Audition closing time means when everyone must have been auditioned, so audition coordinators sometimes close the list some hours before the closing time slated for the audition so that everyone on the list can get auditioned before the closing time of 5 p.m. as announced.
Also, I would have loved to tell you everyone will be judged same way and with same parameters, but the reality is the judges are human, they get tired. Especially after watching countless auditions that were less than inspiring or memorable. So, in order to make the best impression, make every effort to come earlier. Not only are the judges fresher and more alert, there are also fewer auditions for them to compare you to.
So, I want to believe you will put all these into practice and also get to your next audition venue earlier than you used to. Next time, I will tell you about what to do once you are at the audition venue and when you eventually get called in.
Photo Credit: funtaqa.wordpress.com