Hi friends, so I get asked this question a lot. Like more than you would think. Even more than what you’re thinking right now. Yes you. Sorry I got a bit sidetracked there. Anyway, this is a really common question, and to be totally honest, quite a tricky one to answer.
Every actor will be ready to tackle new challenges, goals and milestones at different points, because acting, innately, is a personal craft. And with that being said, the short answer to this question is almost always yes. You can start auditioning whenever you feel ready, however there are a few things that might be helpful for you to know before you dive in headfirst.
So I thought we’d make a checklist. A checklist of things that might be beneficial for you to have in order, or feel confident in, before you dive into auditioning. So let’s get started!
Have I Acted for an Audience?
Now to some, this will seem quite basic. A lot of actors’ first experience of acting is in front of an audience. But for some who have gotten into acting, particularly if their first experiences have been in front of a camera, will have ventured down this long and winding road on their own. Having some sort of audience view your work, be it on stage, on camera, or in the lounge room, is a good first step to take before you have to perform in front of someone, with the added pressure that brings, such as an audition.
Do I Feel Confident I Could Tackle Any Scene?
This is a strange title to a bit of a vague question. When I say tackle, that’s exactly what I mean, a lot of football players go for a lot of tackles, but they don’t always succeed, and that’s fine. What matters is you are willing to try. Long winded analogy I know, but the essence of what we’re getting at here is this: Do I feel confident that if a casting director sent me a scene, of any length, genre, intensity, whatever, that I could do my best? Confidence is an important part of auditioning, so feeling like you can give pretty much anything a go will be a great asset when you’re starting out.
Do I Know What Kind of Work I Want to Do?
Some of you may think this is a silly question, and maybe it is. But bare with me. As I said many of you reading will be keen to do whatever work is available, and that’s awesome! But even if that is your answer at the end I’d invite you to ask yourself the question anyway. Maybe you’re not keen on doing ads. Maybe you really like film and television. Maybe you only want to do theatre. These are pretty big categories yes, but they’re merely examples. The point of all of this is that it’s okay to have preferences, boundaries, and goals.
You should absolutely take whatever opportunities come your way, but at the same time know that it’s okay to say no to something, especially if it contradicts your principles. Your ‘yes’ is an asset, and should be guarded and respected.
All of this is to say that before you start you should do some introspection. Think about what you do and don’t want to do, so that when those things come up, you’ve had this discussion with yourself already, and the path ahead will be clearer than if you hadn’t.
Is My Actors Toolkit Sharp?
So here comes the business. An Actor’s toolkit is a lot like Mary Poppins bag. It’s wide and vast, and unique and kind of magical. And what’s more important is that everyone had different tools in their toolkit. Actors have different tools of the trade for getting out of jams, making something beautiful, digging deeper into something, but what they all should have is a clear, up to date and efficient business practice. This means (without spending your life’s earnings and doing what you can afford).
- Your headshots are up to date.
- Your CV is up to date.
- You’re on the appropriate casting profiles for your base, and that they’re up to date.
- You have an up to date showreel.
What’s My Plan for When It Hurts?
No one, I repeat, no one, is going to get the gig for every audition that they do, and that’s okay. All it usually means is that you just weren’t the right fit, no matter how good you were in your audition. A good audition doesn’t always have to result in booking a job, but that’s another article.
The point is sometimes we’re not gonna get the gig, and even the most positive-Penelope is gonna be disappointed from time to time. This is your sign to think about what you’re going to do for the ones that hurt. Every actor will have different ways of dealing with not booking a job that they really wanted. Some have certain comfort foods, some have certain rituals, some have certain time frames, and some have folks that they chat to. Doing what you’ve got to do to look after yourself when this happens is a form of self care, and it’s kind of necessary. Some people will find it much easier, and maybe you’re one of them! But I would invite you to think about what you’ll do, and refine it over time.
If you answered yes to all of these questions then your answer is yes, if you answered yes to some of these questions then your answer is yes, and if you answered yes to none of these questions then your answer is also yes. You are ready to start auditioning whenever you feel ready. But I would invite you to take your time, work on making the answers to all of these questions a yes, because I believe these things will be beneficial to your journey as an actor. So mull over this list as long as you need, take the action you need to take, get ready, and I’ll see you in the waiting room.