Cold read auditions are auditions where you come in with almost nothing memorized; you may have received the material a day in advance or on arrival at your audition. The local audition scene is mostly, if not entirely, made out of cold read auditions.
Cold read auditions can be daunting, but it helps to be prepared, especially if you follow some of the five vital tips below:
Prepare for your audition.
There is a common misconception that it is impossible to prepare for a cold read audition. Although you may not receive the actual audition material until right before, there are quite a few wonderful ways you can prepare. Going into an audition you should know what you’re auditioning for and therefore have the opportunity to research the show or film and become familiar with not only the characters but the time period, the story, the theme, and so on.
Many aspiring actors come in and literally read when asked to read. If there is one thing casting directors loaf more than anything is ‘pretend acting’. Acting means to do, not to talk. When you are outside the audition hall, take the script and memorize the part you want and walk in to act. Not to read. As much as its not a sin to read, look up from the script. The people running the audition know that you had limited time with the piece of work and are aware that it won’t be perfect. Don’t worry about getting the lines word for word. Pay more attention to the performance and what you feel. Show real emotion.
The fact that you showed up to audition is already an achievement. It shows guts. So don’t be afraid to let loose. Walk in the door with your held head high. You don’t get sympathy points if you’re nervous, not feeling well, or having a bad day. Leave it outside the door. You are being sized up the minute you walk in, so practice good posture and body language before you walk into the audition room. BUT, be wary of overconfidence. Overconfidence is the reason many fail at auditions.
People speak really fast and it damages their audition because no one can understand them. This is because they came late to the audition and didn’t have much time to go through their lines. Being punctual will help you calm your nerves, which are inevitable. Being punctual also helps to get yourself energized. Jump around, dance to a great jam, and move! As crazy as it may seem, it can really help pump you up for an audition.
Use the ‘magic’ words
Walk-in with a big natural smile, and say hello if the casting team is looking at you. Again, when they are done with you, regardless of how you felt you’ve done, just give a big lovely smile and say ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you very much’. Being lovely is something to cultivate. Our industry is so small but trust me, there are too many prima donnas still.