Acting Tryouts – an Acting Audition Guide

Acting tryouts (the “acting audition”) are the big road blocks that stand between a beginning actor and the roles he or she wants. Here you’ll find help on where to find casting calls and get noticed when you submit your headshot and resume, plus tons of audition tips on how to nail theater, TV and movie auditions.

First, let’s take a look at how the acting casting process works.

  1. A director or producer of a play or a movie will hire a casting director to find actors for the acting roles in their projects.
  2. Casting directors will then write a breakdown of the acting roles available. This usually includes the size of the role (lead, supporting, etc.), the character’s age range, physical and psychological characteristics, plus a short bio and their role in the story. Special skills or special strengths to play the part are also included (like the ability to speak a language or cry on cue, for example).
  3. When an actor fits the role, actor headshots and resumes are submitted to the casting calls. Casting directors review the submissions and pick several actors to audition for each part. Acting tryouts are scheduled.
  4. The initial acting tryouts are usually followed by callbacks.

And then… The phone rings!

The actor’s has booked the role. The fun part of being an actor begins.

So let’s get started…

1st STOP – How to find Acting Auditions

2nd STOP – How to submit to casting calls

3rd STOP – How to schedule the Audition

4th STOP – How to nail the audition

OK, so there’s no way to guarantee you’ll get the part, but these casting audition tips will help you have a successful acting tryout and raise your chances of getting called back. Also read audition scene tips and tips for cold readings to prepare for these different castings.

If you have a film audition coming up, review our movie auditions tips.

If it’s TV commercials you’re interested in, here’s some information on how to audition for commercialsand how to get commercial auditions.

If you’ll be auditioning with a monologue, make sure to also read these audition monologues tips for acting tryouts.

Once you get a callback audition, see these audition callback tips for acting tryouts.

5th STOP – What happens after the audition

Whether you feel your acting tryout went well or not, the couple of days or week after an important audition can be nerve-wracking.

You just walked out of the audition room… Take a few moments to go over your acting audition:

  • Note anything that went well and things you need to work on.
  • Write down any notes you got from the casting director, director or producer. These notes will come in handy if you get a callback.
  • Make a note to call your acting agent the next day to get any feedback they received from the casting director.
  • Keep a written record of your audition with information on the project and character you auditioned for, as well as the name of the casting director and anyone else present in the audition room. This is very useful for updates to agents and thank you notes to casting directors. To find out more about keeping an actor logbook, click here.

And now…

audition tipStop!

The best thing you can do after an audition is forget all about it. Spending hours or days double-guessing yourself or waiting for the phone to ring is counterproductive and not good for your self-confidence. Go over your acting audition once and start looking for the next casting call.

What happens now? One of 3 things:

  1. You book the acting job!
    All you need to do is jump up in the air a few times and work out the details with the casting director. You’ll be getting a lot of information (salary, rehearsal schedule, performance or shoot dates for movie auditions, fittings, etc.) so make sure you’re ready to jot it all down.
  2. You get a callback.
    This means you made it past the first round of auditions. A lot of things may be different at the acting callback, so make sure you ask all the same questions you asked for your initial audition. If you used audition monologues previously, you may now need to prepare audition scenes from the script. Most of the time, the producer and director will be at the callback. Click here for tips on acting callbacks.
  3. Nothing happens.
    It’s frustrating, but most of the time, if you don’t book an acting job, you’ll never know why. When an auditioner tells you, “We’ll let you know by Thursday”, it usually means, “If you don’t get a call by Thursday, you haven’t booked the job.” There are so many factors that go into why an actor doesn’t get a job. So many are out of your control. It could be something as simple as they decided to go with a brunette and you’re a blond, or a name actor is interested in the role, or you’re not what the writer envisioned. Whatever the case may be, if you gave a good audition, you will get a call for the next acting role that’s right for you, and that’s what really matters, building a career.


acting tryout tipWhether your acting tryout lands you a job or not, send an actor postcard to the casting director a few weeks after your casting audition. This quick thank you note will keep you fresh in the casting director’s mind and give you an opportunity to update them on any recent jobs you got or class you took. Also send follow-up postcards to any casting director you meet through a workshop or acting class.

What’s next?

If you’re booking jobs through acting tryouts, click here for ideas on how to snowball your acting successes into a long-term acting career.

Questions about Acting Tryouts?
Get answers here!

If you have a question about acting tryouts or auditioning technique, this is the place to get an answer. Just fill out the form below to create an actor help page dedicated to your question. You will receive an e-mail as soon as your question is answered. Before filling out the form, check out the questions other visitors have asked at the bottom of this page, along with answers provided.