This goes for pretty much anyone, but particularly actors because that's what I am. I started when I was five, so this list is twenty-two years in the making.
  1. First, be comfortable and know your shit.
    It took me a lot of auditions to figure out what level of preparedness I'm comfortable with. I had a theory of being 80% off book and not familiarizing myself with the material inside-out. Theoretically, this would allow me to be more impulsive and present. Nowadays, I need to know my dialogue like the back of my hand. It settles my nerves knowing I have the ability to make more choices and be slightly more agile with the words and physicality. But whatever works for you.
  2. Get there early.
    Wait in the car, go to the coffee shop, go for a walk. Do all you can to eliminate as much stress from the actual audition as possible. As we all know, traffic in LA sucks and getting somewhere in NY means you show up sweaty. Give yourself more time than you need and use the time to your advantage.
  3. Be aware of your choices but not married to them.
    It helps me to have as much perspective going in as I can. I think of what they're looking for in the part, how I can present myself as an actor and make unique choices, also be someone who understands what they need and be willing to change my approach. Kind of with the mindset of a business man; "Here's why you should hire me. But if you don't like that, I can also do this..."
  4. Acclimate to the room.
    Think on your toes. If a decision or choice you made prior makes you think twice or uncomfortable, fuck it. Let your own gut be the judge. I once made a "choice" that I was going to give a character a lisp - when I walked in, the director actually had a lisp. I did it anyway - bad move. Don't be afraid to abort mission if need be. Plus, being malleable is the sign of a good actor.
  5. If you make a mistake or forget a line, do it with grace.
    Don't panic. The only thing going against you in these situations is your own self-doubt. Nothing is more unattractive than desperation. You're a human, they get that. Don't beat yourself up. Having been on the other side of the room, auditioning actors as an actor who already had the role, there is nothing worse than someone who is so obviously in their own head.
  6. Remember that what they're looking for is very specific, and most of the time has nothing to do with your talent.
    This was huge for me. Once I realized that a lot of what I bring to the table is out of my control, it freed me up. It sucks, but a lot of the reasons you don't get parts are very personal; things like height, weight, hair, funny, serious, thoughtful, handsome, ugly, pretty, boring, interesting, etc. These are all adjectives you are described as when you leave a room. What I'm saying is, you've already done so much just by walking in and being yourself. Trust that.
  7. Fucking go for it.
    Throw self-respect in the trash, you get to act for ten minutes that day. Just go for it. Make a fool out of yourself. Have fun with it. Conviction is shocking and impressive to the outside eye.
  8. Forget it the second it's over.
    If you've done everything you can, that's a huge success. Don't nitpick yourself or your choices or whether or not you were able to cry. Or if you really fucked it up and it was obvious and awkward, move on. The only thing that will make you feel better is another audition.
  9. ***Dress simple
    Be a blank slate. Don't do that dress for the role shit unless they ask for it.
  10. ***Have a pre-meditated waiting room strategy.
    It's easily the worst part of the whole experience. Waiting with the other actors as they prepare their lines, hearing very audibly the person who is reading and freaking out because you know everyone will hear you; this is all a mind game you must conquer. Maybe it's music in the ears, maybe it's pacing in the hallway outside, maybe it's being immersed in your sides, whatever your strategy is, don't fall victim to the waiting room freak out. You're better than that.