By Omoye Uzamere
We’ve been talking about auditions, from the angle of how an actor presents/projects himself or herself…
Our conduct is just as important as our performance and many times, when an actor doesn’t get a role or do well at the audition, it is rarely about their talent. Think about food. No matter how delicious or healthy the food is, what usually determines how it is received? Where it is prepared, how it’s prepared, and its appearance. It is all about your attitude, mindset, confidence and general presentation.
Shall we continue?
- Headshot. You have no idea how important this is! Rather than dropping a comment in the director’s timeline after he releases an audition notice, to ask him what a headshot is, GO ONLINE to read about headshots and how to get one. It is really simple. Get a photographer in your area. Wear a simple top, minimal (or no) makeup and take a picture of your head and shoulders. Project your personality in the picture, so that those casting can get a sense of who you are – your energy or essence as it were – from your face. Write your full name, email address and phone number behind the picture and take to EVERY AUDITION. Refresh the photos every six months.
- Appearance. How you dress to the audition can make or mar your audition. When you are given audition sides, dress like the character you’re reading for. Ditch the heavy makeup unless you’re reading for a drag queen and do not wear knee-high boots unless it is specified (hardly) or it’s your interpretation of the character you’re trying for. Otherwise, look simple, relaxed and flexible. You will feel more confident when you are comfortable and you give the people auditioning a blank canvas to imagine you with different looks or ‘mental filters’, as I call them. If you go there looking like a slay queen, you’re not dynamic – what if the role is for a recharge card seller?
- A monologue is one of the most important things to have always. Choose something that shows your range; moments where you express a wide variety of emotions – sad, happy, irritated, excited, fearful, angry, proud… Find monologues that show off your best sides and which you can deliver in under a minute. Those people on the other side of the room are (or have been) sitting all day, watching actors do it over and over again. It can get tiring. Your job is to make them want you in the shortest time possible. Learn different monologues that you can deliver, even in your sleep. Some of these castings can be very impromptu.
- Pack a snack. You usually have no idea where the audition might hold and whether you’ll have the opportunity to go out and grab a snack. Nothing is more irritating than looking for an actor who was told to wait, only to hear that he/she has gone to buy food (just my opinion). It’ll also ease whatever frustration sets in when the audition starts late or drags on longer than anticipated. These things do happen and though I wish it would stop, today, nothing has changed, so come prepared.
- Keep at it. In the absence of work opportunities, it is important to keep attending auditions. Just make sure that you show up with confidence, dignity and that you present solid performances each time. You will stay sharp (from the regular practice), and you’ll stand out as that actor who’s committed. As you make the rounds, these Directors and Producers are bound to remember you. It’s networking. You network with fellow actors, you stay in the loop with what’s going on in the industry and you’re (probably) just one step closer to the break you need.
I understand there are challenges and that discouragement can creep in, but as an old friend would say, “what is easy in this life?” You just wake up every day willing to fight for what you believe in, hoping that one day it’ll pay off… and when you demand your reward from the universe, you will be able to point at all your seeds in the ground.
Read also: #ActingOutLife: Audition Tips (Pt 1)
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