10 Audition Tips from Casting Director Jerry Knight-Smith
The Spotlight Graduate Programme is designed to prepare final year students for the industry, and this includes many opportunities to network with and bounce ideas off the experts! Spotlight recently hosted some graduate events in Manchester, including a Q&A with casting director for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Jerry Knight-Smith. Jerry offered the attendees a great set of hints and tips to stand you in good stead at your next audition! Here are the top 10 points we took away from the discussion:
1. Enter the room with confidence
Even if you aren’t feeling it, coming across in a confident way is very important for a good first impression - if you enter a room confidently, you’re on the path for success.
2. Audition to work - not to please!
Have a professional approach to your audition - remember that you aren’t there to flatter or charm. Of course, being well liked is important, but a professional approach to your craft will demonstrate that you’ll be good to work with in future.
3. Keep doing what you can to overcome nerves
It’s hard to ignore nerves in an audition, and faking confidence can certainly help from the outset. But internally, overcoming nerves can make a huge difference to how you approach auditions in future. Finding techniques to centre yourself is important, and always worth working on.
4. Take responsibility for yourself physically in the room
The way you move and operate in the space will say a lot about you in general. Think about your body language and the signs you give off.
5. Only ask what you really need to ask
If you have questions, try to self edit before you ask: is it an obvious question? Or is it something you really need to know, that isn’t clear? Remember that time is limited, so only ask the things that aren’t obvious.
6. It's not a failed audition if you simply read your part and leave
Be familiar with the text, but you don't need to be off book - just make sure you know your role well.
7. Make specific, bold, personal choices
Don't do nothing and expect to be directed in your audition. While you don’t need to be off book, it is essential that you demonstrate your own thoughtfulness about the part - your approach and personal choices should be clear.
8. You are at an audition to serve the material
You're being assessed on how you deliver the part, serve the material, and how well you will collaborate. It's not a verdict on you personally - so don’t take it personally!
9. Trust yourself
You've been invited into that room as you have something to offer. That’s what got you into the room to begin with! So trust that you can do this, and show your unique approach.
10. Ask yourself: Did I enjoy it?
If the answer is no, you will know why you didn't and that is your answer for your next audition. Don't try and guess if you've got the job - lots of factors go into the decision of who to cast! Reflect on your performance, but don’t excruciate over the details. Your enjoyment of the part and of the audition will tell you most of what you need to note for next time.
Spotlight will be hosting a networking event for students to meet industry professionals in July - keep an eye out for more details closer to the time! And if you’d like to hear more of Jerry’s advice, our YouTube channel will be featuring a full interview soon. In the meantime, join us for the Spotlight Open House during the week commencing the 3rd April 2017. Speakers will be announced very soon! Until then: happy auditioning!