During a party a few years ago a younger actor (more and more of them are younger, lately!) asked me for some tips on auditioning. I wasn’t sure what to tell her because I was not the best at auditions. So I started out by telling her just that. Then, I started thinking out loud with her and this idea about the ‘balance of power’ materialized.

When auditioning, keep the balance of power in your favor. Don’t give it all to the auditors. Since you have no way of knowing what they’re thinking anyway, why give them more control than they already have? You won’t be the one who decides upon the look of the character you’re reading for. You’re not going draw any conclusions by reading your own resume’. For all you know, the director already knows whom he wants for the part.

What you do control completely is your performance. That gives you the power over your audition. Even if you’re reading for Steven Speilberg, the moment you begin, he is putty in your hands. You can take him anywhere you choose. You’re the one with the acting talent, not him. That gives you a lot of muscle. So, show off. Own the room. Take it to the limit. Break rules. Show him, or whomever, who’s boss. Then, if you don’t get the part, you still have the satisfaction of knowing you did one hell of an audition. And so the real loser is not you. It’s the production that’s losing out.