Marquee athletes get paid to perform at a high level under pressure. More importantly, they know what it takes to get to the big leagues. The punchline to the old joke “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” applies to athletes and actors alike. “Practice, practice, practice!” Here are 2 things athletes can teach actors about auditioning. Prepare more than you think you need to. You’ve spent some time in the batting cage, you’ve been hitting the ball regularly so you feel like you’re ready for game day. The next day, with the game on the line, the manager says “You’re up” and you step out of the dugout and up to the plate. But somehow, your time in the cage didn’t quite prepare you for this. Your hands are sweating, your breathing is shallow and you can feel your heart beating in your chest. You don’t have time to […]

What Pro Athletes Can Teach Actors About Auditioning

There are many reasons your audition song may not be working but you may be surprised that it often has little to do with your voice. Memorizing a song doesn’t mean you’re ready to perform it any more than knowing the parts of a car makes you ready to drive one. Zeroing in on what your issues may be is the first step to giving better auditions, getting more callbacks and booking more jobs. Among the many possibilities, here are 3 reasons your audition song isn’t working. You’re not asking the right questions I have about 30 questions I ask when working on a new lyric and those always lead to more questions. But this a short article so here are three basic questions you should ask if you want to make your work clearer, more specific and more interesting. *Who are you talking to and what do they mean […]

Three Reasons Your Audition Song Isn’t Working

Everyone has some audition nerves. It’s completely understandable. After all, you’re standing in front of a group of complete strangers who are judging your looks, personality, voice and talent. Add the fact that a job you really want hangs in the balance, and an audition can take on almost Greek proportions in your mind. But it doesn’t have to. There’s a simple reason and a simple solution to the problem. The reason your audition nerves flare up is your awareness that you’re being judged makes you focus is on yourself during the audition. You think about how you look and how you sound and you adjust as you go to make sure it’s going well. It’s like you’re standing outside of yourself scrutinizing everything you do. It’s a huge waste of energy. Sanford Meisner said “Actor’s have two problems. They’re self-conscious and they don’t listen.” That’s the problem and the […]

The Simple Solution to Your Audition Nerves

In a musical theater audition it can seem like there’s very little you can control, but there are some elements that you can. Here are five things to avoid at your next musical theater audition and why your audition will suffer if you don’t. Making your accompanist’s job harder. Every audition song is a duet. Smart actors make their accompanist’s job easy so they can play their best for you; your audition depends on it. Give your accompanist a clean copy of your music containing only what you want them to play and what you are going to sing. Put it in non-glare sheet protectors in a three ring binder so there’s no weird reflection from rehearsal studio lighting, and it won’t fall off the piano as they turn pages. It should be in the key you want. The name of the song, the composer, and the name of the […]

5 Musical Theater Audition Mistakes You Can’t Afford

There are so many stories of actors who took their careers into their own hands: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Sylvester Stallone, Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, and Emma Thompson to name just a few. Here are seven ways you can start creating your own acting opportunities: Find out if any films are shooting on location in your area. Do some digging. Your local film commission will have all this information. You can also do a simple Google search for “Films shooting near [insert your city]. Find out if they’re hiring local talent or extras and where you can send a photo and résumé. Produce your own show! Google “how to produce theater.” You will learn a lot about all aspects of theater in the process. A former director, teacher, or producer may be willing to serve as a mentor or resource as you produce your own […]

7 Ways to Create Your Own Acting Work

. Many actors I meet are under the misconception that acting is about being someone else. They’ll memorize their lines and recite them, the same way they learned them, while trying to make them “sound natural.” Then they try to imagine how “their Character” would feel and act and they try to “act it out.” That kind of acting is about showing us how skilled are you are at “acting” like someone else and it puts a lot of pressure on you to be a very good impersonator. It also encourages self-consciousness because your attention is often on checking in to see how you’re doing and if your charade is going well. Johnny Depp also put it this way: Unfortunately, in school, we’re taught that how you feel is less important than getting the right answer. In our work, knowing how you feel about what you say is the right […]

What Meryl Streep Says About Acting

There’s no shame in being a rookie. Being a rookie means you’ve decided you’re not going to just watch from the sidelines anymore. You’ve stepped up, thrown your hat into the ring and declared you’re in the game. Congratulations! I applaud your fighting spirit! Avoiding these eight rookie audition mistakes will help you stand out (in a good way) and enable you to reach your career goals faster. 1. Showing up late. Be on time. They could’ve given your appointment slot to a dozen other actors who would’ve been grateful for the opportunity. Instead:Plan ahead. Set an alarm on your phone. Lay out the clothes you’ll wear the night before. Leave plenty of time to get where you’re going and build in cushion time for unforeseen events. 2. Shaking hands. Don’t do it unless they approach you and offer their hand. Instead: Just come into the room, relaxed, confident, and ready […]

8 Rookie Audition Mistakes

With so many actors vying for the same roles, it’s important that you separate yourself from the pack (in a good way!) Here are three ways to stand out at your auditions. . . Leave your baggage at home I’m not talking about your backpack. Fear and nervousness at an audition are often symptoms of negative baggage you carry. They’re created by you and so can be brought under control by you. When you come in sucking up, scared of or in awe of the director or casting director, you do yourself a huge disservice. No one wants to work with someone who gives away their power, is needy, or unsure of themselves. There’s just no time for that. Those things need to be worked out at home and not brought to an audition where they will kill your chances for a successful career. The best remedy for fear and […]

3 Ways to Stand Out at Auditions