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An acting audition is the first step in the process of being part of a film, TV series or theatre play for an actor. Even after taking a professional acting course at BJAS, new actors often get a case of nerves before an audition. Often this is a result of lack of preparation. At BJAS, we have audition modules which help students with preparing for auditions.

Here are some tips for acing that all-important audition:

  • You must read the script fully, if possible. You may be asked your opinion of the script or the character development. Sometimes you can check out the source material, if it is a book, a play, a comic, or a film remake. If you are asked about the project, be positive.
  • At BJAS, even for short scenes we encourage actors to consider the character arc. What has happened to your character up until this point? What is your relationship with any other characters in the scene with you? What do you want from those other characters? How has your character changed by the end of the scene?
  • It sounds obvious, but you must make sure that you know your lines completely. Try testing yourself during daily tasks like washing dishes or making your bed. If you stumble then you’re not there yet. Being confident in knowing the lines will allow you to show the character.
  • Assume the casting director thinks that you may have the right kind of look for the part and fit the description of the character. Go into the room giving “as the character” in in your clothes, hair and make up if necessary. Keep it simple, though–don’t attempt regional accents and physical complications.
  • If you’re asked to repeat the performance, but in a way that the director sees it, don’t worry, and don’t hesitate. It’s another opportunity for you to show that you work with a director, and that you’re flexible, and talented.
  • Auditioning is bound to make you feel nervous. Remember that the casting director wants you to do well. They want you to get the part. We think a lot of the time that we are being judged, instead see it as the casting director allowing, supporting and encouraging you to do your work.

Here are some comments from an Reddit thread – these are replies to a new actor asking what to do about nervousness…

  • Juilliard alum here. Know your audition like the back of your hand. Keep calm and go through the motions. Realize that the people watching you want you to do well and succeed. Yes, they’re judging pretty intensely but they really do want you to do well. Stay hydrated and keep your head up!
  • Listening to calming music stretching while taking deep breaths. You can only do your best, you’ve got this!!
  • One thing that helps me is to imagine someone who really calms me down (someone like a boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, mother, your dog) standing right next to you. Imagine what they would say, how they would tease you or cheer you on.
  • Make sure you eat something, I promise it makes a difference. Get some carbs in. Car can’t run without oil or gas, body can’t run without fuel.
  • Those people are just humans… ignore them, they aren’t even there…you know what you’re doing for your audition, imagine the one person on the planet who thinks there is never anything you do wrong is watching, just stand there and give that person a show…
  • I also turn out a dance song and dance and shake before, which helps with nerves for sure! Also, remembering that you really only have things to gain and you GET to act today (that’s great)
  • Remember they want you to succeed. They are not assholes that want you too fail in your life, they are looking for people who are prepared and willing to be taught.