Audition Etiquette

Finally, you've got an agent, submitted your self-tape, and after the Casting Director reviewed your performance, you've got invited to an in-person audition. Learn how to behave and what to bring to an audition.

Before you leave

What to bring 

Extra stuff 

Learn your lines but bring your sides

You need to be off-page all the time, with exact words. Most likely, the material for the audition was carefully selected and rewritten at least a couple of times. You'll unlikely have extra time before the audition to learn them, be prepared and don't jeopardize your chances. Others will have them memorized.

Still, bring your sides with you, just in case.

Staple photo to the resume

If the casting director has to staple it for you, then you're wasting time that could be used for discussing the scene. It's not worth it.

Remember about your makeup and hair

You need to look your best. If you need to curl your hair, have a hair curler. If you need to touch up your mascara or eyeliner, have it with you. But don't do it in the waiting room, and do not do hairspray or perfume. 

Don't bring props or wear costume

I know you might have this cool chainsaw that would be perfect for the role and the scene in the forrest. But it might be better to leave it at home, think how much more artistry you can show to the casting department if you realistically imagine operating such chainsaw in front of the camera. Same applies to stethoscopes, swords, rubber chickens, whips and light sabres.

If you're auditioning for a policeman, don't come to the casting dressed as a policeman. If you were auditioning for a chicken would you come dressed as a big chicken? Wear something that would suggest the role, not the complete outfit. 

Have a set of audition outfits in a few colours that are logo free and match your skin tone.

Leave early

It's better to be 10-15 minutes early than 5 minutes too late. Vancouver can be a bit challenging when it comes to traffic, and often there's no parking space left off the street. 

If you arrive early you'll have a few extra minutes to do extra preparation in the car.

In the waiting room

Be nice and do not distract others

This applies both to the staff as well as to the other actors in the waiting room. Guess what? You might end up working with some of them, if not on this project, then later on. Be friendly and polite.

Even if you meet your long friend from acting classes in the waiting room, and you feel an absolute urge to have a bit of chit-chat and share your excitement and thoughts about the scene? Please don't. You're not doing anyone a favour, neither your friend because you distracting nor yourself because others see what you're doing.

Do not gossip, vocalize or be nosy

Waiting rooms, bathrooms, elevators, and even the street in front of the casting place are public spaces. It might not be the best place to gossip or to share the latest news or your thoughts with someone else. Please leave it to some other time. 

Do not try to read the other actors' names that audition for the role from the sheet. Other's actors acting is not your business. 

In the studio

Avoid physical contact

Keep a safe distance from the casting team and don't jump to shake hands. 

Don't stage the scene

The camera will be already focused on you and it's not a movie yet. Keep it simple. And don't move props in the casting room - that includes chairs. 

There'll be a most likely a T-shape mark on the floor - that's where the camera is pointing.

Play scenes in the requested order and follow instructions

If you change the order, you cause a mess in the recording process. Follow instructions. Scenes are requested to be played in a specific order for a reason. 

If the casting director gives you instructions it is to check if you can take direction on the spot. 

How to start and end a scene

Ok, how do you let the casting director know that you're about to start acting - look down, and get into the public solitude mode simple as it is not breaking the fourth wall. Then when you're done do not say: "Thank you!", "Cut!", "Scene!", and please do not bow. There's a simpler method, simply acknowledge the presence of the casting director in the room. 

After audition

Waiting for the the callback

The one thing you need to get into your head after the audition is that you did your best. Canadians would say: "It is what it is". There's nothing else you can do, If they liked what you did they'll call if not, what happens much more often they will not. Why they'll not call. Who knows. It might be because how you look, how you sound, how you express specific emotions or how you match with other actors that have already been cast. And on top of that there might be other reasons. The reality is that you have to trust that every casting director does his best to cast you. Every time you cross the casting room the casting director is your biggest fan, hopping that you are the one person that is the perfect fit. And if you're not the right fit for this specific role. There's always another role that will be just the right one for you. Don't give up and keep trying. The first acting teacher here from B.C. said said: "Acting is a marathon not a sprint, It takes time", take her advice as well.

Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part

The legendary course on auditioning by Michael Shurtleff is a must-read for any aspiring actor

Confessions of a Casting Director

Help Actors Land Any Role with Secrets from Inside the Audition Room by Jen Rudin

The Actor's Audition Guide to booking roles in film & television

Actors have one job - serve the story by Michael Coleman 

Are you a casting director from British Columbia, and do you believe we've missed anything?  Please let us know immediately by reaching out to, and we'll be happy to make appropriate adjustments.