The Dos and Don’ts of Audition Etiquette
No matter where you are in your acting journey, auditions are an unavoidable and essential part of achieving success.
Auditions present a fantastic opportunity to showcase your talents and secure employment, without them, your career simply cannot flourish.
With casting directors and producers carefully evaluating and judging every candidate closely, you must make the best possible impression during auditions.
Far from being solely tied to your performance, your audition etiquette will also come into play.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the dos and don’ts of audition etiquette and why paying close attention to these can help you succeed.
What Is Audition Etiquette?
Audition etiquette refers to your behaviour and presentation when attending an audition.
It outlines what is considered polite and professional while also offering guidance on what is expected of you during auditions.
Demonstrating proper etiquette at an audition indicates respect for the directors and/or producers involved as well as demonstrating a commitment and desire to succeed.
Why Does It Matter?
Quite simply, poor etiquette can keep you from securing roles and progressing in your acting career.
Every actor should take the time to consider what constitutes proper audition etiquette and implement habits towards achieving this. This ensures you are aware of the rights and feelings of others and behaving in a way that respects this.
Remember, no director or producer wants a difficult or disruptive actor on set, no matter how great an actor they may be.
By displaying proper audition etiquette you are presenting the best version of yourself and making the best possible impression.
This makes you a more appealing prospect for a role based on both your acting skills and your conduct.
Tips For Auditioning
So what does this look like in practice? Below we have outlined the key guidelines for proper audition etiquette so you can master your next audition with ease.
Just as with any job or engagement you commit to, arriving early to an audition makes it clear that you are reliable, responsible and value the opportunity it represents.
It also ensures you arrive cool, calm and collected with plenty of time to go over your audition material and gauge the competition.
For every audition you attend, you must take the time to research the production, character and audition requirements in advance.
This allows you to come fully prepared with any requested materials such as your CV, headshots, props or similar. Most beneficially, it ensures you arrive ready to deliver the best possible performance.
Auditions can involve a lot of waiting, it’s important to not let this rattle or frustrate you as this could impact your audition.
If you have already memorised your lines, it can be helpful to read or find another way to distract yourself while waiting. Not only will the time pass quicker, but you’re less likely to have wound yourself up with all the possible ‘what ifs?’
When attending an audition, your clothing should be clean, fresh and professional as this demonstrates that you take the audition seriously.
Character dressing is not essential for auditions, but it can be wise to dress in a way that reflects the character you’re auditioning for.
Try to opt for clothing that allows you to move freely, and that you are comfortable in. You need to be able to focus on your audition, not on whether your top is slipping down or your pants are too tight.
It can be helpful to also wear a bright solid colour rather than neutrals as this makes you more memorable.
Once you are called in to audition, put everything else out of your mind. Stay in character as much as possible and focus only on your performance.
Glancing around the room, fidgeting and becoming distracted can detract from your delivery and cause doubts as to your abilities.
Following your audition, always take the time to thank each person in the room for their time and the opportunity to audition for them.
It is also recommended to follow up with a thank you note or brief email in the days following. This works in two ways – it shows utmost politeness while also keeping you on the casting director’s radar.
Rushing into an audition out of breath, stressed and sweaty is never a good look. It shows a lack of respect for those hosting the audition, and your peers who are also auditioning and makes delivering a great performance far less likely.
You may even find that lateness causes you to miss your audition window altogether and if this is a repeat behaviour, you are given fewer opportunities in future.
Grumbling about how long you have had to wait for your turn or that the audition is running behind will do you no favours.
These things take as long as they take and if you are a committed and passionate actor it is expected that you will take this in your stride.
Waiting on set is common, so if you are reported as being difficult while waiting for an audition, you can guarantee this will not sit well with casting directors or producers.
It is very common to stumble over a line or make a mistake during an audition. Casting directors are used to this and will often overlook this so long as you recover well and it doesn’t repeatedly occur.
If you make an error, don’t reel off a list of excuses. Simply apologise and get straight back to it. Owning your mistakes and continuing will garner you respect and show professionalism which is what matters most.
We get it, you’re nervous! Even so, interrupting those hosting the audition and speaking over them is something you must avoid.
It is disrespectful, slows down the audition process and can cause those in the room to have an instant dislike of you. This can see you discounted for a role almost immediately, no matter how compelling your audition may have been.
Take Things Personally
Similar to the above, be prepared to receive feedback graciously – do not talk back or argue with the person giving it. Being argumentative is a sure sign you are incapable of taking direction, something you must be willing to do when working on a production.
Remember, this feedback is intended to help you in future and help you grow as an actor, and when given by industry professionals, is incredibly valuable.
Even if you don’t agree with it, stay humble, be grateful and reflect on what was said at a later time.
Even with perfect audition etiquette, a successful audition is not guaranteed. If you do not receive a callback or get the part, you shouldn’t give up.
Continued persistence and a commitment to great audition etiquette are necessary for your future success and auditioning is a great way to gain continued experience regardless of outcomes.
What If I Make An Etiquette Mistake During An Audition?
You’re only human, mistakes or errors in judgement happen to the best of us, no matter how good our intentions may be.
If you’re someone who tends to run late, interrupts or is easily impatient, there are ways to help mitigate these habits.
Ways To Support Better Etiquette
1. To avoid lateness, plan to leave at least 20 minutes before you need to and make sure you have scoped out the transport schedules or parking in advance.
2. To support better patience, don’t book other engagements on the same day as your audition or too close to its scheduled finish time. That way you won’t feel pressured or anxious about timing as you’ve nowhere else to be!
3. If you are prone to making excuses to cover mistakes, practise leaning into this discomfort and learning to accept that this is normal! Making excuses only highlights the mistake and further disrupts your audition.
4. Interrupting and talking over people can be a hard habit to break. Try to really focus on the other person while they speak and pause before you respond to ensure they are finished. If you do interrupt, apologise and wait for the right opportunity to speak up again.
5. Actors are in constant judgement, it’s par for the course, if you are easily hurt by commentary on your performance, this career may not be for you. To help with this, try to always see every audition and comment as a learning opportunity and that this feedback could potentially transform your approach and deliver the big break you dream of. This helps to remove the negative connotations and turn it into something truly valuable.
Master Your Audition Etiquette With The Actors Pulse
Highly experienced, our acting coaches not only help you prepare for a winning audition, but they also support you in navigating the audition process with ease.
Ensure you are making an impression for all the right reasons and learn valuable lessons in how to dress, behave and present yourself when auditioning.
Become a skilled auditioner and enhance your chances of success with The Actors Pulse, call 0414 475 515 today.
Billy Milionis is one of the few Australians to have ever studied under the legendary master teacher, the late Sanford Meisner. Billy has also studied story structure and scene analysis techniques with John Truby and later at UCLA. He has also spent several years doing improvisation in Hollywood with the L.A. Connection. In addition, he trained in the technique of Stella Adler, Practical Aesthetics and Lee Strasberg’s method.