How To Handle A Physical Audition

Illustration by: Nick Bertozi

By Marci Liroff

In case you didn’t get an email announcing my next Audition Bootcamp classes in Los Angeles, here’s the link. I’d love to work with you.


This week I called upon my Twitter followers to ask for questions for my column.

I like to know what the community needs from me in terms of advice. Here are a couple of questions:

“So many times, I get an audition scene that has so much action in it, or it’s intimate and a kiss is called for. I never know how to play it. What should I do?”

Great question. My coaching clients always ask me the same thing. Sometimes it seems like we pick the most impossible scenes for your audition. Believe me, we’re not doing it to trip you up. We need to see what your character will do in all emotional (and physical) situations. We need to see your range.

Obviously, you can’t get in a brawl on the floor with the casting director (although I know some of you would probably like to!). But there are definitely ways to show that you’re slapping or getting slapped—you can react by pulling your head back and grabbing your cheek in shock. Imagine and create the hot sting of blood rushing toward your cheek. If done well, it’s very believable.

My best advice in this situation is not to ask what we want you to do, but rather ask, “How have you been blocking this scene?”

Remember, we’ve been auditioning this scene for the last several days, if not weeks. We know exactly how it should work in the audition setting. When I was casting “Vampire Academy,” we chose a scene where our lead character was having a fight training session. We needed to see her throw some punches, and when the romantic lead threw her to the floor and they were inches from each other’s faces, we cheated it by having her throw herself against the wall and imagine he was on top of her.

Another question I often get is this: “What’s the worst that can happen when we have a ‘bad’ audition? Never called back? Career over?” First of all, no, your career is certainly not over. But you must ask yourself why you had a bad audition. Trace the steps back to understand what sent you off the tracks. Nerves account for a lot of people blowing an audition. Many get nervous because they’re not thoroughly prepared. If you’re not completely off-book, you won’t be able to execute any of the direction you may receive. If you slugged back a double macchiato before your audition, your body might be careening with caffeine.

We can usually tell when you’re just having a bad day or you weren’t sufficiently prepared. If you come in and stink up the room because you weren’t prepared, it will be a while before I call you back for another audition.

The best thing you can do in this situation is learn from it, make the changes you need to, and then move on. If you hold on to that memory when you come into your next audition, it will overwhelm you with the fear that you’re going to make the same mistake. Learn and move on.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

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By Marci Liroff

Self-taping your auditions—it’s all the rage. We ask you to self-tape your auditions for several reasons. Sometimes we can’t audition you live due to simple logistics: I’m in Los Angeles and you’re in Sydney, Australia. Or it’s an open call situation and we want to discover someone new and audition the masses (like the new “Star Wars” movie). I’ve also noticed several casting directors using the self-tape as their pre-read. Instead of having the actor come into their office to pre-read for them, they’re asking for self-tapes only. For me, if I’m in the same town as you are, I’d rather have you come into my office so that I can work with you.

Apparently the whole notion of not only having to act in a scene, but direct, be the grip, gaffer, and editor is a daunting task for some. I want to urge you to get comfortable with this because it has become a necessary part of the audition process these days. We’ve all heard how Eddie Redmayne self-taped his audition for “Les Misérables” on his iPhone. There are literally hundreds of these stories out there.

Several of my coaching clients and actors I’m auditioning have expressed a paralyzing fear of making these self-tapes. This surprises me because I thought being in control of the situation would be freeing—unlike in the audition room, where so many elements are out of your control. You can do as many takes as you like until it’s something you’re happy with submitting. Here are a few ways to keep self-taping from being overly stressful.

Identify what’s scaring you.
Is it the technical aspects of actually making a good-quality audition? OK, that’s easy to fix. You can spend some time learning how to do it by practicing with your camera, lighting, and a scene partner during downtime, when there isn’t the urgency of a deadline for an audition. I blogged about the technical aspects of self-taping a while ago, and it’s still one of my most-read blog posts.

Know thyself.
If you simply aren’t good at technical issues and have no interest in learning, how about taking that aspect out of the equation? It’s easy to find a friend or a service that can tape you professionally so that all you have to think about is being the actor.

You’re lost/a perfectionist/too many choices.
Next to getting thrown by the tech issues, the actors I’ve talked to say they tend to shut down when faced by the void that exists when you don’t have a casting director or director in the room to guide you through the scene. Yes, this can be daunting, but remember that it’s a level playing field because everyone is dealing with the same issue and we understand that. On the other hand, this frees you up to make your own choices and put your personal and singular stamp on the role. We want to see what you bring to the role, and nothing better shows us your instincts than the choices you make from these tapes.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Please share your comments on self-taping and how you overcome any problems you’ve experienced!

Glad you’re here – Marci



“How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp” is now online!


Hey gang, Happy Holidays! I wanted to let you in on a special limited time offer on a new online course I’ve created. Thousands of people have bought my Audition Bootcamp DVD and many have asked me to put it online.

Are you a really well trained actor, but you seem to stumble when it comes to auditioning?!

Or, are you just starting out and need a road map to navigate the slippery slopes in Hollywood?

How would you like a VIP pass to learn casting secrets on booking more acting jobs from one of the top Casting Directors?

Based on my top-selling DVD, Marci Liroff’s Audition Bootcamp, I created a one-of-a-kind online class to help actors learn exactly what it takes to win the role in a film and television audition. I’ll take you step by step on the audition process.

This is a must have for any actor! The online course is designed to provide a clear perspective of acting and auditioning from the business end to the creative side. From my over 35 years as a casting director and producer, I will give you insider secrets such as:

  • Audition techniques that will make them remember you
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  • Easy-to-follow video clips take you through the process from preparation, what you should be doing in the audition room (and what not to do!), and your all-important mindset before, during and after the audition.
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Competition is huge in this business – this course will give you the edge over other actors.

I know you’re all being sold gimmicks and tools and shortcuts to “Get on the red carpet” and “Get on the A-List”…frankly I don’t think that should be your goal. If all you’re seeking is fame, then you’re probably in it for the wrong reasons.

I believe, and I think you do too, that you’re an artist – a storyteller. You want to be on stage and on screen because you have a story to share and characters to embody.

“Your audition should not feel like a visit to the doctor! It is your time to show us what you’ve got. I will help you feel more in your body than you’ve ever felt before.” – Marci Liroff

Read what people are saying about Marci Liroff’s “How To Audition For Film And Television: Audition Bootcamp” – scroll down after class description to “Testimonials”

I’m teaching this course on the UDEMY website. UDEMY is an online education platform and one of the largest destinations for online courses. I find it to be easy to use, free to join, well organized and once you subscribe you have lifetime access to my course.

The course is priced at $29. You can get a lifetime of viewing for this course here. I’ll be adding new lectures throughout the year.

Make a commitment to yourself and take advantage of a rare opportunity to sharpen your audition skills under the guidance of one of the most respected and successful casting directors in Hollywood.

Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you’ll take advantage of this offer!

Marci Liroff

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