Audition Scene Tips

Here are some audition scene tips to help you nail the acting auditions where you are asked to prepare acting scenes. A prepared scene is often required when you audition for movies and for theater callbacks, so it’s good to know what to expect and come prepared.

Here are a few audition tips to help you nail these acting auditions:

The more you prepare your audition scenes, the better you will do. Most acting schools will let you bring your audition material into scene study class, so take advantage of the opportunity to work on your acting scenes with a partner and acting coach.

Be off-book…
As much as possible, your audition sides should be memorized. This is what is expected of a professional actor, plus you want to concentrate on your acting during your audition, not on finding your place in the audition script.

…but hold on to your sides
Even if you never look down at your audition script once, holding it reminds the auditioners that this is just what you can do with a first read. Acting without your audition scenes in hand will make them feel they’re watching a fully rehearsed performance and they’ll be less impressed as a result.

Don’t make too much of a small role
If you’re a beginning actor, you’ll often be called in to audition for a TV co-star or a small role in a film or play where the audition sides will consist of one word to a few lines. Most of these roles are there to further the plot and making too much of them is a common mistake of beginning actors. Those actors who can say those lines simply and naturally without acting up a storm can easily get these small acting parts and quickly build their actor resumes.

Make sure you’re seen.
You want the people in charge of hiring to be able to see your face and the expression in your eyes as much as possible as you perform your audition scene. If the audition is taped, being seen by the camera should be your priority because it will most likely be viewed before the cut is made for acting callbacks. Most professional auditions will already be set up with the reader standing next to or a little behind the camera, but sometimes you will find that your reading partner is upstaging you or forcing the camera to only pick up your profile when you speak. If you’re being fully upstaged (i.e. you have to turn your back to your audience to talk to the other actor), consider stopping the scene and asking your audition partner if he or she can remain on the same plane as you. If you have to deliver a lot of your lines profile to connect with the other actor, use pauses to turn to the camera allowing for a good close-up.

This doesn’t mean breaking the 4th wall. Use your acting and auditioning technique skills. For example, if you’re doing a scene where you’re having a fight, look away (and therefore to the audience/camera) as you search for your next argument. Let the camera pick up a silent beat where the character’s wheels are turning. These moments can be gold and get you an acting callback!

Working with a reader

One of the hardest aspects of audition scenes, whether you’re at an audition for a movie or at a theater casting call, is adapting to the person you’re reading with. You may be reading with the casting director, a reader hired for acting auditions, or in some cases, another actor. Weather you have to do your audition scene reading opposite another actor, a reader or the casting director himself, you could have a fantastic partner who listens, responds and plays off you, or a terrible one who reads in a monotonous tone and never looks up once.

Here’s a few audition tips to not make your acting audition dependent on your partner:

  • Practice and prepare. Ask your rehearsal partner when you prepare for the audition to do the acting scenes many different ways. Also be ready in your mind to have a bad audition scene partner so that you won’t be thrown off if it happens. The worst thing that can happen is to let frustration ruin your acting.
  • Forget what you learned… If you went to acting school, you probably want to be in the moment as much as possible. Sometimes, moment-to-moment acting will still work with a non-responsive actor (for example, if your character is frustrated in the scene or failing to get through to someone in a conflict). A lot of the time, though, feeding off the other actor will not work for the audition scene you have. In that case, concentrate on the words. Listen carefully and respond to what is being said, not the way it is being said. This acting tip will prevent a bad reader from taking your audition in the wrong direction.
  • …but keep what you can. Even if you decide to concentrate on the lines and not respond to a bad acting partner, you should still create a relationship by really talking to them (rather then at them) and waiting for a response each time.

Need more help with your audition scenes for acting auditions or even entrance into acting schools? You can view more audition tips here.

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