Solutions to the Five Most Common Audition Mistakes Made by Aspiring Actors

Mar 21, 2024 | Acting, Auditions

Solutions to the Five Most Common Audition Mistakes Made by Aspiring Actors

“Optimism,” said Cacambo, “What is that?” “Alas!” replied Candide, “It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.”

― Voltaire, Candide

In an earlier blog I shared the five most common audition mistakes made by aspiring actors. If you missed it, click this link and catch up before reading further. 

As an optimist, I would like this week’s blog to focus on solutions to the five most common audition mistakes made by aspiring actors. 

After all, our brains work better when we focus on what to do rather than on what not to do. 

1.) Mistake: Not Listening

    Solution: Make the scene about your partner 

The obvious answer to not listening is to listen. As actors, we need to go further, though. Make the most important person in the scene your scene partner. They should not only fascinate you but also be the means for you to achieve your objective. Hang on to every word, take in each movement, and take what they do personally. 

2.) Mistake: “Set” Line Readings 

     Solution: Prepare to Play rather than “replay” 

Actors run into trouble when they memorize set ways of saying or performing a line. This misstep occurs most often with musical theater performers trained to “set” a number. The solution to this problem isn’t to skip your homework but to change your mindset. 

Think of preparation as a rough draft, a digging that sets you up to be present for the playing of the scene based on what you get in the moment from your partner, the director, and the world of the piece. Trust your preparation enough to let it go. 

3.) Mistake: Lack of Focus/ Poor Sightlines 

     Solution: Set key environmental factors at a strong sightline 

This mistake is easy to fix. The first step is being clear on where your partners are and making your environment vivid for yourself. Be strategic and place key people, ideas, and environmental factors at a strong sightline that keeps you present and in the frame. To do so, try putting these key focus points just above the camera or just to the side. This placement will keep your eyes in the frame. 

*For in-person theater auditions, place these critical focus points on the plain just above the heads of the people you are auditioning for. 

4.) Mistake: The Fidgets

     Solution: Ground yourself and put your energy into the scene

Ok, that’s two solutions. Let’s tackle the former first. Ground yourself at the start of your audition. Stand in a neutral position with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and line up your five points: ankles, hip-bones, shoulders, and ears. This neutral start will dramatically reduce your fidgets and free you up to go wherever the scene takes you. 

Now for the latter: put your energy into the scene. Frequently, fidgets are a physical manifestation of an actor not knowing what to do with their energy. Figure out your character’s objective and put all your energy into pursuing that goal. 

5.) Mistake: Showing Rather Than Doing 

     Solution: Just Do It

Welcome to the Nike School of Acting: find out what the doing is and just do it. It’s as simple as that. Don’t show us what you’re doing, do it. Ask yourself how you want to make your partner feel, what you want to make them think, or what you want to make them do. Find that answer, and “just do it.” 

Well, there you have it: five solutions to the most common audition mistakes made by aspiring actors. Next time you commit one of these mistakes, fret not! You’ve got this. Redirect yourself to the solution.

 Happy auditions! 

Learn More About DGS:

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The Danny Greenberg Studio is a professional performing arts studio for children aged 5 to 18 in New York (Brooklyn and Manhattan!) and online, focusing on vocal and acting training.

 Our students star annually in numerous Broadway shows, national tours, and feature films. Our studio welcomes students of all levels between 6 and 18 to foster their love of performing. Once they’re ready, we also help connect students to top agents and casting directors.

Since our debut, we have focused on three values: children, crafts, and community. Our students develop professional techniques and valuable skills they use inside and outside the studio. We help prepare our students for professional success and make personal impacts through charity cabarets and fundraisers.

We provide private lessons in-person and online in singing, acting, audition coaching, industry professional workshops, showcases, musical theater classes, and admissions prep with curriculums tailored to each child’s needs so they can build their self-confidence. Each year, we coach students for DOE High School auditions, and they consistently get into Laguirdia, Frank Sinatra, and PPAS. We teach acting, singing, and dancing lessons in midtown Manhattan, Greenpoint, and Park Slope Brooklyn. Zoom lessons are also available. Contact us for more information on the admissions process.

Contributed by Danny Greenberg, director of The Danny Greenberg Studio.