Auditioning is a process. Once you get an audition you know you will most likely be up against many other talented actors / actresses. A successful landed role can be as the adage goes, “opportunity meeting preparation” but we seldom discuss what that preparation is.

Preparation can be the difference between becoming a working actor rung for callbacks or a professional auditioner.

Preparation for an audition can entail many things. We often think we left homework behind in grade school or college. But any good audition requires homework.

It’s often a good idea to research the role and type of role you are auditioning for. You have to be specific, if it’s a doctor research the type of doctor it is, whether it’s a pediatrician or a coroner. It’s important to read the casting call very carefully as there are usually subtle hints that could make or break the audition in terms of what the casting director and role are calling for.

If you have more specific information from the casting call or additional information provided, it’s important to look at information very very carefully.

Once you have more information, it’s important to ‘find the character’. It may mean looking deep within yourself, past performances, or drawing on personal experience. You might also hire a coach to help you find that place. Read the entire script if you have been given it. Context is king. Characters seldom live in a vacuum. Find where the others are so you can find where this character fits in with the others, how the character reacts to the others and how others react to the character. Chew on any notes the scriptwriter provides. Memorize the lines and connect with the room.

When you walk into the audition it’s important to be confident. Bring your headshot and resume whether you’ve been told it was sent or not. This is a show of confidence and preparedness. Think about the entrepreneurs on Shark Tank who resort to crying and the sob story when no shark is making an offer. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be that person. Be the person with personality. You don’t have to go off the rails like a Price is Right contestant but you should be able to demonstrate confidence with professionalism.

If you are fortunate enough to land the role, a coach can help you continue through the performance to help hone in on the place where you bring the character to life. An acting coach can help you find the character. A coach can review the script and help you with context and finding creative ways to express emotion. A coach can help you paly actions, not just recite dialogue, find the side of the villain that’s hard to empathize with, as well as display vulnerabilities where you otherwise may not find any.