Auditions are massive feats of organization and communication. There are many people waiting to be seen, just like you. Remaining patient helps us all keep our calm and stay on target.
I’m constantly asked my opinion on what you should sing for your audition. Sing something you’re comfortable with, that you know and that is right for the show. If it’s in your book and they see it, they may want to hear it. Explaining why you can’t sing a piece in your book is far worse than just leaving it out untill it’s really ready.
If you have an appointment time, you should be there early. We don’t have time to search for you and hold your spot. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful to all the other actors who arrive on time. Accidents happen, and monitors are sensitive to this, but you can’t arrive late and expect to go into the room immediately. See Rule #1 and you’ll have a much better day, even when you arrive late.
Sometimes auditions run late. Monitors do their best to maintain the schedule, but that can’t always be maintained. Do your best to make sure you have given yourself ample time to wait for your opportunity in the room. Make sure that parking meter is full, bring water, snacks, etc. Monitors don’t want you to wait around either and we’re doing our best to get you in that audition room and on your way.
If you bring anything into the audition space, bring it in the room with you or be prepared to lose it. Monitors are often asked to watch a purse, a suitcase or even a baby while actors audition (these have all really happened to me). The monitor cannot babysit your personal belongings, including your baby, while you audition. Leaving your personal belongings immediately outside the audition room should also be avoided…yes, including your baby.
Monitors are required to post certain items for the actors at the audition. This information is there to help you understand who is in the room, the details of the job, including required time commitments, salaries, and what the audition panel would like to hear for the audition. The answers to the most frequent questions monitors are asked are often found on a posted piece of information at the audition.
This may be contrary to rule #6, but we all have questions that develop at auditions. Monitors are there to help you, and should be able to provide you with information if you can’t find it listed anywhere else. Ask a monitor politely and patiently and we should be able to provide an answer for you. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll ask someone who should know.
The audition panel usually arrives through the same doors you do. They frequently leave the room for breaks and see you while you’re waiting for your audition. With producers, directors, artistic directors, musical directors, pianists, casting directors, monitors, timers, etc., you just don’t know who is observing you that day. As a timer for an audition, I once was asked to switch places with an artistic director in the audition room. The artistic director wanted to see the audition from a different perspective, and boy did he get one, as almost no one acknowledged him during the call.
At the initial call, less is more. The panel wants to cast you, and wants to see the best version of you in a very short time, but they know very quickly if you’re right or wrong for their production. Even if a call allows you to sing a full song and give them two monologues, select your best 16 bars and cut your best monologue down to the strongest moments you can offer. If they’re interested in you, you’ve given them time to ask for more. If there’s a time limit, time yourself at home before arriving. When you push past your time, you may appear inconsiderate of the panels’ time and the other actors waiting for their time in the audition room. Nothing beats strong preparation before you enter the audition room!
No matter how well you did, take a moment to thank everyone when leaving. A strong, professional finish can boost any audition. You have a very small window of time to make first and last impressions on everyone. That pianist might really be the musical director. That timer might be a director. The monitor might be a casting director. All of those scenarios have been true in my experience. Take a moment and collectively say thank you on your way out of the audition room, and even the audition space itself. Those extra two words can imply a lot about what it might be like to work with you, and every second counts, from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave.
Matthew Tyler is an Equity actor living and working in Los Angeles. As a monitor and timer for Equity, he’s had a lot of opportunities to learn some invaluable lessons about the audition processes in New York, Los Angeles and the UK. As a stage actor, Matthew has appeared around the world, including the National tour of “Mamma Mia”, the European tour of “The Rocky Horror Show” (Brad/Frank N Furter) and in the London company of “Phantom of the Opera”. Locally, you may have seen him as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (Cygnet Theatre), Chauvelin in “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (Welk Theatre), or as Jasper in “…Drood” (Sacred Fools). In his spare time, Matthew’s an amateur carpenter and a certified massage therapist.