To nail an on-camera audition, you need to act like you’re having an intimate conversation. The actors that usually get the roles are those who simply open their mouth to speak and then listen. Simplicity can be achieved by preparing in a way that actors are able to delve into themselves and the script that the actor and the character is merged into one.
These days, taped-auditions are becoming the trend, so it’s vital for every actor to learn how to act in a very personal and distinct way.
You need to do more than just act, you have to reach out to the audience past the camera, draw them into the story and character to make them feel they have to watch you through the end.
There are many actors who do their job in an unspecific way. They only act to the camera and do not target their viewers. Good actors are able to let their viewers feel that the acting is “real” and not just an acting. Acting that looks like an acting is a bad acting. It means those actors are not yet ready for the job.
Here are nine essential things you need to pay attention to to nail your next on-camera audition.
In film and television, pictures are more important than words. Before you talk, a story must be told first—not by dialogue but by the actor’s facial expressions. It should also be like that in auditions. Show your reactions, express it through your eyes and your face. It’s more a factor in getting booked than the way you deliver your lines. You have truly prepared for your audition when you are able to immerse yourself into the role. Feel the connection of the material you are reading and react to it.
2. Be still
It is also important to stay still in front of the camera when auditioning, but not to the point that you look as stiff as a log or as frozen as ice in the Arctic. There should be a proper coordination of your body. There is what actors call energized stillness. To feel the emotion of the moment, show it through your eyes before going through the acts.
3. Be aware of how you look like in front of the camera
Before you go to an audition, videotape yourself at home and watch the playback. Examine your every movement. Sometimes, even the smallest details and movements you do are magnified many times in the camera. Every arch of your eyebrows or bob of your head can attract attention on camera and divert the focus of the audience away from your face or the feelings you are supposed to evoke on them with your acting. Don’t be still either. Just look natural and be within the frame.
4. Know your lines by heart
It’s difficult to have a full personal grasp of the character, if you have not learned their words by your mouth and by your heart. It’s during the playback of your performance when the casting director makes his judgment if you really are prepared, confident, and is able to effectively deliver what is asked when the camera rolls.
It’s vital that you are able to show your ability to give strong and credible audition. You are not expected to be off-book the first time you read it, but if you are more familiar with the piece, you can focus better on what to do and how you do it to be on the character. Audition is not all about memorizing the lines. Just understand it by heart so you can focus more on your response.
5. Live in the moment
Don’t think about what you are going to do next when you are just about to do the current scene. If you do that, you will have a hard time making adjustment if the casting director asks you to. You have to be flexible. To achieve that, try familiarizing the gist of the story instead of just memorizing the lines. Thoughts allow you to create the idea you are going to convey. If you understand the links that allow you to connect from one thought to the next, your lines will flow easily.
6. Embrace your role
To embrace your role means to accept the character fully in your mind, body, and heart. Feel the character’s emotion, examine the color, the shape the texture of the emotions so that when you show it to the audience, they will see the character is real and not just a fictional one. They can explore the depths of the character’s emotion. That’s how great actors deliver, so perfect that sometimes we can’t see other actors play the role except that actor. To succeed in your audition, you need to be into this degree of emotional exploration so you can give off a strong impact.
7. Don’t act
Once the camera rolls, do not act. Instead, imagine the scenes like it is a real-life event, that it is really happening to you at the moment. That’s when your acting becomes natural, that you don’t feel like you are just acting. Listen first before you respond. Feel every scene and let it change you emotionally. Stay still yet alive when you are not talking. Your expression is often clearer than your words.
8. Create a moment before
Before you fire into action, condition yourself first. Use that short moment before the scene to absorb the character so you can place yourself into the needed state before you go into action. And once you are finished with your last line, don’t stop there. Until you hear the director say “Cut!” keep going. It’s important you continue your reaction even after the end of the scene. It could land you the role.
9. Don’t care
Don’t worry about getting the role. Don’t also try to impress the casting director because you cannot control them. Instead, use your energy to do what you have to do, what you can do. Do your best and be yourself, be confident.
Audition is more like a job interview. If you don’t get booked, tell yourself there will be more audition that will come your way. Sometimes, it’s advantageous to think of your audition as rehearsals. It is important that you have fun and be grateful for the opportunity to do what you love most—acting.