Audition Guidelines
I am compelled to offer concrete information for conducting one's career. This is only advice/guidelines. Like all advice, it may be successfully discarded from time-to-time, but these guidelines will help the young professional stay professional and be perceived as such.

I've asked dozens of top agents, managers, actors and casting directors this same question over the years and have always, always gotten the same response. The question is, "What is the absolute minimum you expect from a professional?" The answer, "Showing up on time and prepared."

In show business (it's not called 'show art') "on time" means fifteen minutes early. Some people hate it when appointments show up early. Take the extra time to relax and look over any materials you may have then announce yourself on schedule. Never show up late. Never show up rattled or stressed. Never show up thrown together. Always show up on time, prepared, and put together.

First, some general advice on auditioning. If you have an agent she or he may advise you on which clothing may be appropriate for a particular audition. If not specified, dress should be clean and casual. Make a note of what you're wearing in your journal.

If you get a call-back, don't change your clothes or appearance. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Come to the interview alone but let someone know where you'll be and when you'll be back. Call that person if things change.

Never bring your children, relatives, friends or pets along.

Show up on time! Call your agent (never the casting director) if you are running late or in an emergency.

On the job, use ink, not pencil, when you sign in and out. Don't let someone else sign in/out for you and don't initial the sign-out sheet until you actually leave (the sign-out sheet is a legal document and the only way to verify claims for overtime on the job). If there is no sign-in sheet, ask for one. If no sign-in sheet is provided, report it to your nearest Union office.

Unless you're auditioning for a part where you have to be needy or desperate don't make success in show business your only objective. Treat the audition as another opportunity to act. Don't waste your time trying to read the casting director's mind. Go in and show them how you would do it. It's your instinctual, spontaneous interpretation that is interesting. If they have other ways they want it done, they may direct you.

You are the only one who is responsible for your safety and welfare. Don't assume anything. When in doubt, ask. Call your Union.

THINGS TO HAVE IN YOUR POSSESSION WHEN YOU ARRIVE:

A briefcase. It doesn't have to be pricey just professional. Never carry in a ruck-sack, gym-bag or backpack. I can't tell you how many positive impressions have been made by carrying a briefcase or how many negative ones have burdoned the backpack/gym-bag/ruck-sack carriers. By the way, a briefcase is intimidating as hell to your competition.

In your briefcase: Headshots and resume's, pen and pencil, high-lighter pen (flourescent yellow), appointment book, Directions to the interview, Thomas Guide, journal, phone/pager, any sides, scripts, or copy you've been provided, something to read, CD's of your audio and video reels (if you have them), copies of your social security card/photo ID/proof of citizenship (I-9)/work permits, etc., and finally, a hand towel.

Headshots and Resume

Pen - always sign in/out in ink.

Pencil - NEVER write on sides or copy in ink. Anything you write on the copy must be erased before you hand it back.

High-liter Pen - Do not high-light your lines if you have to hand the copy back - ask, before you high-light, "is it okay if I high-light my lines?" Flourescent yellow makes the lines jump off the page (unless the copies are made on fax-paper) and easier to read when you're emotional.

Appointment Book - If they want to know of any conflicts in schedule you have to be in control of that information. Get that, "It can all be worked out in the end," crap out of your head. If you've got a conflict, it's a conflict, get it worked out in the beginning, not in the end.

Directions to the interview. "Oh, I'll find it," means you won't.

Thomas Guide - Don't be a man and rely on your instincts to find the place. Ask for specific directions and follow them. Map your route out. If you are OCD (as I am) make a dry run the day before if you have that luxury. NEVER call the interviewer en route to tell them you're late, if you're late they know it. Don't be late because you got lost, you'll look like a fool.

Journal - write down everything, address/phone number/the people with whom you met (correct spellings) and their titles (especially the receptionist)/what you wore/what you read for (I've been known to record the interview discretely so I know what I said and did - a valuable tool for call-backs that happen six-months later).

Phone/Electronic Devices - Turn that damn thing off! Having ringing, beeping, buzzing and vibrating going off in an audition means that you think someone more important than the interviewer might be trying to contact you. "BEEEP," wrong! Thank you for playing our game. There is no consolation prize on your way out.

Sides/scripts - If you got the sides or copy 24 hours ahead of time, like you're supposed to, don't forget them at home. The worst thing you can do is start off an interview with an apology of any kind but worse still is to not have the thing which is central to the interview. Sometimes, when they see you in person, they have something else for you to read. Adjust.

Something to read - 75% of a working actor's day is spent waiting. Waiting for your scene, waiting for set and costume changes, waiting for film to be loaded, waiting for lights and sound to be adjusted, etc., etc., ad nauseum. All that waiting can be un-nerving. If you don't have a script to study have something to read that will help you relax. Don't use the time to balance your checkbook or make some calls, you'll just come in harried. I carry Henry David Thorough's "Walden," and "The Little Prince" because they relax me and give me perspective. They work for me. Find the thing that works for you. If it's the Torah, bring the Torah. If it's the congressional record, bring the congressional record. You get the idea.

CD's/DVD with your audio/video reels. If you have those things they are the supreme marketing tool. I keep the video on 1/2" VHS as well as the audio on cassette, in addition to the CD, because you never know what is going to work best for the interviewer. You have to give them to the interviewer. Don't ask for them back. Don't expect them back if you're told they will send them back. These are premiums which you must plan to give away. Don't give away the masters or the originals. That would be, er, um, really stupid.

Copies of any work-related documents, eg: Driver's license, work permits, INS documentation (I-9), Social security card, etc. You may be hired on the spot. Be prepared with those things. Know your W-4 information and how you want deductions made.