Wendy Alane Wright is a former talent agent and talent manager in Hollywood. She currently works as an acting career coach and is the author of several books that offer step-by-step guidelines for aspiring actors. Secrets of a Hollywood Talent Manager—How to Break Into the Business is written for Los Angeles actors, How to Be a Star Right Where You Are is for actors who live anywhere but LA, and How to Get Your Kids into TV, Film, Print & Commercials Without Spending a Fortune is intended for parents. 

In her How to Stand Out in Auditions YouTube video, Wright speaks to performers who are just starting out, sharing four tips on how to shine brightly in the audition room.  

1. Be on time. 

Yes, it may sound basic, but punctuality is actually very important in show business. Arriving on time “makes you stand out in a good way—like a professional,” Wright insists. Of course, sometimes things happen that hold you up despite your best efforts—an accident on the 405 freeway, a flat tire, or perhaps a zombie apocalypse. But a pro will go to lengths to make sure those instances are minimized as much as possible. Punctuality is a sign that you value others and you respect their time; it demonstrates that you’re dependable—which is essential should you book the job and need to be a team player on set; it boosts your confidence when you know you’re on top of things; and when you’re on time—or better yet, 15 minutes early—you can take a breath and go over your lines so you can put your best foot forward in the audition room.

2. Memorize your sides.

Wright encourages actors to learn their lines—really know them inside and out. She insists doing so shows “You’re prepared. That makes you stand out in auditions.” (It should be noted that there’s some wiggle room here. Although casting directors do want actors to be familiar with the material, many will excuse actors glancing at the script if needed as long as they then look back up and give an engaging performance.)

3. Make interesting choices.

If the script calls for a specific emotion such as anger, Wright implores actors to dig a little deeper into their own experiences and imaginations to avoid giving a predictable, safe reading. “Human beings are complicated,” she insists. “When the casting directors are watching the same thing over and over and over and over, [a nuanced delivery] stands out because it’s different.” She refers actors to a book titled Building a Character by the legendary Russian stage actor and director Constantin Stanislavski. The book is the second of three volumes that make up his Acting Trilogy (An Actor Prepares is the first, and Creating a Role is the third). Building a Character discusses the external techniques of acting including the way a performer uses his or her body, movement, diction, singing, expression, and control. It focuses on detailed strategies and exercises to build a strong foundation for any given character, including vocal patterns, timing, and rhythm. “If you do the work as an actor, you’ll go deeper than what it just says on the page, and you’ll study human behavior,” Wright says. 

Take your acting career seriously.

Love acting and pursue it passionately.  Wright asserts, “If it’s really your passion … it’s more than just wanting to be an actor, it’s more than just having a pretty picture with some classes on the back; it’s about becoming a great actor.”  This commitment to your craft, to the profession, and as a collaborator will make you stand out, even before you’ve worked out all the kinks. When you’re grateful for the opportunities to do the work you love, others will notice you for the right reasons.