and my tips to nail it
First: you have to secure your audition appointment time slot. This is done online. And the slots fill up quick. Be ready and logged into you audition page the moment they open it up. One time I was in the Bahamas at a beach bar, and the Halloween Horror Nights audition time slots opened at 4pm. I paid for the wifi just to be able to get on. If I would have waited until I got back from my trip – there wouldn’t have been any more times available. It’s that aggressive.
Second: you show up on your date/timeslot and wait in a long line. You will sign in and get a sticker with your audition number on it. This goes front and center. The judges only know you as ‘372’, not as ‘Emily Bain’. I always put mine at the top of my tank top, centered. You will stand with a lined backdrop and get a body-length photo taken: a la prison lineup. Height is uber important to every role.
Third: once your section of numbers gets called in, usually in groups of 20 or 25, you will get placed in rows of 5. The judges will ask a simple question or give you a phrase. Everyone goes one-by-one, stepping forward when it’s their turn and answering the question/repeating the phrase. Depending on the audition, you may get asked to answer a question or you may get told to “get people excited saying ‘happy mardi gras’“. My examples include: “My name is Emily, and my favorite movie character is Ferris Bueller” or “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!” (with big open arms)
This is a type-out. They need 13 females with an athletic shape who are tall and have big energy. (As an example.) You either make the cut or you don’t. Out of thousands of auditioners.
Fourth: if you passed the first round, now it’s time to put on stilts. Get your shin guards on and go pick out a pair of stilts. Sometimes they assign them to you based on your height. I typically prefer this way. Not all stilts are created equal. Then climb up on the scaffolding and strap them on. It usually takes a few minutes for everyone to get them on but be quick so you can- I learned is the important part after my second audition- START PRACTICING. While Suzy over there is still sitting messing with her straps, you can be walking around, practicing squats, getting a feel for your borrowed stilts, and getting comfortable. Once I picked up on this tip it helped my auditions (and my confidence) a LOT.
Fifth: you’ll get put into rows of 3 and given instructions on what to do. Three at a time, you will make your way across the stage/gym/open area. You will walk to a certain spot, and back. Then the next row of three will go. Then the next. When your row is up again – you will now walk backwards across the gym. Then when you go again, it’s skipping with your left leg leading, then your right leg leading. Then grapevine with left leg and grape vine with right leg. Then Parade-turn left and Parade-turn right. Etc etc you get the drift. A bunch of movements across the floor. At the end you will squat, then squat with right left, then squat with left. It sounds weird until you see it. This form of ‘squatting’ is actually how we bend down and say hi to you, shake your hand, take photos, etc.
Sixth: wait. You will get an email at some point weeks later saying if you were cast or not.
I went to an audition once where we had to learn a dance routine between steps 4 and 5. It was challenging. But I just smiled and faked it. They want people with excitement. To this day every time I hear ‘Shut up and Dance’ by Walk the Moon, those eight 8-count moves come back to me.
I also had several auditions where they asked if the women would show their stomachs (if they were comfortable). The Mardi Gras auditions in particular. Some of those costumes are on the showy side. They need a certain look to fit them. It never bothered me. I get it – it’s a performance with expensive costumes.
Step 1.5 should also get a mention: look your best. Curl or straighten your hair, wear form-fitting or tight clothes. Put on a full face of makeup. FULL face. You want to look your absolute 10/10. I went to a stilt workshop once and one of the presenters said she always looks for people who took their time to get “Stage-ready”, even though it’s a simple audition. I can appreciate that.
I’ve had some great roles over the years – both stilt and non-stilt. I used to think I wouldn’t audition again. I felt satisfied with my performing time with Universal. However lately I have been missing performing, I love doing it! So we will see