7 Things NOT to do at an Audition

Edited for content and reposted from http://www.secondcitynetwork.com


Auditioning can be stressful. Your heart is racing; your armpits cry shirt puddles; you’re a human being stepping into a small space to be judged along with 10 other grown adults. Most people would buckle… not buckle, die.

Most people would die.

Death, for many, is preferred over public speaking. So I get it. You’re nervous, but when you start nailing them, it’s AWESOME! It’s the kind of high you only get from the validation of strangers. It’s the audition you nail that lets you know you finally stopped doing the things they don’t want to see– and started doing things they DO.

Here is a list of things not to do at an audition… that you’ll probably do anyway.

That one thing you do where you use some mundane thing in a scene you don’t ever use in real life

We all do it. All. The. Time. Heck, they taught us object work for a reason, right? This is an audition, however, so you have to remember they’ve probably seen what feels like 1000 people sweep a floor with a broom that will eventually disappear if people talk about nonsense long enough. Seriously, when is the last time you picked up a shovel and dug a hole? Don’t get all in your head about it, but try and switch it up.

That other thing you do where you don’t respect the thing called space

Yeah, it’s great you’re a very committed actor. That being said, stop picking people up. Don’t throw that chair like an idiot. Don’t touch her there, and don’t touch him there. Why are you trying to kiss this stranger? Don’t take off your real clothes! Improv clothes, man! Calm down, weirdo.

That thing you do where you overuse stereotypes

I do believe funny is funny. So, SOME people can make things we’ve seen a thousand times still funny. Usually in auditions you’re up against some inexperienced improviser that’s in their head the entire scene. You can practically see them dying in their eyes, so they resort to saying stupid stuff. You can pretty much guarantee the world is sick of the following:

  • The Sassy Black Woman that don’t take no nonsense and pats her weave
  • The Country Guy that’s too country for anybody from the country
  • The Fat Guy that knows he’s fat
  • The Ugly Guy that knows he’s ugly
  • The Alpha Male that can’t be vulnerable
  • The Weird Guy that tries too hard to be weird and random and just ends up making no sense
  • The Black Guy being a thug– or worse, the white guy that plays the black character that talks like a rapper with no arm control and says a lot of “yo” or “homie.”
  • The Insulting Gay Character, as played by a straight guy

I’m sure there are characters on this list that some people could knock out of the park! For the general population, just make choices confidently and don’t go for the easy stuff. It’s been done before.

That thing you do when you give that stupid interesting fact

In some auditions, they will ask you for an interesting fact about yourself that has nothing to do with acting. Saying “I’m from Kansas” is not interesting. Sorry Kansas, but I’m sure you’re aware. Just say something that is really interesting to you. On the flip side, telling people “I cried in the bathtub last night in candle light to old SWV albums” is probably a bit much.

That thing you do when you act like you didn’t know you needed a headshot and resume

They have classes, websites, even movies expressing the importance of the headshot and resume. The awareness of the importance of this is basically shoved down your throat a thousand times. Yet somebody will still walk into an audition empty-handed and give you that “I can’t believe they need this still!” face. It’s literally part of your job as an actor to always have them. If a server brought your food to the table with no plates, you would sweep kick them and call the manager. Get it together, people!

That thing you do when you wear something you shouldn’t to try to stand out

We get it; you’re different. You wear tight jeans and a wrinkled vest because “You’re edgy and careless and don’t have to try.” You’re definitely different from everybody else. You’re the most unprofessional looking person in the room. You nailed it.

That thing you do where you act like this thing isn’t important to you

Nothing is worse than the actor who walks in and acts like “I don’t really want to be here, but I said why not, you know”? So you left your day job, paid $4 for 20 seconds in parking to come up here because you don’t care? Ok, I’ll believe that never.

So there you have it. If you can avoid these 7 things, you’ll begin to look a lot more professional. If you can’t, don’t be too hard on yourself– these are all things that you’ll probably do sometime anyway.


Chris Redd is a Chicago stand-up comedian and actor with The Second City Touring Company. @Reddsaidit, and I’m out!


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