How to Prepare for an Acting Audition
By Kim Durban, Program Co-ordinator of Acting.
Arts Academy, School of Education and Arts, University of Ballarat.
So you want to train as an actor? Congratulations, because you have just taken the first step, that is, taking your desire seriously. You've got to really want it! It is really important to recognize that this inspiring and maddening profession requires all kinds of approaches. Acting is hard and it is definitely fun and in fact it's a profession that a colleague of mine describes as 'serious fun.' So in order to prepare for an acting audition for the Degree course at the Arts Academy in Ballarat you need to free yourself of all inner demons, like trying to second guess what the panel is looking for. Come as yourself. We always look for talent and that comes in all shapes and sizes. It could be yours. The other thing to remember is that an audition is both a test and a try-out. If it is an audition for a role the panel wants to see your potential in that role. If it is for a place in a training institution they want to see your potential to be trained, and for that training to take place in a group situation. Does this actor listen and respond? Do they try? Are they prepared to have a go with a bunch of unknowns? And how does this person work without a director? That is why there are set monologues, to give you a chance to stand in the space and show what you have prepared. It is always a good idea to read the whole play that the monologue comes from so that you get some insight into the character and the situation. If you like to become other characters and to be inspired by your imagination this will show.
Most auditions run on a similar format. We ask you to prepare two contrasting monologues from a selection prepared by staff and available on our website. One will be from a contemporary play and the other from a classical play. It doesn't matter if you have limited experience of these plays or styles. Choose something that you really like and learn the words thoroughly and read the whole play. Then make up your interpretation and come willing to show the panel. You will be seen in a small group and have the chance to see some fellow candidates try out. Since many Arts Academy classes take place in a group situation this is your chance to get used to the idea of learning from observation. We may also interview you with some simple get-to-know you questions. An audition makes everyone nervous so try to keep calm and enjoy the chance to act. And the people you meet may end up being your class-mates!
If you get through to the call-back it means you are one step closer. The call-back is a chance for us to compare candidates and for you to throw yourself into some new experiences in movement, voice and acting,plus you will be able to see our fabulous studios and get the low down from current students. If you have no experience of drama or dance classes it can be a good idea to go to a few prior to your audition and get used to the class format. On the day wear movement gear or comfortable clothing so we can see your body at work. Get used to the idea that more people will be watching you. It's a normal part of drama school and you get to meet the lecturers. You may be asked to re-work your original pieces. Rather than meaning we didn't like your choices this usually means we loved them. Now we want to see what else you can do.
Other than that, fall in love with acting and words. This is so important! It doesn't matter where you live or what you earn. What matters is that acting inspires you. Read, read, read novels and plays and poems and ideas because performance is a mind/body language event. Yes, see movies but remember that most good film actors have theatre training, so try to see some live professional performances if that opportunity comes along. Watch the actors, see how it all fits together and remember one day that could be you.
Director Peter Brook wrote a book on theatre called There Are No Secrets and that pretty much sums it up. We want to train you if you have what it takes. Every one of our successful graduates working around the world once stood in your shoes. Breathe deep, have a go! The Arts Academy will offer you dedicated training from working professionals in a caring environment. We look forward to seeing you.