When you audition for a movie, there is a bit of a difference between auditioning for television or theater. Even more than that, auditioning for different kinds of films is different. Depending on a director’s experience and approach to the craft, the audition process can be different. Putting it shortly, you can confidently expect almost nothing about the process. Some auditions want a tape of the character, some want a story about you, some want you to sing, you get the point.
While there are many different factions of acting for movies, there are some universal tips for auditioning to be on the big screen:
Directors don’t want you to act like this person or do what this person would do, they want you to be the character. Your audition should have not an ounce of performance energy, your job is to become the character in the script.
A lot of directors will be looking for you to improvise, especially when it comes to group scenes. You are not looking for buttons or punchlines, but be the character. Your character is not only in the words, they are the entire being that says the words, which means that there is more for you to access when you have conversations with other characters.
Think About Character History
It is important to know your character’s backstory. When you are talking to another character in an audition, you are speaking with someone that you’ve known a lot longer than the 60 seconds you have known the actor. The way your character interacts with other characters is something that you need to be mindful of.
Be completely in the moment. When you enter the scene, be in the moment. You aren’t trying out for a character anymore. You are the character, so let that flow and drive your actions.
Don’t Stay Safe
Go out of your comfort zone. If you’re not feeling stress or pressure, you’re likely missing the point of the scene. Put yourself in an uncomfortable place, and access a genuine living out of the scene.
All scenes have a basic structure. Somebody wants something, something goes wrong. Find out what goes wrong. Always ask that question. Always find the answer as you go into your performance.
Know how to work with a camera. All film auditions are taped or self-taped, so you need to be comfortable with working with a camera. Be confident with a camera in your face, see past it and stay in the moment. You’re not an actor being filmed, you’re the character in the story. It can sometimes be difficult, having a huge metal box staring at you, recording your every move, but it’s not there anymore. Practice with cameras until you don’t even notice it’s there.
These tips are tailored to when you are auditioning for a film, but these are essential tips for all actors. (Except, perhaps, for the camera comfortable tip.) The best tip to master your craft? Always seek improvement. Always get better. When you finally master acting? Then, get even better. Become your craft. Welcome to acting.