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Actor Laura Pradelska: ‘The lesson from my first audition? Preparation’

Laura Pradelska. Photo: Kirill Kozlov

I had my first audition when I was 19. It was during pilot season in Los Angeles for the TV version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had moved on my own to LA from my home in Germany to pursue an acting career and had been lucky enough to get a good agent.

I found a flatmate online when I arrived, who turned out to be an actor too. She introduced me to her agent and, after a cold reading in the office, I was signed. The agent audition went well, but the TV audition was absolutely nerve-racking. I was nervous. I still get nervous now – I am just better prepared these days.

I didn’t get the show. In Germany, I had done theatre and a few tiny TV cameos but I had never auditioned in front of directors, writers and producers in one room – or really auditioned at all, for that matter. I didn’t know what to say, where to look and was shaking like a leaf. I kept thinking how big a deal it was and how I didn’t want to disappoint my new agent.

The lesson I learned? Preparation. Today, I go to every audition fully prepared. I get as much information about the job as possible. I try to arrive early and have coffee around the corner to mentally prepare myself. I don’t rush – I go in, be polite and breathe. For theatre, I read the whole play if it is available. I’ll try to get as much information as I can without driving my agent crazy. I’ll work on my text, make character choices and plan what I wear.

For film and TV, if the show has been on air I watch as much of it as possible. I try to be off-book, so my eyes are visible on camera (I always hold the script in my hand in case I freeze). As for voice-overs, if I record an audition at home, I go into a quiet room and cover myself completely under a blanket to block out any noise. I record on my iPhone until I am satisfied then send my agents three or four options of different styles and, depending on the job, different accents. I am still learning, but I’ll do everything I can. If I don’t get the job, I’ll know I have done my best.

CV: Laura Pradelska

Age: Undisclosed
Training: Drama Centre London
Theatre credits include: Dogstar, Summit Conference
TV credits include: Game of Thrones
Other credits: Voice-overs for high fashion brands, commercials, films and TV
Agent: Lesley Duff at Diamond Management

Laura Pradelska is in A Small House at the Edge of the World at the Tabard Theatre [1], Chiswick, September 12-29. She was talking to John Byrne