Wednesday 12 December 2012


Based on my years of experience as a filmmaker, I look forward to sharing my thoughts and opinions with you in hopes that they will give you some perspective on “this thing we do”. I am so sure that people who have worked closely with me in the past have heard me say a million times that “I HATE AUDITIONS”. As a movie producer and director, I have had the privilege of siting through countless auditions and seen quite a number of hopefuls walk through the door. Some of those hopefuls have turned out to be super stars today while some are still struggling. One factor that changed the destiny of some forever...their performance at the auditions that got them the roles that brought them fame and fortune.

What a lot of actors fail to realize that auditions are different from acting itself. I truly believe auditioning is a separate animal from acting. Acting is what you get to do once you get the part. Auditioning is something else entirely.

David Mamet, in his book “True and False: Heresy and Common Sense For The Actor,” writes, “Teachers of audition techniques counsel actors to consider the audition itself as the performance, and to gear all one’s hopes and aspirations not toward the actual practice of one’s craft (which takes place in front of an audience or a camera), but towards the possibility of appealing to some “functionary” (that’s the casting director, director, producer, executive producer or whoever else is at the table during the audition).

I totally agree with this principle, except for where he refers to me and my colleagues as “functionary”. If you enter an audition thinking of it more as a first rehearsal than as an opening night performance in a stage play or the first day of filming, you will be doing yourself a much greater service.

I have seen actors walk into the audition room feeling very confident they will get the part probably because of how good they look or how fluent their spoken english is. I met a girl who swore to her colleagues that she was so sure she would get the part because she was light skinned. Really?! They don’t really put any effort into auditioning to get the part. Instead, they prepare more for how to act in the movie after they have gotten the part. Hello! You need to GET IT before you can USE IT...right?

Some people, however, try too hard thus failing woefully at auditions. I have had times where we turned down good actors that we didn’t know how good they were because of how badly they performed at the auditions. A good example is one of the ladies who played lead character in the popular MNET series, TINSEL. In 2007, she attended my audition for a TV series I was about to film for a very popular producer in Nigeria. She was so nervous during the audition that it was very obvious even in her shaky voice and sweaty nose. She had the look for the lead role but could not just get it because of her failure at the auditions. A couple of years down the line, I saw her on TV playing one of the lead roles in TINSEL. She was just stunning. Yes she had potentials but she was a nervous wreck at the auditions.

I believe that this actress failed because she saw it as AN AUDITION. “Nailing it” in an audition is virtually impossible. The sooner you let go of that insurmountable responsibility, the better. Doing your absolute best is the most you can ever hope for. There are no newspaper, TV or film critics in the room reviewing your performance. I have no doubt that there are those in my position who believe the complete opposite and I would be happy to debate them vigorously.

Regardless, the casting director really only wants one thing; for you to do well! We are always on your side. We want you to get the part. Sadly, auditioning is something that cannot be taught. No amount of training can fully prepare an actor for the experience of auditioning. It is impossible to know what really feels like to enter that room until you actually enter the room. If you audition only rarely, each time will feel like it’s a do-or-die, make-or-break, life-or-death situation. Under these kinds of conditions, it’s no wonder that actors become so undone!

The only way to get better at it is to do it as much as often as humanly possible. Do short films, low budget films, cheap plays, web series, home made videos, use your smart phone to film a scene of yourself, do table readings, workshops. Whatever! The more you do, the easier it gets. You become “desensitized” to the process and it truly becomes something you look forward to doing rather than dreading. I believe that this TINSEL actress did quite a number of auditions after mine before she went for the audition for TINSEL. Practice makes perfect. The more you do it the better you get at it. So increase your work hours, either professionally or unprofessionally. Imagine how much fun auditions will be if they are not fraught with the anxiety that often comes with them.
So remember, when next you walk into an audition room, it is your springboard to super stardom and not a date with the Devil himself.



  1. This is great. Thank you for preaching the same message i have been teaching. Great job. Actors should read this blog

  2. *Screaming Out Loud* Uncle Daniel Thanks ...

  3. Exactly what is happening, at last a voice has bursted out to declare this fact. Thank you and thumbs up

  4. Ooh my God! This is so true and very helpful. Thanks Daniel for doing this. I will be a regular visitor here. Please enlighten us with your wisdom oh Master Daniel. (In Kung Fu voice).
    I will spread the word.

  5. This is the best tip any Nigerian director or producer has ever given as regards auditions and acting. I do hope that others can learn from you. Thanks for this Danny. I goofed at an audition last week because I felt I was too handsome not to get the part. Lo and behold, the wanted a short and not so good looking fellow.
    I will be stopping by from time to time to see what you have to share again.

  6. Great piece from someone who knows his onions. If i was to go for an audition and read this, it sure would calm some nerves. Perhaps i should think about acting lol.

    If i should add my two cents, the corollary of the title is also true: ACTING IS NOT AUDITIONING! This seems to be what most 'Nollywood' neophytes are doing these days. However with professionals like you, there's hope.
    - Original rudebwoy Don Shoggino

  7. Babalola Abiodun Bukola18 December 2012 at 00:49

    Daniel Ademinokan....u r a heroes that is surely shinning a bright light upon d reflextion of other past ones....this surely calms some nerves heading for an auditon...much respect #fullofswags#

  8. What should one then do when the so-called casting directors judge these nollywood neophytes based on their looks and the cars they're driving? I've been to quite a number of auditions but I find out that the producers only ever need a few actors and actresses for the job but they call on a thousand propectives. I'm a script writer and I know that you should only select an actor or actress that best portrays the character they're auditioning for. Thanks.

  9. really?
    but i always thought u have to be like perfect...thanks for this inspiring piece!

  10. Thanks a lot, learnt 4rm dis. Hpe 2 perform better, when next I go 4 any audition. #smiling.

  11. Omobolaji Opakunbi18 December 2012 at 05:37

    This is really good. A lot of up coming actors and actresses need to read this. Well done sir.

  12. okezie Darlinton mentor18 December 2012 at 05:57

    So so so inspireing,we need more of this write ups, am proud of the heights you have attained Daniel,going down memeory lane, still remember those days we used to g to auditions back then in 2001,keep the flag flying Bro!

  13. Wow.. This is so cool and a true way to burst out the fear in every talented person who wish to go into movie world. It also gonna help a lot of us in d business already. Thx daniel. O lenu pa.big up to u bro.

  14. Clarence.A.Fadola1 January 2013 at 11:51

    This is perfect..just the words I needed..Thanks sir.. Pls can I get a mail to contact you with, you might be interested in some of my petty works. God bless

    1. Hi. My email address is
      Thanks for reading and I'm glad some people are being influenced and stirred up by my words.


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