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How to Prepare for an Acting Audition

Whether you're trying out for a community theater or a Hollywood production, give yourself the chance to shine.


  • Step 1: Be yourself Be yourself. No matter what character you're auditioning for, it's your unique personality and charisma that will set you apart from the crowd.
  • Step 2: Prepare headshot and resume Have a headshot that looks like you and a well-organized resume listing your acting experience.
  • TIP: Professional headshots can cost a lot of money, but if you search online or contact the photography department at a local college you'll probably be able to find someone who will shoot you for a very low fee.
  • Step 3: Choose monologue If you are expected to do a monologue, choose one that suits your strengths and that fits the role.
  • TIP: It's a good idea to have a number of monologues ready to go at any given time so that you won't have to do much work to get the appropriate one performance-ready.
  • Step 4: Memorize sides If you are expected to read sides that have been sent to you before the audition, prepare for them as you would for any scene. Although it's normal to hold the sides during the audition, it's best to have them memorized so you're not stumbling over the lines.
  • TIP: Read sides for cold reading If it's going to be a cold reading—meaning you won't see the sides until you arrive at the audition—read through the sides at least two times to get a sense of who your character is and what's going on in the scene.
  • Step 5: Rehearse Rehearse the monologue or sides until you're comfortable. And get feedback from a trusted friend.
  • TIP: If you'll be auditioning for a play that's been published, get it and read it through at least once.
  • Step 6: Dress appropriately Dress appropriately. You're more believable reading Chekhov in a long-sleeved blouse than in a tube top, but a full-on Halloween costume will look, well, like a Halloween costume.
  • Step 7: Prep at home Do some vocal exercises, some stretching, and some breathing exercises before you head off to the audition.
  • Step 8: Be early Make a schedule that will get you to the audition at least 20 minutes early. Allow time for traffic or any snafus you might run into.
  • Step 9: Turn off cell phone Turn off your cell phone. It will only distract you and others.
  • Step 10: Make a good entrance Realize that you start auditioning the minute you walk in the door. Sign in, fill out any paperwork, and avoid distractions.
  • FACT: James Dean and Paul Newman, both relatively unknown actors, did a screen test together to audition for East of Eden, but Dean won the part.

You Will Need

  • A headshot and resume
  • Appropriate clothing
  • And appropriate makeup

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