10 MORE Audition Tips for Actors (Updated 2020).

One of the most popular posts in Producer Perspective history was my “10 Audition Tips for Actors” from back in aught eight.  So, following the old Hollywood axiom that says, “when people like something, give ’em a sequel”, I decided to post a follow-up (unfortunately, that sequel thing doesn’t work so well on Broadway . . . read this post about that unfortunate subject).

Four years later, after watching hundreds and hundreds of very talented folks strut their stuff in hopes of a big break on Broadway, I’ve come up with 10 more tips to help tune up your audition skills and help you land the job you’ve been dreaming about.

And if you’re not an actor . . . well, I think you might find that some of these tips, as well as the originals, apply to interviewing for any type of job, even if a high A and a time step isn’t required.

Here we go!

1.  Be a Boy Scout.  Be prepared.

Remember, an audition for a show, isn’t just an audition for that show.  You’re making an impression on that Director, Casting Director, Producer, etc. that could apply to other projects that they are working on now or in the future.  So even if you’re not right for that part, you could find yourself getting a callback for something else down the line (on Godspell, I watched a whole bunch of people who weren’t right for our show get put in a Wicked pile.)  And that’s why you always have to be on your game . . . which means doing your homework.  Because we know when you don’t.  And see, the thing is, it cuts both ways.  I’ve watched people come in that have been so unprepared that Casting Directors et al have written them off for that show and others as well.  Make the most out of every chance you have in front of a decision maker.  This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect.  It just means that you’ve got to treat that five minutes with respect, and be familiar with the material.

2.  Research who is in the room.

Blind dates are nerve-racking . . . blind auditions are worse.  Always try to find out from your agent or the casting director, or even the monitor, who is in the room sitting behind the table.  Is the composer there?  The playwright?  The casting director?  Assistant?  You do this for two reasons . . . 1 – so you can tailor your material, your conversation, and your questions accordingly, and 2 – it’s totally appropriate to drop a personalized follow up note to the folks that you auditioned for . . . but you gotta know who they were.

3.  Forget what our Mom says, skip lunch.

Ok, I don’t mean that you should skip eating lunch.  You should skip auditions that are around the lunch hour.  from about noon to two, auditioners get hungry and, if they’re having food shipped in for them to eat (in order to make sure they see as many auditionees as possible), you run the risk of doing your 16 bars while someone is munching on a pastrami on rye.  And, well, that might be a bit distracting for them and for you.  So try and work around those hours, if you have a choice.

4.  Dress like you’re on a date.

A first date that is.  You want to treat your audition like a professional experience (see tip #1), but you don’t want to overdo it either.  So dress to impress, but also make it look like you didn’t try too hard (see where the “first date” thing comes in?).  BONUS TIP:  When you get a callback, and you will, wear the same outfit you wore to the first audition.  They’ll remember you more.

5.  Singers, have all sorts of material.

Way back when, all that musical theater actors needed was an up-tempo and a ballad.  But as the music on Broadway has become more diverse, it’s important that you can show your diversity as well . . . and you never know what someone might ask you to sing.  You need a ballad, an up, a pop song, a classic, something funny, something serious, etc.  Think about it this way, auditions are like improv, you always want to be able to answer “Yes” when an auditioner asks you anything . . . including, “Do you have something in the style of R&H that shows range?”

6.  Having a bad day?  Act like you’re not.

Seems simple enough, but I can’t tell you how many people come in complaining about the weather or how many auditions they’ve been on that day.  People have bad days.  I get it.  But you’re an actor, so pretend that you’re having the best day ever . . . because no one wants to be around people that are sour-pusses.

7.  Burn all your monologue books.

Monologue books were made to make it easy for actors looking for monologues.  So, that means, a majority of people use them.  And that means you’re not going to stand out as being special if you’re the fifth person to do the monologue from Key Exchange that day.

8.  Read the whole play/screenplay/musical.

True story – an actor auditioned for me for a play years ago and was visibly shocked when the director said something about later in the story when the character they were auditioning for attempted suicide.  Umm, that might have affected some choices you might make, don’t you think?

9.  Your accompanist is your friend or your enemy.  You choose.

If there’s one person you really need on your side at a musical audition, it’s the guy or doll playing the piano.  Be nice, be thankful, be complimentary, and have music in the right key, in the right order, and in a book that is easy to read and easy to flip the pages. BONUS TIP:  No song books that you just bought from Colony Records.  Have you ever tried to get one of those things to stand up without falling over?  And do you want your accompaniment to just stop in the middle of “On The Street Where You Live?”

10.  Auditioning is like batting practice.

When I first made my varsity baseball team in high school, I was nervous about facing some of the faster pitchers in the league.  “It’s ok,” my coach said, “that’s what the batting cage is for.”  I stood in that thing every day, swinging away at everything until I got numb to 70, 80 and 90 mph fast balls and curve balls coming at me in all sorts of directions.  So, when I stepped up to the plate during a big game, I was so much better prepared to show my best.  You’ve gotta get numb to the questions, suggestions, and requests that will come at you in all sorts of directions when you audition.  So get in a cage.  Take a class, or better, audition as much as you can.  Auditioning is a special skill . . . and if you can master it, you’ll find yourself working a heck of a lot more.

(Want more audition tips?  Click the link to read the original 10 Audition Tips for Actors.  Or sign up for online acting classes to make sure you’re always at the top of your craft.  Great actors never stop studying, and online classes mean you can now learn from pros like Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman.)

– – – – –


From time to time I come across information specifically for actors, like actor networking events and audition tips, that I like to share.  Rather than take up a full blog entry, I’ve been sending emails with all this valuable stuff directly to a super secret actor list.

Just so you know, the emails are sporadic.  Certainly not every day, like my blog.  I send them maybe once a month at most, so don’t worry, you won’t be overwhelmed.

Remember, this list is actor-centric, so if learning about opportunities for actors and how to improve your acting is not something you’re interested in, then don’t sign up.

But if this is you . . . then sign up.

Click here to sign up for actor updates.

– – – –

Want to see the post that started it all? Head over to my most visited post and read about the original 10 Audition Tips for Actors. Looking for that extra boost of audition info to help you really ace your next audition? Then check out my post 10 Takeaways from A How to Audition Workshop to help you seal the deal the next time you’re in the audition room!

Get more knowledge about the industry, monthly newsletters and webinars, plus a Tip of the Week email, when you The TheaterMakers Studio HERE!

Want one-on-one coaching or an audition audit from American Idol and Broadway star Justin Guarini? Click here to work with Justin now to nail your next audition!

  • Melissa Bell says:

    I don’t agree about wearing the same clothes–yes they WILL remember and wonder if you don’t have any other clothes in your closet. But hey I’m a girl, we notice these things. Wear a similar look, maybe the same color or style. Like a date, you’ve been called again–dress up a little more. Extra care with the hair and makeup, you are really going for it this time. Last chance to impress!

    • Reid says:

      Actually, you should agree. The casting director will put you together with what you were wearing. Wearing something different, when they see that many people, will only have them asking, “Is that really the same girl…?” They will not wonder about your wardrobe–they don’t give a damn about that. They want to see what they saw, and compare that to a smaller pool of talent.

  • I teach at two universities, Univ of Hartford (hartt school) and Western CT State and I passed this link and tips (as well as the first batch) on to my kids. GREAT advice and it’s good for them to hear it from multiple sources! Thanks!

  • jim arnold says:

    what position did you play and what was your batting average?

  • Kaitlyn says:

    These tips are fantastic! I’m probably not cut out to be an actor. More looking at drama therapy right now, but had I looked at these in college, I’d probably had nailed a few of those. I find that my nerves just get the best of me during an audition. But you know, there’s a little bit of local things here, so I’ll keep these in mind, in case I decide to get involved locally. 🙂

  • Miya says:

    I have my first audition coming up soon, and I am so very nervous. I’ve been going onto EVERY site to see if I can get good tips that will calm me down. This really helped along with the ten tips before this. It is good to know what to do on your first audition. I also have a cousin who wants to act, and I showed her this link. My cousin loved it too! This is really good information! Thanks for the help!

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