Much of all casting decisions will be made based on your first few minutes in the room rather than just on your monologue or song performance.
So, what can you do to ensure that you make a great first impression?
1-Arrive at least 15 min early.
Always allow ample time for traffic, parking and finding the correct room within the building when traveling to auditions. It is best to enter relaxed and calm rather than rushed, flustered and apologizing for being late. No director wants to work with someone who will be late for call times.
2-Be friendly with EVERYONE!
Someone will be checking you in for your audition and collecting your headshot and resume. Don't assume that since this person is out in the hall that they are insignificant-they are often the stage manager, company artistic director, the spouse of the director....you get the point. They very well may give feedback to the folks casting the show about people who were late, rude, unprepared or Diva-esque!
3-Bring These Important Items with you:
-Headshot: Color 8x10s are preferred. It is not necessary to have these professionally taken for younger children. However, it is very important that the headshot truly looks like your child. You want the auditors to remember the child they saw in their audition when they are making callbacks and casting decisions. Keep it natural and close up!
-Resume: At the top of the resume you should include your child's name, DOB, your email, phone number, the child's height and vocal range. Since children grow and change all the time you need to update this frequently. Knowing your child's height can be extremely important when casting children since often they need to fit into a family or peer group and how tall they are can impact how well they "fit". Vocal range is important since the Music Director knows which notes each character needs to be able to easily sing. Of course you also want to include any experience your child has with singing, acting and dancing which should include classes, workshops, choirs etc...
-Sheet Music: Bring your two songs and prepare them one of two ways; If your selection is only on 2-3 pages taping the pages together so that they lay flat on piano music stand works great-then your accompanist doesn't have any page turns to maneuver. If your selection is on 4 or more pages it is best to place your pages inside non-reflective sleeves and place those in a 3 ring binder. You might even want to put little tabs on the sleeves to make them easiest to turn. ALWAYS mark your sheet music clearly in pencil of all cuts and where you will start and end so that the accompanist is clear. You want to make their job easy so they can make you look good! Be sure to thank your pianist when you retrieve your music from them!
-Song Book: Bring the rest of the songs you sing well compiled in the back of your "book" in case they want to hear something more or different than your first 2 choices. This happens more often than you might think and you always want to be able to say yes when asked if you have anything else.
4-Know Your Conflicts!
When you arrive at an audition, the person checking you in will likely give you a form to complete. On this form they will ask a variety of questions and each company's form is different. However they ALL will want to know if you have any conflicts during the callbacks, rehearsal and performance dates. Bring your calendar with you and be prepared to list any conflict that would take precedent over a rehearsal or performance. Make sure to include any family holidays or weekend trips, family events like graduations, birthdays or weddings, school required activities, scouts or church outings etc...you get the idea. EVERYONE is busy, but the expectation if your child is cast in a production will be that the show comes first ALWAYS. The only exception is when you are completely honest up front and write down your conflicts on the audition sheet. If a director wants you they may choose to work around your schedule. If you accept a role in a show and then inform them of a rehearsal you need to miss they often will not honor it and there can be hard feelings either on their part, yours, or both.
5-Dress for Success!
You always want to look your best when attending an audition. For girls this means wearing a dress or skirt and top. For boys some khakis or nice jeans with a collared shirt on top works great. You don't need to dress fancy necessarily, but something that looks neat and like you made an effort rather than rolling in from a romp on the playground. Hair should be neatly arranged away from your face so that they can clearly see all of your facial expressions. Stay away from wearing solid black, and consider choosing a color that will stand out and help them remember you. These first impressions are important!
Basically it comes down to this-Look great, arrive early, be organized with all pertinent information and materials, present them in a friendly, confident and respectful way and you WILL MAKE A GREAT IMPRESSION! You want your auditors to like you and want to work with you. Make them feel that you cared enough about their project to be prompt and present yourself to the very best of your ability, and you respect their time enough not to waste it.