If you dream of pursuing a successful career in acting, your first step would be to get admitted into a suitable drama school. It is the best place to understand acting, learn about its history, and gain experience along the way.
But getting into a drama school is not that easy. You have to go through multiple rounds of auditions and interviews to get accepted and organise all the essential paperwork according to each institute’s requirement.
The best way to prepare for a drama school audition involves efficient planning, plenty of training, seeking help from acting coaches, working on monologues, and most importantly, being yourself. We discuss all that in our article, along with solid tips you can count on the day of your audition.
P.S: We are going to assume that you stumbled upon this article after you’ve already decided which drama school or schools you’d be auditioning for, so we can jump right into how you can prepare for them.
Here are five ways to prepare for a drama school audition
1. Ensure Efficient Time Management and Planning
It would be best if you started planning for everything as soon as you narrow down and select the schools you wish to audition for. And please take note of your budget. A lot of people don’t start thinking of expenses until a few days before the audition is set. Auditions don’t come cheap. So, make sure you’ve applied to the schools you have the most confidence in.
When planning for accommodation and travel, give yourself the time to calmly decide the most suitable location if the school is not in your city. Make it your goal to arrive at least a half to one hour before your audition starts. This will give you sufficient time to take a look around the area to get familiar and see if it is the right place for you.
Properly organising a game plan of everything will give you the boost you need to move forward with all preparations efficiently. It will be so much easier for you to focus on preparing and training for the actual performance rather than where you’d be staying or how you’d be reaching there. The messy everything is, the more stressful you’ll be.
2. Train, Train a lot and Train some more
You don’t need to have every detail figured out to audition for drama school. In fact, sometimes, the audition process will be the same transparency you need to determine whether to advance on your academic goals. However, that also doesn’t mean you don’t practise at all!
You'll practically be preparing to fail if you don't train yourself for the big day. While you may think, "That's what we're going to go to drama school for", you still need to practice and train to show the school what you can offer.
Here, you not only need to work on your acting skills but everything that goes into making your performance as excellent as possible. This includes working on your voice, movement confidence, and most importantly, understanding the character you're playing, their motivations and how you relate to them.
Look for a voice trainer or search the internet for exercises that help with enhancing your range and the way you articulate your words. Similarly, for practising movement, we recommend you take up yoga or find short courses that help with body alignment and connectivity.
However, the courses, such as the Alexander Technique sessions, may come a little pricey so keep your expenses in mind!
3. Take on an acting coach
If you have the time or budget to seek help from an acting or voice coach, go for it! Acting coaches will help you be sincere with yourself and pinpoint significant possibilities for shaping your career so that you can rest easy even if you don’t get accepted at the end of the day. You’ll know it will be worth the investment.
The most promising acting coach will not give you a specific or “correct” way to go about your performance but will provide you with numerous methods you can take advantage of to the best of your abilities. They help you be more comfortable on stage and attain something beyond your expectations.
4. Select and Work on Best-fitting Monologues
Finding monologue material can be scary and time-consuming, so the best area to start is yourself. Find something that speaks to you, how you perceive the material as an artist and human. Ask yourself if it shows a peek into your soul. All of this is so significant to demonstrate your humanity through your piece.
We suggest that you choose something active, dynamic, and not too passive. Pick something you know yourself and the others around you may relate to. Don’t start off wrong by selecting something too different to stand out. There is a high chance it will backfire.
You also need to keep in mind that many drama schools often instruct candidates to pick from a specified piece. So try to find one where you can show various skills and be versatile.
Take some time to read the whole play where the monologue is from. Try to place yourself in the place of the character, making the same decisions and find justifications for why things are a certain way.
If there is something you have trouble understanding, the internet will always be there to help. You can also ask your coach, discuss with friends or look for short classes that specialise in explaining scripts in detail and in comprehensive language.
There is no such thing as a flawless monologue. Don’t waste time just working on the monologue; rather, work on your whole performance with a particular focus on movement and voice.
5. Don’t be afraid of being YOU
You hear this everywhere. ‘Just be yourself.’ It sounds like an outstanding accomplishment we all seek for. But, what does it indeed mean?
Well, the answer to this comes in many keys, one of which is letting go of the fear.
As Yoda once said, “Fear is the path to the dark side...fear leads to anger...anger leads to
hate...hate leads to suffering.” (Yes, we love Star Wars too)
When we try to fit into society, we quash our true self-nature from fearful views about what others may think. If you are anxious about being judged, it is not the true you that you’re apprehensive about; it is the version of yourself that you have constructed by the norm.
Our point is that you’re auditioning to get into a training program at the end of the day. The audition panel does not expect you to be the embodiment of perfection. So be a little messy, be original. Give yourself the opportunity to breathe. Don’t try to perform in different accents to convince the panel you can act.
They want to see the ‘real’ you. So, the easiest thing you can do is play as yourself. So, put yourself in the scenario that the script dictates and use that mindset to keep you on track.
Here Are a Few Tips on How to Get Through Your Audition Day
1. What to wear
Avoid wearing anything that might make it hard for you to move freely. Most people prefer wearing tracksuits or leggings to their auditions, but you can find an accessory that brings a little bit of the character you’re playing and contrast with your choice of clothing.
And no, we don’t mean a costume. Something subtle and unrestricted will do. Perhaps a watch or small jewellery item will do.
Warm-up exercises are great before leaving for your audition. If you’re an early bird, you can even plan on going to a park early in the morning and doing basic meditation or running some laps around. It does wonders for stress.
If you search for voice warm-up exercises on the internet, you will find numerous easy routines you can do to prepare your voice to perform its best.
And remember, be sure to get a good night’s sleep and have a nutritious breakfast. We would most definitely recommend you take an extra bottle of water or any fresh drink with you (if the school allows snacks, take those as well) so you won’t have trouble in the long day.
This is more of a reminder than a helpful tip. We understand the day may be stressful for you, but that would be the case for almost all individuals who will be auditioning alongside you.
While the environment is a little competitive, be sure to interact and be acquainted with your fellows and student helpers. Who knows? Maybe they’ll provide some tips for you for your audition or pass in a good word for you.
4. Be open with the panel- but not too open.
Generally speaking, drama schools look for candidates who are straightforward, open and confident in their own skin. It would help if you showed them you are aware of the complications, have done your research, and can and will put in the work even when days get tough.
However, don't end up looking like a show-off in an effort to stand out to the panellists, especially during interviews, where they are just looking to see your personality and if you can work well in a group.
Ask questions when you feel conflicted or have a genuine query. This also lets the interviewers know you are serious about joining and makes a good impression.
5. Accept any feedback/direction
In an audition, your adrenaline picks up, and everything may seem too fast, extra exciting, and delivering lines would feel emphatic. Then it's all over.
In many drama school auditions, the panel won't initially show a lot of emotion nor provide feedback. And it would be best if you didn't demand one either. If, in the rare case, they do give feedback, show that you're open and willing to listen without complaint.
If they direct you a certain way, don't just ignore it thinking it wouldn't do you any good. Qualification and adaptability are crucial to your success in drama school, so take their advice and adjust your performance accordingly.
They may even ask for you to repeat a section or dialogue a different way. Following their direction, show them you're willing to try even if it may seem confusing and you fail to nail it. The fact they even directed and asked you to repeat only shows how much potential they see and you and are willing to teach you.
6. Just go for it!
The panel will search for individuals who are not too apprehensive about looking silly. If those voices are already sneaking in at the audition stage and keeping you back, drama school will be very challenging! Be ready for surprise cold readings and workshops.
You must be aware yet still need to take the time to enjoy and relish the opportunity to perform. At this point, all you can do is move forward.
Even if you make a mistake during your set, show the panellists that you are willing to try again. That’s what the school wants; people who can be trained to the best of their abilities and beyond.
Final Conclusion- Don't give up
Well, there we go. We hope you were able to find a better way to prepare yourself for your audition.
Various elements go into how a drama school picks its students. You can’t possibly condition yourself to meet every school’s requirements. So stick to what you can manage, and then keep on improving. Never let any result, acceptance or refusal, be what measures your talent or the final judgment on whether you should or shouldn’t pursue acting.
These results are not the leading decision makers of your fate. That is for YOU to decide!
We guarantee you will feel incredible satisfaction and a sense of achievement, regardless of how your audition turns out. So keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best. Good luck!