Perth Film School

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A Blog Post


The following are the best tips to prepare children for their next on-camera audition:

1. Memorise, memorise, memorise.

I know that you get the script the night before, and sometimes you get more than one audition for the next day with lots and lots of lines. It can be crazy business, and everything happens very last minute. Some kids aren’t prepared enough when they walk into a room, sometimes you can feel a bit nervous and end up staring down at the script the whole time. Or even worse, instead of listening in the scene, you can just thinking of your next line. It shows in your eyes. One of the most helpful things you can do is get a parent to help you memorise your lines. Make it fun. Talk to them about what the lines mean. You want to make sure you are as prepared as possible so that you can go in and be fully present in the scene, and also be open to direction.

2. Read the whole script.

Who has the time, right? I’m telling you, it’s that important. It should be part of your homework. It will give you a huge advantage in auditions, as well as a context for the scenes. Find the time to at least skim through it so you understand what is happening. Many times in a callback situation, the director will ask you about the script, the character, and the circumstances. You want to be prepared for this. There are clues in the script that will help fuel the scene. Read the crossed out lines right before the scene starts and dig for clues about the character.

3. Don’t obsess about the breakdowns.

If the character description calls for a “precocious, whimsical, happy go lucky 9-year-old” don’t try and force yourself to act that way in the scene. It will be there or it won’t. Breakdowns are just a guide, and often times they change. With everyone reading the same lines, it’s the personality that stands out. The wonderful, original, authentic essence of that actor. That is why they are cast. Of course you want to suggest the character, but the second you try too hard it becomes a red flag and looks forced in the audition.

4. Don’t worry about the clothing and hair too much.

Of course it’s important to dress like the character, but you never want it to be a costume. If you worry too much about the color of the shirt, and whether or not the hair should be parted in the middle or off to the side, you are going in the wrong direction. Nobody ever lost a part because their shirt was blue instead of red. It’s about the essence of the person, and how they come across on camera. Too much costume can make it seem like they are overcompensating for their acting skills.

5. It’s okay to say “no.”

You were just given three auditions for tomorrow, as well as a self-tape. It’s too much! It is far better to have two auditions that are fully prepared for, than four mediocre auditions where they aren’t doing their best. Ask your agent if any are flexible. If not, pick and choose the ones you feel are most important, and pass on the others. You don’t want to get to burnt out. Your agent won’t be mad.

6. Master on-camera audition etiquette.

Just be natural and listen. That’s all any casting director wants. Most kids who come from the stage end up projecting too much, exaggerating their facial expressions, and not paying attention to the intimacy and stillness of an on-camera environment. It’s the easiest way to make sure they don’t get the job. You should walk into the room with confidence (naturally), learn to slate your name into the camera (naturally), take a breath, and then disappear into the scene (naturally). The more rested you are and the more focus that you have, the less fidgety you are. The last thing you want is to show up to an audition yawning, moving around in the chair, and completely distracted. On-camera auditions are about concentration, stillness, and listening. You should sit up in the chair (or stand), look at the reader off-camera, and focus their eyes on that person. Never look into camera (unless it’s a slate), and avoid the eyes wandering around too much.