Your First Impression Counts
Walk into the room with confidence (focused energy) and look the casting director in the eye, say hello and smile. Exhibit a small amount of eagerness and excitement to be auditioning for them. Let them see you believe in the role you're auditioning for. You do believe in the role, don't you?! Confidence can and will go a long way in the biz. What if you don't feel confident, you say? Act it!
Research any background information you can on the casting director or others you know will be behind the table (producer, director, assistant, etc.). Chances are you won't be engaged in much conversation, but it'll be impressive to them if you actually get a chance to make a brief comment on their last film they cast, or an actor they worked with, or an interview you read, or... If I was casting a film and an actor walked in, auditioned, then before he left said, "Oh, by the way, great article on ActorPoint.com, I enjoyed it!" I would not only be flattered but I'd also know that this guy is professional and stays on top of the things going on in the industry. He probably reads the trades (Back Stage, Variety, Hollywood Reporter) and works daily to better his craft.
Look good. How you look is the very first thing the CD will notice about you. Many argue that looking the part is the first qualification even before talent. This doesn't mean walk into the audition in costume, but rather, look neat and put together. If you're auditioning for a college student, grab your favorite pair of jeans. A lot of actors actually have an audition wardrobe. Certain outfits are worn only to auditions. Over time, you'll most likely figure out what shirt you always seem to wear that makes you feel confident - make that part of your audition wardrobe.
Thanks, Mr. DeMille. When you leave the audition room, look the CD in the eye, thank them by name, if possible, and smile. "But I fudged that one line," you say? So what! Maybe they didn't notice, maybe they don't care. Don't draw attention to the fact that you may feel like you had a not-so-great audition. Let them see your excitement and enthusiasm for being able to get your work in front of them. A while back, I had an audition for a musical and I had to sing 32 bars of a song. Before I even hit the half way point, the CD was writing something and, without even looking up from his notes, said, "Thanks." I thanked him in return and before I even headed for the door he said, "Have [my assistant] schedule you for a call back." What?? I couldn't believe what I was hearing! A call back? But you stopped me before I finished 30 seconds of the song. Doesn't that mean that you didn't like my audition? Obviously not. The point is that even if you think you had a terrible audition doesn't mean they think you had a terrible audition. Don't waste any energy second guessing your efforts. You just never know.
Finally, have fun. If you don't enjoy what you do, no one else will enjoy what you do. It's a long journey and auditioning is part of the process and something you'll be doing your entire career. Yes, even when you're a big celebrity, you'll still have to fight (audition) for the lead in that Spielberg blockbuster.