How to Audition for a Movie: The Professional Way

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Are you an actor who is wondering how to audition for a movie? Maybe you have always done theater and want to get onto the big screen. Maybe you have always tried to get into movies or wanted to but you just are not sure how to audition for a movie. Many major cities host and provide backdrops for many major motion pictures as well as smaller projects. In fact, every state has its own resources that will provide you with information on what is being filmed in the area and where to find auditions. This article will help give you tips and hints that will guide you to your goal of how to audition fora movie.

It will also let you know what to expect when you show up. The more informed you are, the more prepared you make yourself, the more natural you will look in front of your critics.

fashion woman at audition

How to Audition for a Movie: 10 Areas to Check

1. Who Can You Be?

Remember, first and foremost, the job of a casting director is to find a specific type of person that fits the roll they are trying to fill. Thus, it is a good idea when learning how to audition for a movie to figure out who and what type of character you can successfully portray. This is not to say that if asked, you could not make a convincing seventy year old man when in reality you are a thirty something woman.

However, to give yourself a fighting chance, you may want to look for auditions that call for a character you will successfully fit into right from the go.

  • If you are a teenager, look for younger parts.
  • If you are older, find roles that call for a more aged character.
  • Could you portray a mother or sister? A chatty office secretary or an introverted loner?

Think of all the possibilities and look for those auditions.

2. Start Small

Even though your ultimate goal may be to make it to Hollywood, you may want to get your feet wet on smaller productions. You may not even be aware, but no matter what city you are from, there is likely independent and student films looking for casts. This is a great way to get experience and get used to being on set behind a camera.

If you are a student, there are also plenty of opportunities to become a part of your school film department. You may not get any monetary compensation. But again, it is great experience, learn the ropes, and a good way to pad your resume.

3. Make Headway by Being in the Background

I know, being a background extra may not be the goal you are striving for. However, when learning how to audition for a movie, taking the time to observe and be submersed in the environment can be extremely beneficial. Films are being made all the time and beyond the need for a main cast, they usually need plenty of extras too. Extra and background work is a relaxing and enjoyable way to observe what happens on set, get a decent pay check, and you may even get a feature or cameo in the movie.

You get to experience different director’s methods. Maybe you even get some all-important networking in with other actors. This can all lead to being an important means to your ultimate goal. In fact, you may even get noticed while on set if you look and act like someone they need for the movie or another production.

4. Be Ready to Audition

Keep on the lookout for audition posts when learning how to audition for a movie both online and in your local paper. Be sure to bring along your headshot, resume, and reel to present yourself in a professional manner.

Remember this packet of information is your calling card so make sure it is well put together and done professionally. It is not an area you want to skimp on financially.

Casting Director

5. Preparedness

Film is a very competitive industry. There will be many actors all vying for the same role. Sometimes the director and casting director will be screening actors themselves. Other times a representative will sift through the prospective actors or film a short take to be considered later by higher ups. However, no matter who you present your audition to, you should always remain respectful, professional, and do your very best for them.

You may need to audition with something you have already prepared or they may hand you lines you have never seen. You may even need to read lines with another actor competing for the same role. Regardless of what the situation is, the team will likely be tired and they will have many auditions to see. The more set you are, the smoother your turn will go, and the more professional you will look.

6. Join a Union

Eventually, while you are learning how to audition for a movie you will come across casting calls that only accept actors who are part of a union. The Screen Actors Guild is a union which will ensure you are being paid fairly and are receiving fair and ethical treatment on a set.

Actors that are not part of a union are usually paid less and are not even allowed to audition for certain movie roles. You cannot just jump into a union, that takes some ahead of time prepping as well.

7. Professionalism

Another way to make your audition more professional and go smoothly is to be ready by reading the casting call ad. When learning how to audition for a movie, remember these postings will sometimes give you specific tidbits of information you need such as letting you know you will need a headshot (though you should bring this anyway)or if there are specific pieces of information or materials they would like you to bring along.

Be sure to follow directions and make everything to the director’s specifications. Also, be sure to arrive early to do paperwork and prepare. The less convenient you make it for the casting director; the lower your chances will be to get the part.

8. Confidence Is Key

You are an actor. You need to be confident in your ability and confident in front of any audience. Thus, when you walk into the room or onto the stage your body language needs to ooze that confidence. Stage presence means a lot to a casting director. Good posture shows that confidence right from the start.

Do not race into the room but do not keep them waiting either. You want to exude confidence not arrogance. Be sure to make eye contact and smile. They will judge you from the moment you step into the room. So, try to make a good, professional, and confident first impression.

Man in hat sitting on film director's chair.

9. Attire to Consider

Until you are a big name actor, you may want to stay away from anything that will make you stand out in an odd way. For most auditions, you will want to show up in something business casual. This shows professionalism on your part without looking like a lawyer or undertaker in a 3 piece suit.

Yes, I know you may be auditioning for the part of a pirate, but that does not mean you should pull out your Halloween costume from two years ago. It may amuse the director, but it may also distract from your performance. Let your acting make the impression, not your apparel. You want to be taken as a serious actor.

10. Never Say You Are Sorry

Artists on any platform are famous for being their own worst critic. After you complete your audition, be sure to keep your confidence in check and never apologize for or explain themselves to the directors. Some actors get caught in the trap of trying to gain sympathy or give excuses as to their performance or other aspects. However, they let their nerves get the best of them and this is really not the ending note you want the director to remember.

Instead, thank your audience and leave just as confidently as you entered. Therefore, remember that if you are right for the role, you will get a call back. If you do not get that call, there are plenty of other roles waiting for you.

In the End

As an actor, auditioning is a fact. You will need to be ready both as an actor and as a prospective employee. Follow the directions you receive as closely as possible to avoid being an inconvenience. Keep your confidence level up the whole time the directors can see you and let your talent shine, not your appearance. Get involved in all avenues of acting to get used to being on set and behind a camera to gain comfort and confidence on set. Be ready for the competition and love every moment of it.

Please feel free to leave any helpful hints and tricks for other actors figuring out how to audition for a movie below.

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