Since moving two blocks away from a community music theatre in Quincy Florida when I was ten years old, I’ve been involved in theatre of some kind. I’ve done almost everything with theatre – from acting and singing to directing and stage managing. I’ve been set designer, props mistress, costume mistress, and more – seriously. If it’s theatrical, I’ve done it at least once. I both love and hate auditions and, like many of you, have sought out audition tips and advice on many occasions.
But I’ve mostly been involved in theatre. Film is an entirely different creature. You think, hey it’s acting. It can’t be that different – but let me tell you, it is. In 2014, when I moved back to Chicago, I decided to give film a shot after some of my personal attempts in it. I found a fun-looking audition and went for it.
That day, as I headed into the studio, I received the best audition tip I think I’ve ever gotten: “Show your personality.”
My friend didn’t tell me to show all of my abilities in that one little ten-second blip of an audition. He didn’t tell me that I should hide my nervousness. He didn’t even give the usual advice I learned for theatrical auditions long ago. Instead, the simple suggestion he made actually did the trick for me.
And you know what the recruiters said at my interview the day after? “We like your personality. You’re bubbly and a little reserved. We think you have potential for this as a career…” And that pegs me pretty well (I mean, unless you’re my closest friends who know I’m insane, not reserved). The pros told me I’m on the right track, not because I was trying to show who I could be or who I wanted to be, but because I showed who I really am and let my own personality drive my audition. This turned out to be one of the best audition tips I’ve ever heard.
And you know what? When I do casting for theatrical productions, it’s always been the personalities of auditioners that I’ve looked at, too. Your personality tells a good casting director how you’re going to play any character they throw at you.
So, if you’re a bit cheeky, let them see that. Or if you’re shy, they should know (and believe me, we can work with shyness!). If you’re mousey or obnoxious, let it be known. Socially awkward? There’s a call for that, too.
Be confident in who you are, and casting directors will be confident in your abilities.