Awesome Acting Audition Adventure
Scheduled when we have at least
4 students signed up for this class.
Email us with your interest!
After this amazing course you'll
be ready and able, because we will take you through the four most common
types of acting auditions and teach you the secret to using your butterflies
to land your next role.
Taught by Engela Edwards and john
daniels, jr., master teachers, playwrights, directors, and actors with
decades of experience.
Monday: The Workout
This is the audition process everyone
loves. It is enjoyable for the novice, and even the most experienced
actors always look forward to this one.
Tuesday: Cold Readings
Never have cold readings been this fun!
Flex your acting muscles on these entertaining scripts, in a supportive
environment with teaching directors to guide you to success.
Wednesday: Prepared Piece (monologue)
This is a great time to get honest feedback
from casting directors and improve the monologues you've been using.
Thursday: Specifically-Prepared Piece
For those of you who do not have prepared pieces
(or if you are just ready for a change), we'll send you suggestions when
When you register, you'll be sent a short
piece to prepare. If you aren't intimidated by memory work, tell
us and we'll send you one of the longer pieces or a couple of pieces.
Friday: Performance, Party, and Play
Party with your classmates by showing
off your skills. Take what you've learned in this class and convince
us we need to write a vehicle or find a show just for you.
During the week, we will go over your headshots
and resumes. This is a great time to get yours critiqued from
the director's point of view. If you don't have a resume and headshot,
you will get ideas of what to do and common mistakes to avoid. Note:
When we are doing our regular auditions we don't look at headshots and
resumes until after we've cast a show, but we are very unusual in that
respect, so a good resume and headshot is important, and it doesn't have
to be expensive. If you don't already have a headshot, Engela will
take one for you that you can use.
Location: Will be arranged
based on students.
Date: Will be arranged.
Time: Usually 6:30-9:30 p.m.,
but other times may be arranged if needed.
Cost: $120 per student.
Email us with your interest!
This class was inspired by john's Auditions F.A.Q.'s
Internal page links:
are auditions? (In theory)
do directors want in auditions?
can you expect in auditions? (Practical)
What are auditions? (In theory)
Commonly auditions are thought of as "try-outs" for plays or films, where
the producers or director cast actors for their production.
however, are two way evaluations.
you go to an audition, you should know what you want from the production.
You are auditioning the production, as well as being auditioned.
novice or rusty actor or technician may go through a phase of accepting
all positions for the sake of experience. Your needs as people and
artists must also be served by the production. These needs might
be self-discovery, challenge, escape, have fun, or belong to a group.
Any need, that has no negative effect upon a production, is viable.
an idea of what you want from a production.
producers and directors know what they want from a production well before
auditions, you should too.
professors generally pick productions to enhance their programs or fit
into seasonal themes. In general their programs are not funded completely
by box office revenue so more risks may be taken.
community theaters try to produce Broadway type shows for mass appeal.
theaters usually pick a segment of the mass audience and appeal exclusively
to it. They may be a fringe theater doing original plays or plays
about specific social issues, or they could be theaters that produce solely
Gilbert and Sullivan operettas or reviews. These theaters still must
keep a close eye on the box office.
non-professional companies are usually born from a need in a community.
They serve that community, like The Teatro Campasino of the mid
to late '60's, who played in the fields where the people worked.
Today these companies still exist to various and lesser degrees and compete
for small amounts of grant money to survive. These companies seem
more willing to work with untrained actors and those actors who are not
pursuing a career in acting.
each case the producers and directors are trying to fill a need in their
organization with the production. Actors and technicians are one
means to that end.
is important to assess both your value to the production and the value
the production has for you.
is creativity, and there is the bottom line. It is good to be able
to determine the importance of each to the production.
top of page.
What do directors want in auditions?
see if you are adaptable.
see signs of training in voice or movement.
see if you are creative.
see if you are you open to suggestion.
see if you are self-motivating.
get an idea of your attitude to determine if you will fit in with his production,
the other actors, and technicians. Note: An actor with an argumentative
nature seldom enters an established company.
a good director is most concerned about energy and relationships
(both between the characters on the stage and the characters off the stage)
not looks or types.
opinions are subjective.
is no objective scale that describes any actor.
people, all productions are living dynamic entities.
HARD FACT: The vast
majority of directors still type-cast. In film this seems to happen
99% of the time. Take a hard critical look at yourself not from a
talent or desire standpoint, but from a superficial one. Many actors
are cast from their headshots and the clothes size information attached
to them. You will find this most prevalent where big budgets are
used and producers have more say in casting. They feel that they
must appeal to the audiences' expectations to insure box office success.
top of page.
What can you expect in auditions? (Practical)
In the Legitimate Theater (non-musical), there are four main types of "acting"
The most common is the cold read.
actors are given audition sheets to complete. These forms usually
just ask for name, contact numbers, and experience. Sometimes you
will be asked to list other talents such as, sewing, building, drawing,
etc. The director, their assistant, or the stage manger may give
a basic run down of the production. They should cover the play, the
rehearsal period, the performance dates and times.
The second most common audition type is the prepared piece.
the explanation is occurring, someone from the pre-production staff arranges
the audition sheets and chooses pairings or groups of actors to read scenes
from the play. These scenes are usually pre-chosen for the specific
challenges that they present actors.
are then called to the stage and asked to read these scenes. Sometimes
the scene is explained to the actor, but not always. Actors who have
never read or seen the play may not understand the context of the scene
in relation to the play as a whole, but that seldom matters at this stage.
The same scene is generally repeated several times with different groupings
on the size of the audition or the time allotted for the audition, the
cold reading may proceed to the next step.: rearranged groupings.
The director groups actors into the scenes they have already read, matching
actors from different groups together.
the director has seen the grouping her requested, it is customary for him
to take request from the actors allowing them to read for parts they have
not yet read. Usually an actor who is requesting to read a scene
is not allowed to pick the other actors with whom they will read.
Directors very rarely pay any attention to requested readings. Some
watch politely, some do not. This does not mean don't try.
These requested readings have never in my experience gotten an actor the
role they wanted. Sometimes they have made the difference in being
part of the production. Note: Most professional theaters do
not allow requested readings.
on the size of the audition and the difficulty of the choices, cold-reading
auditions may require callbacks.
come with a monologue or play segment they have prepared. These pieces
are usually chosen by the actor to show what he thinks are his strengths.
The specific-prepared piece audition, requires the actor to work up a specific
monologue or segment from the play being produced.
actors generally have three pieces ready:
actors should use the audition piece that most closely fits the type of
play they for which they are auditioning. For example: If the
Romeo and Juliet, then a classical piece should be
(Shakespeare, Moliere or Greek);
you do not already have a prepared piece, choose one to match the play
being produced. If the audition calls for prepared pieces, and nothing
is said in the pre-audition material about the type of prepared piece,
it is generally understood that pieces from the play itself are not
prepared piece auditions, the actors are usually kept in one room while
the director and their staff are in another. A representative
of the pre-production staffs may explain the production and the audition
process to the actors. The actors are given audition forms to complete.
It is good to have the standard 8 x 10 headshot attached to your
resume. The representative takes the audition sheets to the director.
The actors are called one at a time.
actor usually performs his prepared piece for the director or the director
and his pre-production staff. Rarely, in this type of audition, are
actors asked to perform in front of all the other actors.
the actor enters the room, he is asked to walk to center stage.
The actor is asked to confirm their name to make sure the director has
correctly matched the person with the form. "Begin" or "Anytime you
are ready," are the requests used most often to ask the actor to perform
his piece. When the actor has finished (usually signaled by the actor
bowing his head), the director or his representative may ask some questions
pertaining to the audition form, and then they will say, "Thank you," or
"Next." This is the actor's signal to leave. It is unusual
for the actor to be asked if he has any questions at this time.
the performance the actors may be asked to stay. If they are asked
to wait, then someone from the pre-production staff should be answering
actors' questions. If the actors are not asked to stay, then they
will be contacted by phone.
Considerate companies will contact everyone,
even if they decide not to use the actor.
is the type of audition used in most Cattle Calls.
The least common audition technique is the workout.
audition packets are prepared and the actors acquire them prior to auditions.
The packets may contain the scene or scenes to be learned, the audition
forms, and general production information. In some cases the material
to be learned is not given to the actor, but he is told where to find it.
and Juliet by Wm. Shakespeare
or five choices may be given. Everyone wanting to be part of the
production must choose from the choices given, even if the character in
which they are interested is not one of the choices. Most audition
forms ask for your role preferences. It is best to be specific.
Romeo-I, ii 1-25
Mercutio-I, iv 53-88
Nurse-I, iii 17-48.
and Juliet, the part of Romeo in Act 2: Scene 2, Lines 1 through 25
beginning with, "He jests at scars that never felt a wound," and ending,
"That I might touch that cheek!"
forms may ask if you would be willing to take a role that you have not
listed. Consider your answer carefully. Be truthful.
audition process itself is usually run like the prepared audition, see
above. In a specific-prepared audition the actor is more likely to
perform in front of the other actors. These auditions almost always
end in callbacks.
workout is a freeform audition that varies from director to director.
There are some basic goals in the workout audition that are constant.
The director is looking for willingness, open minds, energy, creativity,
sense of humor, and the ability to work with others. Workout auditions
are often used for tribal type shows, very physical productions, or shows
that have an improvisational element.
is possible to use all four methods of audition. Most musicals do.
auditions generally began with warm-ups.
are group concentration exercises and energy transfers. An explanation
of these exercises here would be too long. What the actor needs to
know, is to follow directions and not to perform the exercises. Just
warm-ups: stretching mostly.
warm-ups: vowel sounds and consonants, word combinations, and tongue twisters.
these exercises the director and the pre-production staff may mingle with
the actors. Most of the time, this type of audition is very friendly
warm-ups, workout auditions may move on to theater games and improvisations.
Actors are put into groups and placed into situations with goals and conflicts.
Most of the time the situations are not realistic and are often very funny.
Improvisations may be loosely based on some of the same conflicts and situations
found in the play.
actors who cannot work in this manor usually excuse themselves from the
auditions and do not return for callbacks.
play is usually discussed after the audition in an informal setting.
director using this method chooses his cast without the actors' input.
He may however, during callbacks, use a form of the cold reading to pair
consistent director sets his rehearsal environment and his relationship
to his cast during auditions. Therefore, an observant actor may learn
as much about the director and the production during audition process,
as the producer and director learn about the actor.
type of auditions often reflects the style of rehearsal and the experience
of the performance.
the auditions are high energy, then the rehearsals and performances will
the auditions are very controlled, the rehearsals will be strict and the
the production staff is lost in auditions, it will be a miracle if they
find themselves by production. Do not confuse openness and enjoyment
with being lost. A production can be very freeform and be right on
target, or it can be very controlled and miss the mark completely.
An actor develops a feel for these things.
hope this information has helped. jdj
© john daniels, jr.
|*Do we really adapt the play
to fit the actors who audition?
Yes, for example:
In Tell Me about Amelia there is one role
that was written for a 45-year-old male.
It was played by:
Also another role in the same play which was originally
written for a female, but has in 3 productions been played by a male.
The playwright has even decided that it works better as a male role, and
has permanently changed the script.
a 17-year-old girl as a 17-year-old character
a 27-year-old woman as a much older woman
and a 21-year-old woman as a 21-year-old woman.
In Six-Bit Trip two roles were cast with
actors who were the opposite sex from the originally written characters.
A female was cast in a role written for a male, and a male was cast in
a role written for a female. This was done because they were the
best actors for the roles. The only changes of the script were to
change the character name and the he's and she's.
At one musical audition, the actor we needed just
didn't walk in the door. So we divided the role between three different
We do have the advantage of having a playwright
in residence. Some companies are tied to exactly what is called for
in the script due to copyright restrictions.