We’ve all seen those award winning TV and film productions from Kenya and around the world. We’ve idolized the personalities/celebrities we see on the movies and TV productions… so much such that the nudge to get into the game, be an entertainer, leaves you restless on your seat. Making the decision to get into the entertainment industry isn’t quite as tough as actually showing up for your very first audition. Be it for a TV commercial, role in a play, film or TV series, the most important thing is to be very prepared.

What to carry for your very first audition.

After getting your guts together, to head out for your very first acting audition, it is important to ensure you do not forget anything you might need. Even if it is your favorite lucky charm handed down from your grandma! I recently got my hands on a very practical MAHI Leather duffel bag, in which i throw everything I need before heading out.

A fashionable duffel bag such as this one from MAHI leather can be very useful for having your props in one place. (Image credit: Antony Trivet)

In a nutshell, before leaving your house for the audition, ensure you have a proper understanding of what the role is about. Do a background check on the auditioning company/agency, try and find out their preferences. If for instance your audition is about a sports Advert/film, it wouldn’t hurt to throw a jersey into your ‘prop’ bag. Also, the waiting lines at the audition can sometimes be quite long. It would be useful to throw in a water or juice bottle to keep you well hydrated for your role. A small energy snack pack might be a great idea too! Be keen not to  bring merchandise from a competitor’s brand into the audition! For the ladies, an additional pair of shoes might be ideal. A role might need you to be in heels, sporty shoes, or smart leather shoes.

what are the basic elements of an audition room/session?

It is quite easy to spot a Casting Call or Audition announcement, especially on social media. However, not very many people know what you’ll encounter when you get there. Here are a few basic elements.

1. Sign in: When you get to the location, the first thing is usually a sign in (usually a list taking your details etc), after which you’ll be shown the waiting area. You should make sure to jot down correct contact details and also alternative number just in case your regular phone is unreachable.  It is from this place that you rehearse on your lines (if provided prior) as you wait for your turn to be called in the room.

2. Audition room: Once you are called into the room, there will be basic elements that you’ll easily spot. First, is ‘Your Spot’ always marked by a distinct X on the floor. You’ll be expected to stand on top of the mark, facing the camera, or the casting directors (or both). Other crew members of the casting team will likely be behind the camera or seated at a desk in front of you.

3. The introduction: You will then be asked to slate / introduce yourself. At this point, you are required to say your name, age, the role you are auditioning for and maybe a brief bio about you. You will then show your palm (front and back) towards the camera so that they can see your hands. You will then turn left, pose for two seconds, turn right, pose for two seconds then turn back towards the camera.
That marks the end of your introduction.

4. The audition: Afterwards you will go straight into the scene as soon as the casting director calls ‘action’. Normally, there will be someone in the room reading the dialogue in the place of the person you are with in the scene. This person doesn’t stand with you in front of the camera. They stand behind the camera. In essence, you’ll do your role responding to them.

You are not allowed to move all over the room. Lol. You stand at your spot and give a performance…. Well, there could be mild movements here and there, but not be so exaggerated as to take you from within focus of the camera.

Key things to remember when going for your very first audition

For some auditions, you won’t have the privilege of having gone through the script (your lines) before hand. You will arrive and get the lines at the auditions. It might get even worse, LOL, in some instances you will be expected to do cold reads where you see the lines for the first time in the audition room.

In other auditions (especially commercials) you will be expected to do improv or improvise.

Walking out from your very first audition

After trying out for your role, it doesn’t end there. It is always a good idea to say a prayer of thanksgiving and in faith that you’ll get the spot. Also, it is also a good idea to call your friend, mentor or confidant to let them know about how you handled the audition.

The confident look after an audition… Be sure to let your friends know how you did (Image credit: Antony Trivet)

Don’t forget to pick your bag from the waiting area if you left it there! LOL! Best of all, the most important step after taking your first audition will be preparing for the next roles. Always be on the lookout for adverts about open roles for films, TV and commercials.

If you have any further tips on the basic elements of an audition for first-timers, feel free to tell me about them in the comments. Sharing is caring. Sharing is sexy! Try it!