How Can I Prepare for an Improv Audition?

Matt Dearing

Let’s break down the Improv Audition shall we?

We get asked questions about acting all the time!

I’ve been an acting coach for almost two decades now. At the same time I’ve also had the privilege of working as a casting director, so I often get asked about acting techniques and auditions from young actors. The first question is of course always about where to start auditioning. But once been out there for a while more questions tend to come up.

Another question asked a lot is how can actors best prepare for an improv audition. This is because, as actors we get used to dissecting scripts and sometimes when we have to audition without one, we get flustered. If you are one of those actors who get nervous in an improv audition, then you’re in luck. Because this article has been written specifically for you.

How can I prepare for an Improv Audition?

I understand the confusion here. The question itself, “How can I prepare for an Improv Audition?” is a bit of an oxymoron. By pure definition, improv in acting means you are making things up. Therefore it makes sense to question the logic of preparing for something that will be created on the spot. Well honestly it’s not as difficult as it sounds.



Also, before we dive into each tip to prepare you for an improv audition I want to remind you that acting takes practice. The Dearing Acting Studio has a variety of acting classes available at our studio in Phoenix AZ. If you are an actor in a different market than Phoenix, no worries! We have virtual acting classes and one of the best online acting schools in the world. (At least we think so) In the meantime, read on.


Here’s an actor tip video on auditioning. This video contains a fun little exercise called 5 things.

TIP #1 – Be Grounded

When you’re doing an improv audition, you won’t be asked to give a prepared monologue to showcase your talents. For the most part, you’re going to be faced with one of two situations. Either the casting director will ask for improv space work or improv dialogue.


You’re going to be asked to look natural performing a certain task or activity. This is where your improv space work training will come in handy. Changing an imaginary load of laundry. Drinking an imaginary soda. Things like that. Sounds easy enough, right? Well… not always.

It sounds weird but plan to forget. 🙂

You may forget to put on the turn signal in your imaginary car or check the rearview mirror. Many actors forget to acknowledge the appropriate weight of their space work objects etc. If you do remember these details however it can really MAKE your improv audition stand out! They keep you feeling grounded and connected to your activity…and keeps your performance looking natural!

Here’s a link to a free improv class online dedicated to space work.

We hop you enjoy this free improv acting class. However we also would encourage you not to underestimate the value of good actor training. Improv is one of the hardest subjects for many actors.


There’s no doubt you will be engaging in an unscripted scene that requires dialogue at some point. When this scenario comes up, remain calm and remember to stay connected to your improv scene partner. Support him or her in their choices. Try to make your partner successful, because a casting director will notice and appreciate good Improv techniques. Attacking your partner, negating their choices, or steering the scene the way you think it aught to go will not work in your favor. Listen. Be affected by your partner.

TIP #2 – Take Direction

This one is easier said than done so I won’t take much time on it here. As a general rule, if a casting director is coaching you…they LIKE you! They’ve seen something good in your performance and they want to see if you can take direction. Be open. Even if they ask you to do something very different than your original choice, be willing to try it!

TIP #3 – Play to the Story

It doesn’t matter if you are auditioning for TV, Theater, Film or National Commercials. In order to tell a good and compelling story we need characters. Casting directors are usually looking for actors who can play realistic characters.

Yes, sometimes a particular project might call for some outrageous “over the top” character like those seen Anchor Man with Will Ferrel. But the truth is that those actors have been chosen because they have the ability get big and still keep the character grounded.

It’s extremely important to know and understand the role your character is supposed to play in the commercial. If you’re the “straight man” in the commercial, don’t go for the joke. Understand the tone and feel that the client is going for! Remember, this audition is not about you…it’s about the product. If your performance distracts from the product, then you haven’t made an appropriate choice.

TIP #4 – Have fun in your improv audition

It’s abundantly true…if you are having fun, then the audience will have fun too! Know and believe that you are interesting, funny and compelling when you are just being yourself. The real you that is natural, realistic and grounded! Everything else is just icing on the cake!

Thank you for reading our blog on how to prepare for an improv audition. For more information on acting classes in phoenix go HERE. And for free online acting classes and tips visit our YouTube page HERE.

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