Auditions can be nerve-wracking experiences, particularly if you are auditioning for a stranger. Here are some tips to give you the best chance for a call-back and a role.
Much of success in theatre and film is who knows you. When you are starting out, of course you are unknown. Classes enable you to learn your art while you develop a network. Look for classes from a company that actually produces shows as well as teaching classes. They are the ones who will be auditioning people anyway, so if you let them see that you show up on time to class, and work well, your chances of being cast are higher. In fact, many companies with classes will actually find students to fill certain roles when they have not been able to find outside actors. They would rather work with who they know than who they don't. Classes also give you a chance to ask someone else to watch your monologue and give you some pointers. If you have a reference from a good teacher, it can get your foot in the door with someone new. Many times, theatre schools are the first stop for casting directors who are looking for a certain type. It makes sense to go to the richest source first. Add yourself to that pool.
Get a real monologue.
Pick a two minute monologue from a real play.
Too many auditioners, particularly young ones, pick something they have found from the internet. We call these "Googlelogues"©.
Invariably, they involve a one-sided phone call.
Trust us, they are always bad. Just don't do it.
Put in some effort, show that you are actually interested in theatre or film and give us a monologue that suits you, that you have clearly spent some time with. While there is good stuff on the internet, there is also bad - a lot of bad.
Pick a monologue that suits your type.
Your monologue should show you off as an actor. Part of this is understanding your physical attributes, including age, gender, physicality, apparent race, height, weight...
Have an honest look at yourself as a physical specimen. Do not lie to yourself either way. Are you a child, a youth, a young adult, adult, mature person, senior citizen? What is your apparent ethnicity? What is your gender? Are you angular, or curvaceous or muscular or even corpulent? Short or tall or neither?
There are good roles for all types. Be very careful about monologues that are either too old for your age and look (no that doesn't make you sophisticated) or too young for your age and look.
Don't just memorize; internalize.
It is not enough to remember the words and what order they go in. You have to understand what your character is saying so that you can say those lines as if they came straight from your heart. You want to know that piece and the feelings of it so intimately that it could be your own thoughts, and your own experiences that you are telling about on stage.
Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse.
If you show up at an audition without being prepared, without having your monologue down, you are telling the director that you are not interested enough in the role to put any effort into landing it. You may as well (almost) not even show up for the audition. You should have one each of comedic and tragic modern, period, and Shakespearian monologues at the ready for any time.
Yes, you will need to rehearse these, but it will be worth it when you are prepared for almost ANY audition. If your excuse for not auditioning is "I didn't have a monologue." or "I don't have it memorised." then you are setting yourself up to fail.
Now, go back and read this part again. Do it now. It's THAT important.