Acting Auditions for Teens: 7 Tips for Success
Acting auditions for teens can be really stressful: between handling high school, homework, and hormones, what teenager could possibly have time for an acting career?
And yet thousands of teens every year are featured in commercials, TV shows, feature films, even on Broadway. How do they do it?
Well, I started acting when I was 12 years old. And I was one skinny, awkward, pimple-ridden, nervous wreck. But I booked jobs because I was passionate, driven, and determined. And looking back, I did seven simple things that helped me reach success as a teenage actor.
So without further ado, the seven tips for successful acting auditions for teens...
1. Be prepared. This is number one for a reason. Being prepared is the best way to ace an acting audition for teens. An audition is just like a job interview, and you should treat it as such. But what does it mean to be prepared?
Do your research: Who is the director? What else has she directed? Have you read the script? What do you know about your character? How would you play this role? The more questions you can answer about the project, the more empowered you'll be in the audition.
Practice makes perfect: Have you memorized your material? (See my article about how to memorize.) Have you made thoughtful acting choices? Did you rehearse it over and over again? The more you practice, the more empowered you'll be in the audition.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice...
2. Keep it professional. Like I've said before, directors work with actors that they know, like, and trust. So your demeanor should be composed but expressive, reserved but friendly. Don't do anything outlandish in your audition, but don't be afraid to take risks in your work.
3. Speak up. Very often while I was growing up in the industry, I let people speak for me. Parents, directors, producers, friends, and teachers. Why? Because I was too meek and nervous to speak for myself. I thought that my opinions were stupid. But eventually, I found my own voice.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, challenge authority, and voice your opinion. This is your business, your art, and your life. Always listen to the opinions and advice of others, but stand up for yourself.
4. Don't worry about your looks. I know it's a dirty word, but I'm gonna say it... puberty. Every teenager goes through it. It makes you too tall or too short, changes your voice, makes you smell like a farm animal, and scrambles your brain like an egg.
But trust me when I say this: The less you worry about your looks, the better your acting will be. So abandon your vanity and dig into the work.
Besides, there are other people who are hired to worry about your looks. They're called make-up artists, costume designers, and stylists.
5. Choose appropriate material. As a teenager, it's so tempting to pick material that is more mature. But that's a trap. You might think it makes you look cool or edgy, but it really just calls attention to you. The bad kind. As a general rule of thumb, try to appear younger at acting auditions for teens.
Besides, there is so much good material out there written for teenagers!
6. Exercise. Don't under-estimate the power of a good workout before you audition. Not only will it make you look better, it will improve your self-esteem, energize you, and release some feel-good endorphins. What could be better? (Just make sure to shower when you're done...)
7. Involve your parents. Your parents. You know, those two middle-aged people you encounter when you walk into the kitchen...
Chances are, if you're going to be a successful teenage actor, you're going to need Mom and Dad. They'll pay for your acting classes, drive you to your acting auditions for teens, and cheer for you on opening night. And their wisdom is your greatest resource.
To this day, whenever I'm in a situation I can't figure out, I always call my mom. Because she always knows exactly what to do and looks out for my best interest.
So there you have it, the seven tips for successful acting auditions for teens. One more piece of advice, perhaps more important than all the rest: Be yourself.
"But actors are supposed to play different characters. Why would I be myself?"
Developing a character is finding what you have in common with that character and bringing it out. Don't add, but subtract. That's the key to being a good actor, young or old.