How to Audition for a Movie (and Get The Role) | 6 Tips for Success
Wondering how to audition for a movie and make it to the big screen? Here, we’ll share six important tips for success.
It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in learning how to audition for a movie as a child, teen, or adult. It also doesn’t matter what kind of movie you’re interested in or what city you plan to audition in. Knowing how to prepare for a movie audition will require the same kind of tenacity, skill, and knowledge, no matter what the details of your situation may be.
many major movies are filmed in big cities like los angeles and new york. Whichever big city you’re closest to, you should start by looking at your local movie office. For example, if you search online for “massachusetts state film office,” you should see a website like this.
Each state also has its own film office, which will have all the information you need about what’s being filmed in that state, local auditions, etc.
How to stand out in a movie audition?
wondering how to start acting? here are six simple steps to follow:
- find the part
- try smaller productions first
- get some background
- know how to apply for movie auditions (and where to find information )
- prepare for tough competition
- work your way to better jobs (and union jobs!)
Don’t worry, we’ll go into more detail on how to audition for a movie the right way in our guide below.
Keep reading for more helpful tips to help you succeed at your next audition.
How do you find out about movie auditions?
There are a few different ways to find movie audition listings.
One is to get a talent agent. this can be tricky, but if you have any actor friends with their own agents, you can ask them to pass on their information to you. Make connections wherever you can find them and don’t be afraid to be shameless in your self-promotion! Contact agents whenever you can, including on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
While you want to avoid sounding too desperate, it can be helpful to approach potential agents with a quality pitch about what you can offer them, rather than the other way around.
In addition to finding an agent, there are other ways to discover auditions. for example, you can:
- going to a talent show: Agents often hold open auditions to discover new talent
- find casting calls online
- use social media to find castings casting and open auditions
- create an account on a casting site like project casting
- contact a local film office for a list of current productions they are hiring
how to audition for a movie: 6 steps
Knowing you know how to find an audition, let’s dive into how to audition for a movie with no experience.
1) find your role
This is a necessary step for those interested in how to audition for movies.
For most movies, it might sound superficial, but looks really are everything. You should try to assess which characters you could play in the film. for example, do you look like a high school student? Could you play a daughter or a sister? Or could you play the dreamy boyfriend?
Think of all the possibilities of characters you could play and start looking for the most suitable auditions.
2) find smaller productions
If you’re immersing yourself in film for the first time, you don’t necessarily have to shoot for major commercial films.
You may not realize it, but whichever city you happen to be in, there are plenty of independent and student films being created and shot all the time! this is a great way to start and see what it’s like to be on a film set. It’s also a good way to enhance your acting resume.
If you’re a college student, you should also get involved in your school’s film department. many students will need to make movies for their careers. These won’t pay well, but it’s a great way to start learning about filmmaking and how to act in a movie.
Also, low budget independent movies and short films are a great way to land a speaking role!
3) find background work
If you’re wondering how to audition for a movie, you’ve probably already received some acting training or taken acting lessons. if so, don’t be afraid to choose big budget movies! but movies are made every day and they usually need tons of extras.
Side or background work: You’ll learn a lot about movies, earn a decent salary, and maybe even appear in a movie. the role may be small, but you never know: depending on how you look and how you act on the set, you could land a featured or speaking role.
If you want a speaking role or a leading role in a movie, doing some extra work is essential before you can achieve these goals. the extra work will help you get comfortable in front of the camera, get used to terminology, and learn how to make a film.
You may or may not need to audition for additional work. I encourage you to search online for local casting directors – try searching for something like “background casting directors” and a list will come up near your city.
You can then sign up to have your headshot and resume on file, and if they have a position open for your character type, they’ll contact you.
4) watch for audition prompts
Many audition notices are posted online on sites like playbill, backstage, actor access, and casting networks. Some of these commercial websites require a monthly fee to sign up, and some of them even allow you to “audition” by submitting your materials online.
Your materials should include a headshot and acting resume, and perhaps a reel of video footage. With the industry changing so much, it’s easy to take head shots and get some movie footage with youtube, vimeo, vine, etc.
5) expect competition at auditions
When auditioning for a movie, you should expect a lot of other people to audition for the same role as you. sometimes the writer or director may be present in the room. other times it will be interns from a local film office who will shoot a quick shot and send it to the film for further consideration.
No matter who is in the room, you should always be professional and courteous at all times. an audition for a role in a movie will usually consist of reading lines from the actual movie, for example, with another actor, who is also being considered for a role.
sometimes you’ll have seen the script before, and other times you’ll be given it on the spot. the casting team has a lot of people to watch and they are usually tired from auditions. If you’re wondering how to best audition for movies: Be prepared and don’t ask too many questions.
Don’t be afraid to experiment either. Although you might consider yourself an action movie actor, playing with other genres can improve your skills in your preferred area.
Looking for inspiration? here’s a video that has some helpful tips for getting started in improv comedy:
6) Make your way to the syndicate
if you work in film and television, you will eventually need to join the union, which is called sag/aftra (Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Recording Arts).
The union will make sure you are paid fairly, have health insurance, and do not work in unethical circumstances. many of the leading roles and speaking parts in major motion pictures are cast by actors represented in the syndicate, and usually only syndicate actors can audition for that role.
if you are not in that union, then you are considered non-union. non-union actors get paid less, so you’re probably wondering, how do I get into that union? the answer is: it will take some time, work and dedication!
You will have to do extra work for a few years before joining the union. if he auditions for a movie as a non-union actor and is immediately offered a union role, the production will give him the opportunity to join the union. no one can just join, you have to earn your way!
Also by doing extra work, you can sometimes get “waivers”, which are given when the role is meant for a union member, but they can’t find a union member to fill it. once you get three waivers (three days on set), you’ll be eligible to join.
However, there is an expensive initiation fee to join, and once you join, you can’t do work that isn’t covered by a sag/aftra contract (meaning you can’t do non-union work).
does it cost money to audition for a movie?
This is a question many new actors ask themselves. should you pay money for the privilege of auditioning?
The answer to that question is always a resounding no. auditions should never, under any circumstances, cost you money.
although you will most likely spend money on the audition in other ways. For example, you may have to pay to have your headshots printed, have your actor’s biography written, or pay for a talent agent. however, you should not pay any money for the audition itself.
If you are asked to pay money for the audition, it is most likely a scam. run the other way!
How do you audition for a movie with no experience?
Whether you’re inexperienced or have auditioned several times for movie roles, the audition process is pretty much the same. Work hard to find and maintain connections in the industry and you’ll likely find yourself on the path to big screen success in no time!
The first step is to know these tips on how to get an acting job, but keep in mind that making your way in the film industry will take time. With hard work, patience, and persistence, it will all pay off, and you’ll have fun doing it!
Liz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music, including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!
photo from nic’s events