by Kimberly Jentzen
[REPRINTED FROM CASTING FRONTIER NEWSLETTER May 2018]
There is never enough time to be ready for an audition, especially when it’s the one you’ve been waiting for… the one you really want. When an audition comes, you usually have at most one day with the sides to be ready to prove you’re the right pick for the role.
There is a tangible reality, the more you do something the better you get at it.
The more you audition, the better you get at it. The reason being, you are practicing your preparation and discovering what connects and disconnects you to living in the moment. Some characters will be easier and some will be harder.
It’s important to work many kinds of scenes that challenge you. This way you stretch your skill set so you can grasp a range of abilities that support mastering your auditions. The more roles you feel you have rehearsed and worked, the more resources you have to pull from. Your preparation time will shorten the more you practice.
But the fact remains: You must be working on your acting skill prior to actually getting any audition. Being great is allowing yourself to be free to become the choice that will bring the character to life. And it’s up to you to discover it.
Knowing how to prepare for the audition is half the battle. Here are some steps for your preparation.
1) First breathe. Don’t overthink the sides when you first get them. First breathe, relax, and be.
2) Simply read the scene for what is on the page. Find out everything you can about the script. You’ll want to answer these simple questions:
- What genre is it: sitcom, film drama, procedural, etc.?
- Who are you?
- What’s the backstory, what just happened?
- Who are you talking to and what is the relationship?
- Where are you, what’s the environment?
These simple questions are important and will give you an understanding of the scene. If one or two aren’t evident it is up to you to take clues from the material to decipher its code. This is why being able to analyze a script is so important.
3) Get up and play with a moment before. Experience where the character is emotionally and look for any changes in the feelings of the character. Are they winning or losing their scene objective?
4) Remember to listen and never plan your reactions. Respond organically from listening and hearing in the moment to what they are saying and what it means to you in the scene.
5) Explore and play. Try different choices. Pick the strongest choice that reflects what is most meaningful within the truth of the script.
6) Eliminate any negative thinking, any doubt that you may have in yourself. Run with the love of the process of discovery.
7) See each audition as a learning experience and give yourself plenty of room in your heart to enjoy them. Know that growing as an artist comes with the journey of booking sometimes and not booking sometimes. It’s fun to act. Remember, every time you audition, you get to act!
Ultimately you book your dream role, as an actor, by preparing your whole life for it. You never know when it’s coming. It could be next year, in two years, many years down the line or even tomorrow.
Stay focused on what you want and don’t let the disappointments get the best of you. Oftentimes, auditions are opportunities to practice on the way to becoming the actor that makes an impact on the world.
For more on how to book the role and build your skill to achieve your artistic and career goals, get Kimberly’s book, Acting with Impact: Power Tools to Ignite the Actor’s Performance. Available at Samuel French Bookshop and at actingwithimpact.com.
Ready to take the next step and get into training? Click here to set up an interview!