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13 Great Ways to Prepare before Your Next Audition

By Aaron Marcus

Some actors find auditions to be scary and very difficult. After reading this article, you will learn a step-by-step process involving 13 great ways to prepare before your next audition that will give you guidance and more confidence.

Actor: Jerome Miller

When I first began acting, I had no idea how to prepare for an audition. I didn't even know there were specific techniques or processes to get ready for the read.

I quickly learned that auditioning by just winging it was not a smart or helpful way to get cast. The problem was that at the very beginning of my career, I simply didn’t know there were specific ways to prepare.

THE 13 WAYS 1. Even before you begin to plan out your audition strategy, keep this thought in mind: Don't try to book the audition!

I know that sounds a little crazy, but I am very serious. You might be thinking, isn’t getting the job the reason for auditioning? The reality is that only one actor, out of many, many people is going to be cast in the role. Just getting the audition is winning. That means that out of hundreds of headshots and resumes that were submitted to the casting director, you were chosen to read. That, in itself, is something to celebrate.

Trying to book the job puts too much pressure on us. What actors should do instead is to simply enjoy themselves during their read. This can happen if they prepare well and give a smart and interesting audition. Just think, it is a Monday afternoon, and you are getting a chance to do something really fun, act.

Actors have no control over who gets booked for the role. We only have control over our audition. After the audition, decisions on who gets booked are completely out of our hands. And the actor who gave the “best audition” is not necessarily the one who gets booked. It is the actor who fits the character the best – along with giving a great audition. So, stressing out over needing to get the job only adds more pressure for us. Casting directors can sense desperation a mile away. This is not a good emotion to show during your audition. Just present your read as if you’re enjoying yourself.

Actress: Shreyaa Sumi

2. If you are auditioning for a TV show, make sure you watch the program and are very familiar with it. Is it a comedy or a serious drama? What is the pacing of the show? Do actors cut each other off, or are the lines said in a more laid-back way? If you don’t have access to the show, perhaps you can find clips on YouTube. It is essential that you know the characters, style and flavor of the program before auditioning.

3. If you’re auditioning for a film, research the director. Become more familiar with the director's style. Go to to get the titles of a few of his or her projects. Then, at least watch clips of the director’s previous work. This might be very helpful when making acting choices.

4. Read the sides many times. Write them down on a separate sheet of paper. This might help you memorize them. Make sure you understand all of the words and can pronounce them. You can visit to learn the pronunciation of words. Don’t just read your lines. Quite often, it is the other person’s lines that will give you much more information about your character.

5. Don't ever try to figure out what casting directors want to see in the audition. There is no way of knowing. Quite often they don’t know what they are looking for. They want to see something interesting, fresh and thoughtful. This is your opportunity to play and be creative with your character development.

6. Understanding what your character is wanting to achieve in the scene is crucial information for you to have while auditioning. Make sure you know how your character can achieve his or her scene goals.

Actress: Myla Tkachenko

7. Is another character preventing your character from getting what he or she needs to accomplish? This should stay in the back of your mind when deciding on how to read the sides.

8. Try to memorize your lines, but you don’t have to be completely “off-book.” Even if you think you have your lines memorized, always hold the sides in your hand in case you need to reference this during the audition. 9. Wear appropriate clothing during your audition. Some actors will wear anything because they believe the casting director is only looking at the actor’s skills and abilities. I get that. But I have found that when I wear the appropriate wardrobe for my character, people will immediately see me as the right person for the role. However, don’t insult the casting director by wearing full costumes. 10. Always look either camera left or camera right when auditioning for film and TV roles. When you hear these terms used, it means from the camera’s perspective. The only exception to this rule is if your character is a news anchor or reporter and you are supposed to be looking directly into the camera. For TV commercials, you will look directly into the lens.

11. Never give a generic read. Sometimes actors are afraid that if they take the audition too far in one direction, it might not “be right.” So, instead they play it safe and give a middle-of-the-road type of read. That way of auditioning never turns out well. Always take a chance and make it interesting. If you look right for the role, give an interesting and convincing read, even if it isn’t quite right for the character. That should at least get you a callback. That is where you will be given additional notes to read it differently.


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12. Don’t rush to get your audition done. Wait until you are ready. It is always better to get the audition sent back as quickly as you can. But don’t be too quick. Wait until you are fully prepared and ready to audition. 13. After your audition, do something nice for yourself. Preparing, auditioning, editing, and uploading the audition is a process. Treat yourself to something special; you deserve it. Celebrate your achievement.


Model, author, and coach Aaron Marcus has been a full-time actor for over 38 years. He has been cast in nearly 1,300 acting and modeling jobs. He was cast in A Man Called Otto (is saved by Tom Hanks at the train station), the Netflix feature White Noise, and the HBO miniseries We Own This City, and worked on the ABC pilot Heart of Life.

He also worked on the feature Irresistible (with Jon Stewart and Steve Carell) and had a recurring role in Amazon show Thespian, as well as another recurring role on Netflix show House of Cards. He has also been in Gotham, Mr. Robot, Do No Harm, Law & Order: CI, The Wire, to name a few jobs.


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