The Three Biggest BFA Audition Mistakes Students Make

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Auditioning for BFA programs can be a highly stressful process. Depending on the type of program you're applying for, two minutes in a room is all you'll get to convince a college that you're the right person for them. 

While there isn't a surefire way to be accepted by every school you audition for, there are certain mistakes that can happen that might ensure you won't be accepted by any of them. As cruel as it sounds, no matter how much preparation you put in, what happens in that room is all that matters. Here are some mistakes I've been seeing during auditions. 

1. Incorrect Timing

The biggest and most regularly occurring mistake I see is when students don't correctly time their audition. Whether it's a thespian conference audition or Unified's, these are usually strictly timed sessions. You might have four minutes, or two, but when the time elapses, you're done. Usually, someone will say "Thank you!" and that's your cue to leave the stage. If that happens when you're in the middle of a monologue or song, it can be incredibly awkward. 

The common error here is when students don't prepare for the time. My advice, find out beforehand how long you'll have and prepare for that down to the second. I've also seen some students that have both two minute and four-minute auditions prepared as well.

By timing everything correctly, you can make sure that all of your strengths as a performer are displayed and you come off looking more prepared. 

2. Inconsistent Dialects/Accents

I have one rule when it comes to doing a dialect/accent(Yes, they are two different things) in an audition that doesn't require that you do one:  Unless it's perfect and a reflex to you, don't do it. 

Too many times have I sat in on auditions where students attempt a variety of dialects/accents only to either fail miserably or it appears inconsistent throughout a monologue. It might start off by sounding British but by the middle, it switches to something else entirely.

Truth be told, in auditions like these, no one on the other side of the table cares if you can do a dialect/accent. However, by attempting one and failing, it becomes a distraction from your performance as a whole and worse yet, it could throw you off too. 

3. Crying During Your First Piece

Being able to show the correct emotion during a piece is always impressive. But in a timed situation, stay away from crying with your first piece. 

Because if you only have two minutes, by crying during a dramatic monologue you do first, you run into two issues. If you are genuinely crying, you naturally need a moment to collect yourself to perform the upbeat/comedic piece to perfection and in two minutes, you may not have time to do that. On the other hand, if you're able to go from crying to happy instantaneously, it might send the message to the auditioner that you weren't genuine with your emotion or "faking it". I've seen educators mark this on their auditions sheets more times than I can count with comments like "Not genuine" or "Fake emotion". 

My advice is to always do you dramatic work second, this way whatever emotion pours out of you, you can take the time to collect yourself after the audition. Plus it ends the audition session on a more powerful note which can leave a lasting impression.