Are you aspiring to be an actor and ready to audition for your first movie character? It may sound daunting, but even legends like Kate Winslet and Denzel Washington started that way. The first thing you need to do is memorize some monologues and prepare your portfolio to show that you know how the movie business works; then you need to find an audition and perform in front of the audition director. If you want to learn more about how to audition for a movie role, read on.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing for Auditions
Step 1. Memorize monologues
At most movie auditions, you will be asked to perform a monologue or two. This is your chance to show your range of flexibility as an actor. Choose monologues that fit your personality and acting style. Having at least three memorized for any given moment will keep you prepared for possible audition calls; you never know when one will appear.
- Choose 3 or 4 monologues that are different from each other. Have a dramatic monologue, a comedic monologue, etc. You want to show the audition director that you are capable of capturing more than one type of emotion or style.
- Search specialized books for original monologues that you have never heard before. Audition directors are going to be tired of hearing the same selections hundreds of times.
- Practice your monologues often, so you won't be rusty if you have to act it out at the last minute.
- Time your monologues and make sure they last 2 minutes or less. Auditions follow a pre-set schedule, and if you spend more than 2 minutes, they will cut you off.
Step 2. Take close-up photos of yourself
Usually, these are the ones that lead you to be called at an audition. Hire an experienced photographer for close-ups, which are quite different from regular portraits. Close-ups are designed to show your personality type and highlight the physical traits that make you unique.
- Ask people you know in the industry for recommendations. Close-up photographers can be quite expensive, so make sure you can pay the fee before you go for a shoot.
- When you're figuring out which photo studio to use, ask if there will be a makeup artist working with you during the shoot. If not, it might be worth paying a little extra to hire one to keep your look fresh while you take your photos.
Step 3. Make a demo video (a demo reel)
A demo reel is a compilation of segments (clips) from other film projects you have done. Clips should be carefully selected scenes (or parts of scenes) that showcase your best acting talent. You can do it yourself and use a video editing program, or hire a video editor to have a professionally finished reel. The reel should not last more than 2 or 3 minutes.
- The demo should be very easy to view. Some audition directors will ask you to send them the file electronically first, others will ask you for a physical copy on DVD. Have your reel ready in both formats.
- If you've never been to a movie before, include segments from a play you've been in that was filmed. You can also include parts of student movies.
- In recent years, some audition directors have asked for clips that fit the ongoing project. For example, if you are auditioning to act as the soccer team captain, try submitting a video that shows you playing a similar character.
- Don't start your demo with an introduction or montage. Actually, it should start with your name, and then go straight to the first scene.
- Don't save the best for last. The audition directors have a lot of demos to review. If yours doesn't start with your strongest scenes, they will likely move onto someone else's demo.
Step 4. Find auditions
The easiest way to find auditions in your area is to search online. There are specialized websites in each region. You can also check the classifieds in your local newspaper or check ads on the pages of colleges that are auditioning for student projects.
Cities like New York and Los Angeles have the highest concentration of auditions, as both cities have high film production. However, smaller cities and towns have been developing in cinema as well, and you can surely find opportunities near you if you know where to look. Check out art blogs, alternative newspapers, and other art publications for more information
Step 5. Deliver all requested materials and / or documents to the audition director
They may ask for a CV and cover letter in addition to your close-ups and demo video. You may even be asked to deliver these documents before the audition itself. In any case, make sure the materials are in the format requested by the audition director, and don't leave any loose ends. Set things up in a way that is convenient for the audition director, otherwise you will definitely worsen your chances.
Step 6. Measure your performance well for each audition
It's okay to have your monologues ready to be performed at any time, but you shouldn't treat every audition the same. Think about the role you are auditioning for and choose the monologues that best fit the role. If possible, memorize a new one before the audition day.
Dress appropriately for the role you will be playing. Don't arrive in full, specialized garb, but make yourself look like a credible version of the character you're playing. If you're auditioning to be a senior management executive, don't go in jeans and sneakers
Step 7. Be ready to do a cold read
In addition to acting out one of your monologues, you will likely also be asked to read a section of a script without even having a chance to read it first. Most audition calls include a description of the characters, so hopefully you already have an idea of how to get into character.
Method 2 of 3: Standing Out at Auditions
Step 1. Make a good first impression
When you enter the room, make eye contact with the audition director and the other judges. Have good posture, and don't walk too fast or get out of breath. From the moment you walk across the room, you will be judged on your demeanor and presence, so make sure you take a good breath and stay in control, rather than rushing into the room. You should look relaxed and confident.
Step 2. Walk to the mark
The mark, usually a simple "x" on the floor made of tape, is the point where you will begin to perform for the audition. Normally, it is placed several meters in front of the audition director and the judges, so that they can have a good view of your audition.
Don't feel anchored to the brand throughout your audition - it's just a starting point. You must know how to use the space in a way that makes sense to the character you are playing
Step 3. Master your presentation well
The presentation is a very short introduction that you do just before starting your monologue. When you get to the mark, go to the audition director, make eye contact, and give your name with a brief description of what you are about to do. For example: “Good afternoon. I am Luciana Vidal, and this piece is from the second act of Hamlet."
- Don't spend too much time talking before you act. Most auditions are timed, and the clock starts ticking as soon as you walk in. You should use your acting time to the fullest.
- Don't ask the audition director or judges for their name, and don't exchange warmth beyond "good afternoon" or something similar. Remember, you don't have time for that.
Method 3 of 3: Improving Your Chances
Step 1. Act as much as possible
Taking classes or practicing your act as frequently as possible will increase your chances of impressing the audition director. Take note of the feedback they give you at auditions and work as hard as possible to improve, and then try again. It may take you dozens of auditions to reach a role, but each time you perform in front of an audition director, you'll gain valuable practice.
Step 2. Improve various skills and talents
You can stand out from the other actors by showing other talents you have if they are relevant to the role. Knowing how to sing, dance, play an instrument, play a sport, and more, can give you a chance. Don't be afraid to start a song during an audition if you think that will increase your chances.
Step 3. Consider finding a talent agent
A talent agent will be responsible for finding characters that match your style and experience, eliminating the need to search for roles yourself. Audition directors typically send profiles of the type of actor they are looking for to talent agents, and they let the audition directors know if they have a match. Working with a talent agent is a good way to “get in business” after you've gained some experience on your own.
- If you go this route, make sure you are working with a specialized and licensed agent. Some people present themselves as agents to take advantage of inexperienced young actors. More or less, you will have to pay the agent 10% of your earnings.
- You can find an agent by going to an audition workshop, in which you will perform in front of both agents and audition directors. Look for workshops of this type that are nearby via the internet.
- For North American and European productions, the Call Sheet is a list of reputable agents. Review it and contact agents directly.
Step 4. For North American productions, get a SAG-AFTRA card
Becoming a member of SAG-AFTRA, the guild for stage actors, can give you access to higher pay and higher-caliber jobs. It also provides health insurance, and ensures that your work is not used illegally.
- Before auditioning or applying to an agency, make sure you really want to be an actor.
- Make sure you have a good education to support yourself in case this doesn't work out.