Every director knows that sooner or later, they’ll have to hold their first audition. The process of auditioning for a play is exciting and terrifying for actors, directors, plays, choreographers, designers, and everyone involved in a play. That’s why it needs a lot of organization and know-how to avoid making things more tense than they already are. A good audition should make everyone involved feel they are in an organized professional environment. It should run as smoothly as possible, and above all, it should leave directors with a vast amount of options that satisfy their casting necessities. Here’s what you have to do:
Plan it Out
This is not one of those things that you can just do in the spur of the moment. First because, how many aspiring actors do you really thing can show up to a casting call by an unknown director on a short notice in any given day? And second, because you really need to know what you want.
The first thing you have to do is find a space to hold your auditions. Depending on your needs you could use a room just big enough to hold you, your assistant, a camera, and the auditioner, you could need a space big enough to let the auditioner dance, or a special place with nice acoustics to hear out the auditioner’s voice. Likewise, think of the waiting space. Is it an open call that you’ll be heavily promoting across multiple channels? Then you need a comfortable waiting room. Some theatre schools rent out rooms just for this purpose and their prices aren’t that prohibitive, so be sure to check with your local schools. Besides they might even promote your casting call if you’re looking for roles that could be fulfilled in the school’s population.
Promote Like Crazy
If you want to cast a wide net, you need to promote your audition as if your life depended on it. Create an attractive flyer, with a well written description of the project and characters. Clearly state all the important information potential actors will need to know about your play (Will they need to prepare a monologue? Read a script?). And for the love of theatre, do not forget to put down your contact information as well as the date and address of the audition. Then, it’s time to put your flyer up in all the relevant places. Social media can be helpful as you can promote it through Instagram or Facebook. But don’t rely solely on the digital realm. Get out there. Leave your flyers at your local café, all theatres in town, colleges, and theatre schools.
Set It Up and Move it Along
On the day of the audition you need to be there a few hours earlier to set everything up. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do everything alone. Ideally you should enlist two or three people to help you with the details. Also keep in mind that this is the time to watch the talent, not talk to your designer or your writer about your play. Respect the actors, watch them perform, and give them feedback as appropriate. Above all, have empathy for those at the other side of the table, don’t ridicule them, or make them wait forever just to ignore them once they’re in front of you.