Getting into a Top Drama School via the online audition process : 5 top tips

Hey Audition hackers! After a long hiatus mostly due to covid 19 and my start at Central, I am back with more tips to help you guys make the most of other people’s experience on how to get into drama school. This time I interviewed Marlo, a classmate on my BA Acting Course at Central. He auditioned online for LAMDA, Central, RCS, Guildhall, Royal Welsh, arrived at the final round at Guildhall and received offers from Central and RCS. I interviewed him thoroughly and as a result I gathered 5 top tips on how to get into drama school via the online audition process. Everything I shared in “getting into drama school after 3 years of attempts” is still valid, however what follows will specify what’s different when you currently apply online, due to the global pandemic. Let’s get started !

I. Treat an online audition with the same care and attention as an in-person audition

This one is quite straightforward, and links back to my two other articles about getting into drama school here and here : all the work you needed to do for an in-person audition is still required here. There’s nothing you would have prepared for a face to face audition that would be a waste for an online one. It is important to be aware of it as there can be a temptation of not doing as much considering the new online process. Work on your monologues as hard as you would have in normal times, research the play as you would have done usually, and try and present your usual self.

II. Make sure to be “technically” ready

Your camera/phone (for self-tapes) or laptop (for live online auditions/recalls) are now the mediums through which you are going to be seen and assessed. Therefore really consider how everything looks through the camera lens and around you :

  • Try and clear your background as much as possible, so that nothing distracts the viewer.
  • Try to wear clothes that are as neutral as possible, for the same reason as above.
  • Check your lighting, and make sure that your face is clearly visible and your expressions readable.
  • If you are having a live audition and live with other people I recommend to ask them to go outside for the length of the audition (rarely more than an hour), and if not possible, to ask them to be as quiet as they can, so that you aren’t distracted.
  • If something is going seriously wrong technically, don’t ignore it. Try and share your concern with the panel and see the best way to work around it : they’ll understand.
  • Be ready to look directly into the camera lens. This one is really important because it looks like a lot of schools are asking for it. It allows them to really see your facial expression and enter into your imaginary world.

III. Trust yourself

It is something I have talked about in my previous articles but I’ll reiterate because I do think that it is the most important piece of advice, and it took me years to truly understand it. Going through the audition process is nerve-wracking, and as we all want to get a place in one of those drama schools, the temptation is to try and please, to look for approval or to present our best selves. Don’t get me wrong, I just started my BA Acting and I am still struggling with it, so it is something that we might grapple with for the rest of our lives. However, going through the audition process while actively keeping in mind a few things could make a huge difference to you getting these precious recalls :

  • You’re not perfect, and that’s okay, because no one is. Accept that your imperfections will probably come across.
  • You’re auditioning not to show the best version of yourself, you’re just here to present yourself, unapologetically.
  • While being polite and respectful, accept that your true self might not please every time, but remember that when it will, then you’ll be in a really good place!

IV. Trust the Panel

You will most likely have heard remarks about the schools you want to audition for. You might have heard that they are lovely, kind, or that the panel is very strict. Those pre-conceived ideas are not helpful, so try to not “prepare yourself” according to those. Try and throw them out the window for the sake of having an open mind, and remember that :

  • The Panel truly hopes to see something in you. They hope you impress and that they can put you through. They want you to succeed.
  • They mostly don’t have a specific idea of what they want to see. They are open to be surprised by what you have to offer, so don’t “try and fit in” with what you’ve heard about the drama school.

V. Trust the work

Once you’ve done all the work, trust that it will come across. Let it go and allow your “narrative brain” to calm down, and accept that you are ready. Once you are performing, it is necessary to acknowledge that all the different pieces will organically come together. If you do so, you’ll be in the present moment and have every chance to succeed in your drama school auditions. This will allow you to be very adaptable to the redirections that are going to be thrown at you. At Central, for example, this year they told a student that one side of the screen was comfortable and easy, and that the other side was painful ; the candidate had to navigate between the two sides and let the words be affected. Try to not learn a specific, set way of saying your monologue, so that you can be ready to change it up on the day accordingly !

Here we are Audition Hackers, these are my 5 top tips on how to get into a top drama school via the online audition process. I never thought I’d have to write such an article but it is impressive to see how drama school auditions have changed, thanks to really swift efforts from the drama schools themselves. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, and as usual, I am available for Drama School Online Coaching Sessions here (reviews from clients can be found here).

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