Most of the things on this list are common sense and some of the examples are actually quite funny. However, since I have encountered each of the following in an audition room I thought I would include them on this blog anyway.
1) If the casting breakdown reads ‘Prepare something suitable for a children’s audience’ DON’T then come along with a graphic speech about Lesbian Sex (surprisingly this has happened quite a lot!)
2) When asked the name of the play that your speech comes from, DON’T show a book of monologues to the panel and explain that you are unable to pronounce the title of the play.
3) DON’T hand a photocopy of your speech to the panel in case you might need “a prompt”. An audition is NOT a LAMDA examination!
4) DON’T put accents on your CV that you are woefully incapable of doing. I find that working in Scotland almost every actor puts RP on their CV. However, when asked to read something it is apparent that they unable to even approximate it. I don’t ask people to read things in an accent to catch them out or to expose them in some way. I do it because it might be a casting requirement. If you can’t do it then don’t say you can!
5) Don’t lie about your previous training or experience. I once auditioned somebody that I had supposedly spent three years with at drama school. Amazing then that I had never seen them before in my life! When I questioned the candidate about this she backtracked and explained that she had done a one year part time evening course that had been hosted in the same building and was not affiliated to the college in any way. Sell yourself but don’t lie!
6) DON’T be derogatory about previous employers. Whatever your experience might have been with previous companies try to resist the temptation of running them down. I don’t think it is very classy and you run the risk of appearing like a diva!
7) DON’T apologies before you start your speech. Whether it’s “sorry I only learnt this yesterday”, or “I had a bit of a large one last night” or “sorry, but I have a really bad cold at the moment’ (and I’ve heard them all), apologising beforehand just sets up an expectation that it’s not going to be very good! Whilst I understand that sometimes people genuinely are bunged up with a cold, the reality is that occasionally you are going to have to perform when not feeling your best.
8) DON’T fail to read the play! I expect all of us have looked at monologue book for inspiration before. This is fine, but if you choose a speech from a published collection like this, please do take the time to research the character and the play. It could be quite embarrassing if the panel ask you what you think about the end of the play if you haven’t read it. Admittedly this is unlikely but if they are a lover of the play they might.
9) DON’T turn up without having researched the company. You should use every opportunity to find out everything you can about the company you are auditioning for. I am normally impressed by candidates who are able to demonstrate at least some knowledge of our back catalogue or the history of the company. It shows an enthusiasm for the job.
10) DON’T assume that the panel are going to be hostile. I would ask all candidates to remember that casting is a time consuming and often costly business. We hope that everybody who walks through the door is going to be perfect for the part so we want you to feel comfortable and give the best audition possible.
I hope this list is useful for some of you. As always opinions and comments are very welcome!