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audition tips from Liz Mullinars casting 

  1. Be prepared — Regardless of how it works in the US, Australian Directors and Producers expect actors to learn their lines for an audition. Not having to worry about your lines in the audition gives you the opportunity to be flexible and open to direction. Ask yourself the important questions about the character before you walk in the room like “Who am I and what do I want?”.

  2. Present yourself in the best possible light — Take the time to look your best, arrive with enough time to feel confident and as relaxed as possible. Dress to suggest an understanding of the character but not in a “costume”. For example; if you are testing for the role of a barrister and you come dressed in board shorts and thongs it could make it harder for the decision makers to see you in the role, however, you don’t need to come in wig and gown, that’s going too far. In this instance smart professional clothes would be perfect.

  3. Stay flexible — In the audition room – be ready to let go of everything you have rehearsed and try something new. Often we’ll ask you to vary the scene simply to ensure you are a flexible actor, not because your initial interpretation of the scene was wrong.

  4. Accents — If you’ve been asked to screen test using an accent be sure to brush up your accent and come in feeling as confident as possible. You want to be able to concentrate on your performance and stay in character rather than spending the whole test listening to your accent.

  5. Be genuine — Directors are deciding if they want to work with you just as much as they are deciding if they feel you are right for a role. Let them see the real you.

  6. Do your research — Find out all you can about the storyline, your character, the period, the style of the work, the Director etc. If it’s an existing series be sure to watch some episodes so you can judge where to pitch your audition. If there are no details available don’t be afraid to ask questions in the room if you feel it will help your audition. If there is a full script to read — come in and read it!

  7. Listen, listen, listen and keep going — if the Director or the Casting Director gives you notes, listen carefully and be sure to use them in your next take. If there is a reader in the room respond and engage with them, they are there to be the other character or characters for you, they are only in the room to support you, so use them. If you are dealing with a less than ideal reader, do your best, everyone is testing with that reader, it’s an equal playing field. Don’t stop mid audition because you forgot your lines or you’re not feeling “it” — keep ploughing through. 9 times out of ten the stumble through mid-scene is worth it if you get to the end, there might have been some really terrific moments before you lost it. We can edit screen tests to ensure only your best work is presented.

  8. Self-testing — If you can make it to the casting session, that is by far the best option. If not, and you have been invited to submit a self-test, keep it clear and simple. Lighting should be gentle but not atmospheric (fluoro is often too severe, candlelight is not sufficient), audio quality must be clear without too many other sounds, your backdrop should be as neutral as possible and not detract from your test. Be sure to place yourself closer to the microphone than your reader. If your reader is operating the camera it might be best to try and lock off the frame in a medium close up and then move the reader further back to avoid their voice dominating the test. The note about “keep going” does not apply to self-tests. We don’t want to see more than 2 takes of a scene and we don’t want to see stuff ups in a self-test.

  9. Keep your online profile up to date — your Showcast, Casting Networks or similar profile should always be up to date and accurate, ideally with a showreel link (yes we do watch them and yes we do send them to Producers and Directors to view when we’re recommending you for a role).

  10. Enjoy every audition — remember if you have been asked to screen test we believe you are potentially right for the role, we want you to do well. A good screen test is never wasted, good work is always remembered by all of the decision makers.

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