This week on Casting Frontier’s fifth episode of The Curve, Burgandi Phoenix and Govind Kumar discuss some of the dos and don’ts of auditioning. Newbies, in particular, will want to take note of Phoenix and Kumar’s seven audition-room tips to make their acting journeys noticeably smoother.

  1. Be Punctual. Don’t just be on time, arrive early. This is not such a simple task when you’re traveling the jam-packed streets of Los Angeles. However, the goal is to allow enough time to drive, park, walk to the casting facility, and still arrive at least 20 minutes early. Depending on the audition, actors may be required to fill out paperwork, be grouped together with other actors, or receive new sides. But, being we’re all human and sometimes run a bit late, make sure to notify your representation—not the casting office. While walking into the facility, release any anxiety you have about being late; it’s better to be remembered for your acting efforts than being overly apologetic. And it’s okay to ask for a minute before your audition to collect yourself. As The Night Manager’s Tom Hiddleston says, “Be on time. Never underestimate the importance of punctuality.”
  2. Make the most of your wardrobe. There’s a reason actors are discouraged from wearing white, patterns, or stripes; these kinds of wardrobe choices compete with the camera and thus distract from your performance. Click here for more on this topic. Also, wear a different color from the background to avoid disappearing into the scenery, if possible. Make sure to wear clothing that reflects your character type without being too literal about it. A button-down shirt, for example, depicts a professional essence, and one need not show up wearing a pilot’s uniform for the part of a pilot. Additionally, bring back-up wardrobe selections in case you’re called for another audition, and you don’t have the time to go home.
  3. Respect others’ boundaries. While some casting directors might choose to warmly greet performers and initiate a handshake, many others have expressed they do not want talent to approach them for handshakes, hugs, or the like. This isn’t meant to be standoffish or rude, but rather to keep the casting process moving along at a good pace and to maintain a professional relationship. “I think it goes back to you deserve to be there, you got this slot … just be grateful, be present, and not add on so many layers of extra talking, extra conversation, and nerves,” Govind says.
  4. Pay attention. Sometimes actors, in the quest of thorough preparation, can get locked in their own thoughts. While preparing certainly is important, it’s equally imperative to be a keen listener. “When you walk in the room, be a good listener,” Burgandi says. “A lot of times, they go over instructions. And if you’re in your head thinking about what to ask, what you’re going to do in your audition, how you’re going to impress them—stop. Because then you’re not listening, and most of the time, you’re not doing what they asked you to do. Or you have to ask them to repeat themselves, which is also a sign that you’re not listening.”
  5. Take direction. A big part of an actor’s job is to demonstrate the ability to take direction. Any actor who gets the job needs to be able to take direction on set. It all starts in the audition room. Even if the direction strikes you as strange, play along and give it your best effort. Attentive listening coupled with a playful spirit is what it’s all about.
  6. Be yourself. Know yourself; take care of your own needs before an audition; be authentic in the audition room. And whatever you do, don’t take yourself out of the running by assessing which actor in the lobby is likely to land the gig. “Don’t cast the other people in the lobby,” Govind says. If you find it’s inevitable you compare yourself to the competition, do as Tom Hanks does and see your authenticity as an advantage. Hanks once said, “If there are nine guys auditioning and they’re all gorgeous, I have an advantage, because gorgeous guys are a dime a dozen. But if they need someone else–like a goofy guy with bad hair who is just okay–then that’s me.”
  7. Don’t crash an audition. Basically, anything that gets you noticed for the wrong reasons is not advised.

What audition etiquette tip do you find most challenging to follow? Which tip is most useful to you?