So, You Are the New Face in the Audition Room
It is time. It simultaneously feels too early and like it took an eternity. The truth is you might never feel fully ready, but it is time. You’re the new face in the audition room and are showing up for the first time, resume in hand. Newcomers ready-to-risk-it-all energy and seasoned professionals’ grounded, assured vibes intertwine to create this unique and peculiar nervousness. Some want it badly, others think they are more deserving, and there are carefree spirits who showed up for the love of the game. Regardless of this being your first or three-hundredth audition, the same question remains: are you the right one?
Be prepared. As prepared as possible. Prepared and yet open to everything taking an unexpected turn.
Creation rhymes with collaboration, which is why showing openness and a willingness to be guided and part of a team is a must In the case of an existing show with tangible material, go over it to the point that nothing can distract you from the fact that you know these lines or steps. Familiarize yourself with them as much as you can without over-rehearsing. A prepared artist can still go back and adjust if given a note. You can’t predict what’s going to happen in the room, but knowing as much as possible before stepping into it will be tremendously helpful and make the experience slightly less nerve-wracking.
There is something both enthusiastic and terrifying about taking control of your career. Up until recently, you were being taught what to do and told when to go. There is still plenty to learn in spite of teachers and coaches having vanished. Therefore, let go of the control once you’ve entered. They will decide what they want you to sing, dance, or act. They and they alone will decide whether or not you get the part. Let them take the lead and show you the way. Such an attitude does not mean precisely following the way laid out, rather knowing what are the right words and the appropriate time to suggest going left instead of right.
Rather than being embarrassed by your lack of show credits and short resume, use this freshness to your advantage. Instead of trying to replicate what others have done before, be the new face, this fresh mind. Believe in yourself, in being perfect at who you are rather than failing at imitating someone else.
Be honest and show humility. Acknowledging nervousness or that what you’ve done wasn’t your best delivery can pay off. Taking that deep breath or additional moment to reflect on what was asked could upset them but make you nail it even harder. This time is yours and you are entitled to using it fully until they call for who’s next.
Every casting director has heard a soprano, seen a double pirouette and its share of back flips. Any talented individual can learn specific skills with time and devotion. Just like other candidates might perform the song you’ve prepared, you’ll learn and show the exact same combination as ten, twenty, or fifty other dancers. Rather than focusing on others’ delivery and on whether the creative team is drawn to it, try and find the balance between the original material and making it your own. A successful audition ain’t about being better than others but showing your very best.
A successful audition ain’t about being better than others but showing your very best.
You can only live this dat once. Hence, embrace the opportunity you’ve been given. Enjoy the whole process instead of solely focusing on audition day. Being curious and researching a show’s team and company’s history can help to familiarize yourself with the world you’re about to step in. Such knowledge can make you feel as if you already knew the people watching and reduce the awkwardness of performing for strangers.
Again, be prepared. New creation or revival, the recipe remains the same: search the part, the show, the company, and see how you fit in there. Reflecting on how you interpret and relate to the whole can highlight what you could bring to it.
Managing your time and energy leading up to audition day is as important as the event itself. Spreading the process to make it a gradual, steady climb, will help to make it a smooth and natural one. If there are lines or steps to memorize, the sooner the better. Getting them physically and mentally imprinted allows for time to be spent on personalizing them. Print what you can, read it through several times and have a look at it from time to time. Listen to the music you’ll perform on or the song you’ll sing on a daily basis to get all the subtleties and nuances that are yours to play with.
Be aware of what you need both physically and psychologically on audition day. Show up early if you’d like time to ground yourself in the room and feel it out. Without showing up exactly on call time, allow yourself to do most of your preparation at home if a neutral, familiar space is best to get in the right state of mind. Either way, it goes back to this golden rule: be prepared. There really is no better way to do so, only what’s best for you.
Know that you are being watched at all times from the moment you step into the room, that the energy you display, and how you interact with others can influence a director as much as your performance. There is no need to become everyone’s best friend, but acknowledging and being open to those around never hurts. Especially since you could end up sharing the stage and a dressing room with some!
Lastly, be trustful and be truthful.
Trustful to what’s on the page and what’s being asked. Most importantly, trust yourself as that is all you can be and the reason why you were called in. Be truthful to who you are. Give it your very best to be proud of what you’ve done on a given day with a given task. Give it your very best to enjoy the process, and to top yourself, regardless of the outcome.
Remember that an audition is as much about selling “it” as selling yourself. So what if you’re the new face in the room? Everyone once was!