For actors an audition is a job interview. Actors are not the only ones that audition. Performers of all kinds usually have to audition to get the job. Dancers, Singers, musicians, theatrical performers and voice over talent all have to audition before they get a job.
The audition process is one by which performers go in front of industry professionals and perform. The industry professionals, such as a casting director will audition performers and give call backs to the performers they liked. Out of the performers that are called back, a final decison will be made on who gets the job.
Audition Types: What is a cattle call
There are different kinds of auditions. Some auditions are by appointment and others are known as cattle calls. Auditions by appointment are usually scheduled by the actors agent and the actor is given a script to read or asked to do a monologue in front of casting directors. In a cattle call audition, actors do not have any set appointment time, they simply show up at a location at a certain time and given instructions once there. Many extras casting calls are done this way.
Sometimes auditions are filmed so casting directors can see how the actor appears on film. These types of auditions are also called screen tests and are used in film and television.
When choosing the right actor for the job, casting directors not only take the actor’s talent into account but also a “type”. An actors “type” depends on the actors looks, personality and other factors a casting director may be looking for.
The cold reading
Sometimes, during the audition process an actor may be asked to do a cold reading. A cold reading is basically the actor having to read a script that they are not familiar with. Most actors already have an arsenal of acting monologues and acting scenes that they have practiced and rehearsed. Most casting directors will inform the actor beforehand as to whether to pick a monologue of their own or be ready to do a cold reading.
If asked to do a cold reading, you may ask the casting director for a couple minutes to read through the script. If the casting is very busy and time very limited, you may not get the few minutes to read the script.
During the audition process the actor or performer is also being evaluated on personality and how easy it will be to work with the actor. For this reason, it is very important for actors to take direction well and be as professional as possible during the entire process.
For actors going on an audition, it is very important to make sure you warm up first and come completely prepared. Most auditions have a strict time limit and actors need to stay within their time limit.
If auditions for a musical or anything that involves singing, be sure to bring the proper sheet music for the song you will be doing. Most auditions for singers will not be a Capella and an accompanist will be provided. Before doing your song, you will hand the sheet music to the accompanist. You may also need to give the accompanist the tempo for your piece.
Remember, an audition is a job interview and you have very little time to impress. Make sure that you are dressed well and give a polished and professional appearance. Do not go over your time limit.
Headshots and Resumes
No matter what type of audition you are going to, you must always bring a 8 x 10 headshot and resume with you. You will hand the headshot and resume to the casting director and the headshot will not be returned. Once auditions are over, casting directors will look through the headshots and use them to recollect the actor and performance. For this reason, it is important to have great headshots and a good resume that lists previous work and training. If you do not have any experience you may want to look into getting into a good acting school.
Actors should bring additional copies of the headshot and resume, in case there are additional members of the casting team present at the audition or in case the casting director needs to send a copy to another casting director. There are many sample acting resumes that an actor can look at online
Once the audition is done, you should politely thank the casting directors and leave. Do not try to hang out to size up the competition or chit chat. That may be seen as unprofessional behavior.
After the initial audition, many times there will be a secondary audition that the actor needs to go to. These are called call backs and an actor may be called back days, or even months later.