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Before you audition

Why you didn’t get the part you wanted?  
Before you audition, read this…

(adapted from High School Theatre Teacher group)

Read on to learn the top reasons directors give for not casting someone, and what you can do to improve your chances. 
Understand that it is not to tell you WHAT you are doing wrong to make you feel badly, but it is to HELP you get more prepared for auditions and LEARN how to get better for the next audition.  Break a leg!

Reason #1: Someone else gave an interpretation that was closer to what the director wanted.                
Many times when reading a script, or singing a song it seems that there is only one way to play it, and that’s what you try for when auditioning. There are, however, many different ways to interpret most parts. Maybe someone else performed the character closer to the director’s vision.  
How to better your odds: Many directors explain their vision of the characters and the show before the auditions take place.

  • Pay attention to those character descriptions and try to give the director what he seems to want to see.
  • Also there’s nothing wrong with asking the director “How do you see this character?” or “How do you want this scene to be played?”

Reason #2: Someone else was better prepared at auditions and during shows OR just has a better voice, acting skills, or dance skills.                        
Or… has a better voice for the role. You auditioned for a belter but you’re a legit soprano or you auditioned for a tenor but you’re a bass.               
Maybe you had a lot of homework the week of auditions and didn’t have time to memorize the lyrics to your song. The actor/singer who gives the more polished performance because they prepared ahead of time has an advantage. A director can’t help but be impressed by someone who’s put that much work into it before they’ve even gotten the part. That doesn’t always mean though that your hard work will be enough. Know your limitations in singing, acting, and dancing.

How to better your odds:

  • Memorize the song you are singing or the monologue you are delivering. You should know it as well as your own name.
  • Practice your audition material over and over. Rehearse your audition in front of a mirror. Watch the expression on your face as you sing the song and ask yourself if your expression matches up with the song you are singing and the story you are telling. Then practice the song in front of your parents or friends but tell them to NOT BE AFRAID OF TELLING YOU THE TRUTH.                 
  • Listen to others at auditions and during shows.  Are there people who are better singers, actors, or dancers? Ask them to help you.
  • Ask others at the audition and in the show where you fared. Do you stand out? In a good way? A bad way?

Reason #3: The director was unable to get you to deliver what he or she wanted to see.   
Directors sometimes try to give you direction as you’re auditioning. He or she is probably checking to see how well you take direction in an effort to determine how easy you are to work with.
How to better your odds:

  • When the director asks you to change your interpretation, do it!
  • Listen carefully and ask questions, if necessary, to make sure you’ve got the idea he or she is working for.
  • The director is not necessarily telling you that your interpretation is wrong, he or she just wants to see what you can do and if you are flexible enough to work with easily.

Reason #4: You’re a known quantity but...You have difficulty remembering lines or learning choreography or singing the music.                        
OK, so maybe there was one show where you really had a lot of other things going on in your life and you gave the part short shrift. Or maybe memorizing lines is just not as easy for you as it is for other people. Or you just aren't a good dancer. Or you don't "hear the notes" and often go off key. Whatever the scenario, the fact remains that for one or more shows, you had trouble with one of these important things. Rarely is this problem somebody else’s fault.  If you can’t remember the lines, you’ll have difficulty developing your character, and everyone on stage with you will be very, very nervous -- not exactly a situation conducive to turning in a great performance. 

How to better your odds:

  • If your line, choreography and vocal problems are just a fact of life, take it slow. Audition for smaller roles that you know you can handle, and try to get a grasp on your technique: your problem may very well stem from how you memorize. Some tips:                 
  • Highlight your lines in your script in one color, and use a different color to highlight your cues.     
  • If you learn better by listening, make tape recordings of your lines to listen to and repeat.
  • Some people like to make flash cards.
  • Work with a partner who will read your cues and let you deliver the responses.
  • Listen to the songs over and over until you have the tune and notes ingrained in your head.                                         

Reason #5: You have a reputation for being difficult to work with. 
If every director you’ve ever worked with didn’t understand you, if in every show there’s someone you just can’t get along with, or if "no one likes you," or if you find yourself only talking negatively instead of bringing positive solutions, you need to do some serious thinking about how you interact with others. Producing a play is a team effort, and if one member of the team is consistently not part of the program, that person will not be asked to play on the team again.
How to better your odds: The best policy is not to earn the reputation in the first place. You can do this first of all by:

  • Remembering that what the director wants is paramount.  The director’s goal is to help everyone in the cast to perform at their best and create a cohesive production.
  • Don’t argue about casting, blocking or interpretation, especially in front of other cast members. 
  • If you disagree with what you’re being told, do it anyway, then talk to the director afterwards. Don’t gripe about it if you are still told to do it.  
  • Don’t ever badmouth the show, the leaders, the production staff, or the other actors. 
  • Don’t point out others’ mistakes, particularly those that have no effect on you personally: that’s the director’s job.
  •  If another actor consistently makes a mistake that affects you and the director doesn't catch it, let the director know privately afterwards so he or she can correct it.
  • Be courteous of others when you’re not on stage. 
  • Keep your voice down in rehearsal, and don’t engage people in lengthy conversations that might make someone miss a cue.

Reason #6: You are perceived as unreliable.                    
So you’re late once in a while, or have to miss rehearsals because you’ve got a lot going on and inevitably there are scheduling conflicts. No big deal, right? Wrong! Being consistently late wastes everyone’s time and makes you look less than serious about the show. Missing rehearsals can throw off the entire schedule, especially if you have an important part. Do it often enough, and directors are going to cast someone who has a better grasp of exactly how short the rehearsal period is.
How to better your odds: 

  • If rehearsals start at 9:30, be there at 9:20. 
  • If you have a basketball game every Saturday morning, let the director know at auditions so he or she can plan accordingly (and don’t take it too hard if that conflict puts you out of the running for a part). 
  • If you must unexpectedly miss a rehearsal, let the director know as soon as possible. 
  • Above all, do not ever drop out of a show without an extremely good reason. If you must drop out, tell the director by phone or in person (talk to him or her, don’t just leave a message on voicemail or email), ASAP, and be prepared to tell him or her why you have to leave. If you leave the director in the lurch, he will be very reluctant to cast you again.

Reason #7: Remember the real reason we do this.                        
People should love being in the show to be in the show not for what the role or show gives to them but based on what they can bring to the show. 
This isn’t really a reason why people don’t get cast... but it is very important to remember, the point of theatre is not to turn every kid into a stage star. While we try to give as many kids an opportunity as we can, most of our kids will come and go in their years with us and NEVER have a lead role. And hundreds of kids have done just that and still say it is one of the best experiences in high school.
The reason we do this is to teach you to be more self confident when you are in front of people in other situations in your life. When you are introduced to someone for the first time do you stand with your head down and bashfully, quietly mumble to the person you are meeting? Or do you stand on both feet with your shoulders back, a smile on your face and a voice that can be clearly understood? Believe it or not, these things are very important in the real world and become even more important as you grow into adulthood.
We are trying to teach you to be good people which is a lot more important than getting any singular role.
This program has graduated lawyers, engineers, managers, business professionals, welders, contractors, salespeople, soldiers, artists, chefs, musicians, teachers, nurses, landscapers, scientists, store managers, and more but we are most proud of the fact that we have sent good people out into this world. At the end of the day, that is the goal. 
(adapted from High School Theatre Teacher group)