What Different Types of Acting Auditions Are There?

An audition is a systematic process in which industry professionals select performers for a project. For performers, an audition is a trial performance to demonstrate his/her ability, suitability, or skill. In the corporate world, an audition is simply akin to an interview and entrance exam.

If you’re entirely new to the casting process, your first few experiences may seem different for every audition, and you would not agree that auditions, in general, are supposedly systematic. It would feel like you wouldn’t know what to expect every single time you audition. How will the next audition work? Will there be long lines again? Will you always have to be waiting the whole day just to prove yourself within a minute?

Here are the different types of acting auditions you’ll come across.

Different Types of Acting Auditions 

Open auditions

Types of Acting Auditions

Also known as open calls or cattle calls, this first one on this list of types of acting auditions means anyone can try out. A large audition notice is advertised through print or broadcast media, and hundreds of people come to audition. If the advertisement was highly publicized, expect to stand in line for a long while. At one open call for Les Miserables, auditionees who arrived at the venue at 6:00 a.m. for the audition scheduled at 9:00 a.m. got numbers in the 300s. More than 800 auditioned that day!

Some open auditions may require a headshot and résumé and ask you to perform a short monologue or do a cold read. 

Closed auditions

Types of Acting Auditions

You may have not experienced this type yet, especially if you’re new to the industry. A closed audition is one where only certain actors, such as professional union actors or members of a certain theater organization, are allowed to audition.

If you’ve gained enough connections to join closed auditions, you’ll find that you have more frequent and better-quality opportunities to chase. Audition venues are also much more comfortable than most. However, the fact that closed auditions source talents from groups of already skilled and fairly experienced actors means that the competition here is tough. Most likely, you’ll also be required to submit an acting portfolio (headshot, résumé, and reel).

Private auditions

Types of Acting Auditions

In a private audition, the casting call does not list the venue and time. Only the nature of the audition is included such as a logline and the list of roles, along with the contact details of the casting professionals. When contacted, the casting director privately sends you your very own time and venue to audition. Some productions prefer this type of acting audition as it’s more organized and less stressful. It’s also less expensive.

Similarly, casting directors may require a headshot and résumé and ask you to perform a short monologue or do a cold read.



This audition is set up for you by your agent. Sometimes, the directors or producers themselves found your look fit for the role, contacted your agent, set the appointment, and invited you to audition.

Arrive at least fifteen minutes early, at least. There may be paperwork, but it’s likely they already have your headshot and résumé from your agent. However, you should be certain to bring hard copies just in case the casting panel need one on hand.

You may have already been emailed a side (excerpt of the script) from your agent. If that’s the case, do your job by memorizing it. You don’t want this special appointment ruined by the paper hovering in front of your face or covering your expression. If you are only given the copy at the venue, quickly memorize the first and last lines so that the panels see your face clearly for the first and last moments of your audition.

Online auditions


Technology has changed the game of auditioning. Aside from being a platform for advertising projects or casting calls, technology has given actors the option of not leaving the comforts of their home just to audition for a certain project. While in-person auditions are still the format actors based out of large cities do most frequently, the ability to self-tape an audition has allowed people to be considered for projects that are casting thousands of miles away from home, even from out of the country. It’s also expanded the number of auditions people can apply to. Actors are now increasingly being asked to self-tape their auditions and email the video directly to the casting office or production team. 

However, as convenient as auditioning online may sound, self-tapes also need some investing in order to be considered. There are also certain unwritten rules to be familiar with to impress casting directors viewing you on a screen. Check these common self-tape mistakes out.



Now with a little industry knowledge in mind, you know what to expect in the various types of acting audition you’ll encounter moving forward. Never stop submitting to various projects. You’ll get there somehow.

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