Auditions can be scary, but if you’re interested in being in a play or musical, they’re required.

For my first-ever audition, I walked in completely unprepared. I received my audition materials five-ish minutes before I was supposed to audition, and I had absolutely no acting experience.

I got up there and immediately froze. My voice shook, I didn’t know what I was saying, and I didn’t get a part.

A year or so later, Shakespeare Festival auditions came and I got my materials at the beginning of the day. Naturally, it was Shakespeare, so it was difficult to understand, but I read it over and over, imagining my character, her emotion, etc. I was so much more confident after that audition. I ended up in a group scene as a background character, but it worked.

I’m still so nervous when I go to audition, and I’m definitely not the perfect auditioner, but I know much better how to audition. There are three main ideas that help you stand out in an audition:

Be prepared

Paula Isaacson, a music teacher at Venture High School, says the worst thing an auditioner can do is come unprepared. If it’s possible, get your audition materials before you audition, and spend time developing your character. Make sure you understand what you are saying, because the judges or directors can tell if you don’t.

Then, once you audition, be confident and stick to your character. Whatever you’re auditioning for, whether it be a musical or a monologue, it’s important to practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

And if it’s music, it’s good to practice with a minus track — a music track without the voices included — because it’s likely they’ll have you sing with one.

Be unique

When an audition is given, the director is looking for people who exemplify the traits of the character. As you put yourself out there and show your personality, people will sit up and notice.

Mahonri Stewart, an English teacher and one of the teachers in charge of the drama club at Venture High, says that when he gives auditions, he looks for technical skill, commitment to character, confidence, preparation and an “X Factor” — “a magical combination of qualities created by the auditioner.”

Tylie Coburn, a sophomore at Venture High, adds, “Be yourself. If you can do something, own up to it.”

For example, in a recent musical audition, the director asked if anyone would be willing to try a harmony part. She played the notes, and a couple of people were willing to try. I don’t know if that had an impact on who they chose for the parts in the end, but if you’re willing to try, the director will take notice.

Don’t give up

Even if you don’t get a part, or the part you want, it’s still good to get the experience of auditioning and acting. Rachel Hardy, a junior at Venture High, said before she goes into an audition, she reminds herself that, “You always get the part you’re meant to have.”

With this mentality, it’s easier to be OK with the parts you do get. Remember, if you have a good attitude you’re likely to have a good time. Then, as more auditions roll around, you’ll have the experience. I used my experience from my first audition to better perform in my second one, and I was able to feel good about my audition.

As Stewart says, “An audition is never wasted.”

Next time you go to an audition, remember to be ready, be different and keep trying. Don’t psych yourself out — be confident. You’ve got this!

Savanna Clark is a sophomore at Venture High School. Email her at s.skclark@venturelearning.org.

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