Saturday, September 26, 2009


This year I’m teaching a Jr. High and High school theatre class at a home school co-op. Every actor must do them… quite a few times in their life. I’ve had my share of them, and, like most other actors, both hate em and love em. I mean, they can’t be all bad; it’s a job opportunity. But…
Two or three people, watching you…. and you only. And not only watching, but judging! The pressure, the nerves, and, if you don’t get the part, or even a callback, you feel like a complete and other failure.!

Which is why I had fun yesterday auditioning other people. ;) Lol, just kidding. If any of my theatre peoples are reading, love you guys! Since I know the pressure, I try and not to make my auditions scary. (And I was also glad it wasn’t me auditioning for once!) So I’d figured it was a good topic to blog about.

No matter what side of the table you’re on, it’s a hard thing. It’s usually three minutes and just a few lines to determine what part you should have. Thankfully, for my peoples, they are guaranteed a part by being in the class, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a part they want, or their first choice. Also, it’s just a few minutes to try and judge the person’s character, not just the one they’re acting. If you’re gonna be working with them closely on a project, you try to see if this person has a good attitude.

Now, no matter if you’re working on a film or theatre project, this rule always follows. No matter how good of a story you have, the whole of the project rests on the cast. Sitcoms, for example, are usually incredibly silly writing and plots, yet, some are incredibly funny due to the actor playing the part. That’s why auditions are important, you need to see how a person would do in that part.

Unfortunately, there’s so little time to see each person, or sometimes, you need to cast right then. (big budget movies sometimes spend a year in casting, lucky them.) So, below, I have reminders and tips for both actors and directors about how to have a good, fun, but productive audition. This is especially written for people who know each other closely. Since if you’re an independent filmmaker like me, you usually cast your friends and family, and if things go wrong, you really don’t want those to ruin relationships.


Always expect to wait. Auditions ALWAYS run over time, even if these are the most organized people in the world.

When it’s getting close to your turn, start getting in character, if you know your auditioning for a certain part. That does NOT mean come into the room in character…WHICH YOU SHOULD NEVER DO!

We want to see who YOU are. Who knows, maybe we’ll see the perfect part for you based on your natural personality. Also remember, the people auditioning you are only judging your acting skills, for certain parts, not you. (Unless you go in and act unprofessional or insulting, of course, then don’t expect them to ever call you back for anything.)

You may be a fantastic actor, but, if you’re a 6 foot tall basketball player, there’s no way I’m putting you as one of the seven dwarves. Don’t forget, the audition is not about you at all, it’s finding the right person to play a specific character.

Be prepared for anything. One of my favorite auditing others moments was when I was casting Bubblegum Love. All these girls kept coming in, and I would have them place their foot on the floor, and try their hardest to get out of the imaginary gum I said was there. They were not expecting to do anything like that at all.

Remember when you act, you’re just playing. When we were little, we all played cowboys and Indians, or spaceman, or knights, or princesses… this is no different. Cept, a little more professional and better acting of course. ;)

Once again, point of auditioning, is to get cast for a part in a story. Everyone should want the best people for the job, and it may or may not be you. If you are good friends with the director, don’t expect to get a part just because of that, also don’t expect to not get a part because of that. As a friend or acquaintance, you want their project to turn out good, so if you don’t get the part, don’t hold it against them.

Always say thank you. It’s a privilege to be here.

Most of all, have fun, if you like acting, then play with it and be a good sport. :)


Yes some of these are your dear friends and family members, but your project is what this whole shindig is about. Love your friends and family, but remember to treat this as a professional project. You want to cast the right people, to make the overall thing a success.

Try not to scare the auditioners. I know its fun being in control, but be nice. They already nervous enough. ;)

You will run late. Don’t rush people because of it though. They have worked hard preparing for your two minutes, so let them have the time they need to read the part.

Remember, they are sensitive creatures, so make sure your words are gracious and when you give direction, don’t make it seem like they’re doing it wrong. They don’t know what you want from them, so have a good attitude and have fun watching their talent.

If you know right away you don’t want them for the part, let them finish the audition. It’s a common courtesy, and it gives you a chance to just watch them as possible actors for you or anyone else.

Always tell them thank you for coming.

Follow up with a note or email if they are not cast, and if they are cast, call them back right away to let them know. For those not cast, be encouraging. Even if you don’t need them right now for this project, who knows what they could be used for in the future.

Most of all, even though you are under stress, have fun and enjoy the auditions. :)

Wow, two posts in one week! lol, that a record for me. Next post, some news about my personal life. For the few people reading, God Bless and talk to you soon.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Mackenzie! Came upon your blog through Jacob Parker's, and am loving what I'm :D
    Oh, I know! Auditioning is HORRIBLE! I end up stammering, forgetting my lines, floundering here in there up to my eyeballs in embarrassment. Rarely, though, I actually do good. :]