“You are enough.” —Jim Houghton, late director of the Juilliard Drama Division
- Come very prepared.
So what exactly does this mean? Everyone prepares differently right?
I've learned a lot about preparation from studying at Juilliard. But I think the most important thing (especially for those of you auditioning for Juilliard Drama) is to find plays/monologues that you're passionate about and that resonate with your body, mind, and soul. That way no matter where you are with your understanding of preparation" and what it means, your innate curiosity and love for your material will guide you. All you need to do is to know your text very well and choose material that you gravitate toward and love! Lead with that and you can't go wrong. Of course, there are many things you can do to help you imagine and fully explore the circumstances of your play. But I’m a true believer in picking material that excites you. That way all of your research and preparation will come out of a deep desire for your material.
A great man once told us at Juilliard that we are enough.
- Audition for YOU. Not your parents. Or your mentor. Or your great great whoever! Do it because you WANT it.
Touch your drive. Be ambitious. Follow your dreams—and never forget that you are brave. Brave enough to share your gifts to a panel of strangers. Try not to focus on what the audition panel thinks of you but focus on your work and use your time wisely. Hence, preparation.
And whatever the decision on that particular day, whether it’s hard or upsetting or not or wonderful—you will still have something that nobody will ever take away from you.
So breathe, find your feet and the circumstances of your character, and go!
- Bring water, a snack, and a spare set of clothing.
It might get sweaty if you're called back into the evening of auditions—callbacks—so be prepared. Also bring lots of water for your voice and stay hydrated which will also help you focus and stay present with the people and experiences happening around you.
- For the Parents out there!
Hello parents, there is a waiting lounge area for you to reside in while your child is auditioning. I know sometimes it can be even more nerveracking for you sitting there and just waiting! Feel free to visit the Starbucks inside of Juilliard, the Starbucks three blocks up, the one five blocks up and the other one two blocks down! There's also a cafe inside of the Rose Building next door to Juilliard. If your child gets into Juilliard and is a BFA student this is where they will get their meals for the year and to get there you barely have to exit the building. And there's always Indie (a restaurant) across the road from the main Juilliard entrance.
In addition, there will also be Juilliard Drama students (they have nametags on) floating around if you have any questions or need further information. There are also sheets of paper with information on them about Juilliard and the audition process on the desk where your child will check in, which is at the front entrance of the school. The whole operation is pretty much smooth sailing!
The Drama Division is just fantastic and has been running these auditions for many years and is still finding ways to make the audition process better every year.
- Enjoy it!
I learned more about acting during my three-day callback audition process than I did during my two years working as an actor before training at Juilliard.
There is nothing to be afraid of and it’s a huge learning experience. Thus is life.
Best of luck!
PS If you haven’t noticed already I use way too many exclamation marks. But I’m sure you’ll forgive me because my advice is pretty great.