Audition Tip: Never Show Your Underwear To The Casting Director

audition tip

An audition tip with underwear in it…

It doesn't come along often.

But yet…here we are.

Okay, let's get real for a moment. I want to talk to you about your underwear. Yes, I know what you may be wondering…My underwear? Isn’t that a little…well…intimate? And what does my underwear have to do with an audition tip anyway?

How can this conversation possibly be relevant and do something to help my acting career?

Guess what…It's about to get weirder.  

Right here in this blog, I’m going to demonstrate how your underwear AND purple flying cows could absolutely destroy your auditions.

Scratching your head wondering whether to read on?  Please do.

And no, I haven’t lost it…Just go with me here for a just a moment …I promise I'll get to the audition tip…and it's a GOOD one.

But first…Purple Flying Cows.

It’s hard not to see them in your mind's eye when I say Purple Flying Cows, right?

In fact, in this moment, you can’t NOT imagine images of  purple flying cows. You picture them very disinctly. The exact hue of purple, those darn cows whizzing through the air.

You are, in fact, absolutely laser-focused on the image of purple flying cows.

And just for fun, here's a cool one to look at right now.

audition tip

So then, if I tell you quite clearly that here in this audition tip blog I’m going to share with you how your underwear and purple flying cows are politely killing your auditions, you’d want me to say exactly that, right?

And, if by the completion of this audition tip blog, you did NOT, in fact, receive what I’ve promised here, you’d be bummed.

You might even wonder…”Hmmm, Amy used to always deliver awesome content, but this time…well…maybe she’s just lost it?”

Of course that would be an absolute travesty if I'd lost your confidence. And all because I swore to give you something and I never delivered it!

B  I  N  G O !

(BTW, in case you didn't see it coming, here comes the audition tip)

Often times in auditions, you'll enter into the room and begin to tell the Casting Director precisely what you plan to do…

…how you're thinking about their character…

…the uber-specific choices that you have been made…

…the food your character ate for breakfast…

…and a number of other pieces of minutiae and factoids about the scene or the character or whatever.

This information tends to begin pouring out as soon as you enter the audition room and it takes place during the time the Casting Director was anticipating that you were actually going to be doing your audition.

Oh, and by the way, it tends to be delivered it in machine-gun monologue form.

I know. I’m being kind of blunt in this audition tip, but I really want you to have this picture.

Of course I know that this behavior usually comes from audition nerves. I totally understand that. But unfortunately, it kinda doesn’t matter; it can still ruin your audition.

So, here are two reasons why you should NEVER do that.

1. Casting Directors don’t need to know all that.

That information is your homework as an actor. That information is all the work you do to create a deep, complex, full-on interesting character.

That part is supposed to be what you talk through with your coach when you’re working on the scene. These intricate details are present to inform your performance, to be the foundation for your character that you take into the audition room.

They are simply the underwear you wear underneath your fabulous “outfit” of an audition, if you will.

Underwear. You wouldn’t wear it on the exterior of your clothes…right?

Gals, when you have crammed yourself into a Spanx (sorry dudes, stay with me for a sec) and you turn up on The Red Carpet, you wouldn’t yank up your designer gown and show the press your Spanx, would you?

No. Absolutely not.

audition tip

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It’s supposed to stay under the surface — making you look fabulous and put together and and amazing to the paparazzi (and to rest of us).

The same thing is true for your audition “homework”.

Don’t speak it out loud or tell the casting director about it.

Your acting homework is like your underwear. Keep it under the surface where it belongs


  1. It takes up precious time that they just don’t have.
  2. It also takes the focus away from your audition.
  3. Um…it’s your underwear. Keep it where it belongs.

…Which leads us to…

2. You may not pull it off.

Here's the thing… There is a chance that when you share your exact choices with the Casting Director (and how you’re going to execute and play 'em)… There's the chance that, since you’ve set up the expectation for them, well, they might not see it.

I can’t tell you how many times when I was casting  that I was told by an actor who’s clearly worked very hard on the piece, to expect “purple flying cows” in their audition. And then, they did the audition, and it was absolutely nothing like what they set me up to expect.

No purple flying cows to be found anywhere….and while they were auditioning, I'm LOOKING for them.

Here's WHY that's bad…

It makes Casting Directors think that either A) you can’t pull off what you chose to do or B) you think you actually did it.

Either way, it's not good.

Both things make Casting Directors lose confidence in you.  Yikes!

So, as far as an audition tip goes, here it is:

Your best bet, as always in an audition:

Don’t show and tell. Leave your underwear on the inside. Just show up. Be a pro. Do your audition, and go.

That’s it.

All the rest is between you and your coach and your underwear drawer. Leave the purple flying cows there too. (Ah…Now I got you thinking about them again, didn't I?)

Your turn! Have you ever found yourself “showing your underwear” in an audition? What happened? If not, will this audition tip keep you from ever doing it?  Please share it in the comments below :-)

You DESERVE The Red Carpet!

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Amy Jo Berman - Acting Coach
Amy Jo Berman's Tips On Acting & Auditioning Blog
Email: Asst@AmyJoBerman.com
“I show actors how to be better, book more jobs and live The Red Carpet life!”

Original article posted on Backstage.com as part of their Backstage Experts series.

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71 Responses

  1. Mae O'Nayse says:

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  2. Thanks for sharing it’s really helpful for me.

  3. Stephen Scott says:

    Excellent advice, not only for auditions! I’ve been at so many rehearsals where an actor tells the director about a WONDERFUL idea he has for a scene and then proceeds to not pull it off. Then there’s the actor that talks about the character until he’s blue in the face but when it comes time to do the scene, he offers nothing remotely related to his rap about it. Great advice to just do your homework, don’t give away the gold until you’ve mined it, and as Nike says, “just do it.”

  4. Railroader says:

    Great advice !

  5. John Moody says:

    Thank you for this advice. i honestly do this more in my own life than in acting and its reminding me of what another actor who i worked on short scene with did once when i went to an audition workshop in London which are all good things to learn from. also had an exercise to try trust myself more in terms of doing what i already know, today. so work on things like that and theses tips all help though.

  6. Russ Skains says:

    The lead did capture my attention and I had to see what you are talking about…and it’s good advice. It’s challenging to the actor to know the CD’s POV and what they are looking for. Amy, you help them to get a more holistic approach and a better plan of action. I love watching your vids…

  7. Linda Ann Eknoian says:

    Thank you, such great advice! Who needs to describe your character’s routine on a daily basis? The audition must be natural and authentic. If you start thinking about your character’s daily routine, issues, emotions — your audition becomes static, choreographed and planned. There is no reacting to what has just been said, there is no sensation or feeling, there are no stakes in the scene. The scene becomes flat and your audition is weak! You should do your homework and come prepared! You the actor should be able to listen, observe, react and stay “present” and motivated in the scene!

  8. Maureen Renee Hughes says:

    This is a great tip! I think actors tend to get excited when they have really done their research and feel connected to the character (I know I do), but the casting director is only concerned with whether you are an appropriate fit for the role. Also, if there is no mystery around how you interpret your character’s motivations, I feel like it’s a bit less interesting as well.

  9. Archie Cogollos says:

    Baby you can spin a tale Scheherezade…..also pleasant, enjoyable ,endearing, charming…and above all this…informative…thanks…I have never done this…it never occurred to me…..however if I was asked…I’d say ..I wanna thank everybody I ever met….ciao bella

  10. Lucas says:

    Great discussion and tip! Definitely tweeting about this! @lucasvcarvalho

  11. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    Fortunately, for me & the CD, I’ve never don’t that. When asked personal questions, as a bit of an icebreaker, I have over shared things. Thankfully, not to the extreme. :-D
    Thanks for this awesome tip!!

  12. Lisa Marie says:

    great tips! thank you! Most auditions I’ve had never leave me time to explain all that Purple cowness, so thankfully this hasn’t happened to me

  13. Colin Cowdery says:

    have the confidence to FEEL like your NAKED on Primetime TV…that’s my plug

  14. Tobe Sexton says:

    Yes! What you said exactly!
    What I always tell my classes is – Don’t tell us about the Magical Unicorn BE the Magical Unicorn. A good Magician never reveals their tricks.

    And/also on a more literal note, please do not reveal your underwear or lack thereof. I have been shocked and surprised at how many times I have received (in the room) the Basic Instinct reveal from actresses, with and without undies. It is embarrassing for the person auditioning. I always feel bad that they feel they have to resort to a cheap tactic in order to get considered for a part but as we know most people don’t do things that they haven’t been rewarded for in the past (eek). Talent as well as a multitude of of other factors will win out. The truly sad thing is that many of the actors are very talented and would’ve gotten through to the next level no matter what but somehow they feel they needed the trick.

    Be the “Magical Unicorn” don’t be the “Revealer” (on any level).

  15. Kari says:

    Hilarious intro! It did a great job at catching and keeping attention. I admit, I did laugh. As for the advice, solid! It’s like writing–the author does research and creates an incredible backstory, but the reader only has to know so much. If it’s vital, it’ll find a way to work itself in.
    I’m just happy I haven’t done this at any of my auditions before knowing any better.
    Thanks Amy!

  16. wb7ptr says:

    Interesting tip!

  17. Randal Colling says:

    I am guilty of having done this a couple of times over the years. What you say is true. EVEN IF THEY ASK. I think it better to not be so specific. Do your job as best you can, say thanks, then leave. Listen to your fav song on the way home.

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      So many actors are “guilty” of this and that’s why I felt compelled to write it. You are in good company Randal. BTW, I created a powerful audio for the ride home after something like this happens. You can find it here: http://TheAuditionEdge.com …of course if your favorite song works, then that’s all that matters. Use it!

      • Randal Colling says:

        Thanks for the help Amy. I was in your presentation with the SAG conservatory in July. I like your energy. This is a tough business, so an enthusiastic, positive presentation is REALLY appreciated. Do ya’all give any AUDITION classes?

  18. Taunya Gren says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever told any casting director about how I got to the choices and the nuance I give in the audition. That is, except when they ask me afterwards (which has happened a couple of times). I’m wondering, is telling them afterwards when they ask still a no no?

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      I’d answer truthfully if you feel so inclined but not get too detailed. You really have to trust your instinct. Or, you can always say: Why do you ask? And then once you know what part of it they are interested in, you can share that so you don’t OVERshare.

  19. shondale seymour says:

    Love the purple flying cows and underwear scenario – I’ve always tried to leave my undies where they should be, but I’ve definitely worried that the purple flying cows that I was observing in the room were being seen by everyone else. Rule of thumb, prep and then leave the details at the door – be the character inside and the flying cows stay outside the door. Easier said than done, but practicing a little every day!

  20. Claudia Sims says:

    I love this tip. It’s extremely helpful and I understand more now on what I need to do.

  21. Rebecca says:

    I love this tip! Truth.

  22. ariel lux says:

    This is an excellent analogy to bring into actor-consciousness, dear Ms Berman; you are profoundly generous. And referencing what Ms Reed mentions below about the old Studio system and “foundations making the garment,” considering underwear becomes more than a mere metaphor. No one knew at my audition for a slinky sophisticate that I was wearing stockings and a garter, but I did! And it informed more than the way I walked. I find the “underlayers,” that which touches the skin, to be very powerful in terms of “setting up” character. (now that’s minutiae!) Audition rejection?
    No problem…. I’ve got my big girl panties on!!!

  23. Julie Lakies says:

    I have an audition Saturday in Detroit. I plan to dress Office professional, but do not wear undergarments. Is this a bad thing?

  24. Berti Moso says:

    Amy I really like that you are explaining these matters with visual examples. It sinks in better and be remebered forever “not to show underwears and talk about the purple cows”. Bravo! Great tips for life!

  25. Richard Allan Jones says:

    I never bring up preparation unless I have a question about the character or the scene that I have no clue how to play (comedy/drama/living art). As far as underwear goes, I always ask the director if they prefer boxers, briefs, thongs or commando…for the bedroom scenes.

  26. kegan says:

    What if its Versace! I saw a great emporio armani advertisement and he killed it!

  27. Sandramaree59 says:

    I have never shown my underwear… First of all I am very nerves and just want to get on with the audition… I say hello Io the panel take a few seconds to begin and then before I know it I am done… I say thank you and move as fast as I can to the nearest exit… I hate auditions and it probably shows.. I have booked many jobs but not as many as I would like Io book… Thank you for the tip

  28. Drew says:

    I’ve gone in to either audition or a general meeting and not only did I not show my underwear, but I didn’t even show who I was. Yup. Blew that.

  29. Erika says:

    Once I was assisting a casting session. This one actress did great, got very emotional, knocked it out of the park. After she finished the scene she said “I just want you guys to know that I really relate to this character because my brother is also in jail”. Everyone was uncomfortable. After she left the director said “Well, I thought she was crying because she’s a great actor, now I think she was crying because her brother is in jail”. TMI all around. She didn’t book it.

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      What a great illustration of my point. Thanks for sharing that Erika!

      • wb7ptr says:

        I went into an audition one time and proceeded to describe the script and charactor before getting into the action. They did not look impressed. Later on, I found out that was NOT cool. Just go in there and do your thing without hte editorials!

  30. David Campbell says:

    Thank you. Great tips. I am a chronic underwear sharer and profuse gusher. It is hard for me to contain my excitement about a specific project that I may either be a fan of or people that I’d kill to work with. This is s great reminder for me, shut up once in a while and just act.

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      Amen. It will REALLY help you in the long run David.

      • sunil says:

        Hey amy you are a lifesaver….i am an actor in bollywood and here in india the casting directors only require fair,upmarket looking(ridiculous requirement),six pack n all…..so in this scenario what is the best option for an average looking guy with good acting skills….please help me coz its really getting frustrating now coz everywhere i go they just look at me and say”you are not fit for the role”…i mean at least they should give me a chance to showcase my talent…

  31. Mark Winn says:

    Amy,Yes the comparison analogy to one’s underwear was helpful. I have been in the game long enough and nade
    tymy share of choices shall I say to know
    better by now.
    My initial thought on your analogy was
    I could book a job or not because I was not wearing the right type of underwear!


  32. NHAN LE says:

    Vey True. A casting director (Al Guarino) who passed away once said “Actors don t get the job not because they gave me the wrong choice, but they don t get the job because they gave me nothing. In another words, they re not believable at all.” Being professional is a skill in itself.

  33. Krishna Tailor says:

    Haha, yes, fantastic! I think I have only done that once – but that was after I had already gotten the part. It definitely makes a lot of sense. I remember my training and it was to be polite, greet them, go to the mark, and breathe. Thank you for the tip! That is awesome :)

  34. Margaret Reed says:

    LOL, Amy! Very provocative. And funny. You rock with great information that comes from your wonderfully irreverent and insightful perspective.
    Addendum: I have told my students, especially my female students, something I read once about actresses in the old Studio system in Hollywood, which is hardly ever spoken about. And that is: “foundations make the garment.” If your bra or whatever else you’ve got under your clothing is not supporting (yes, pun intended) your figure in a sure and invisible way, it’s going to make everyone uncomfortable. They’ll be watching your awkward UNDERWEAR, instead of your acting. And if that’s why you do or do not get the job, well…that’s another blog topic altogether.

  35. ScottyFusion says:

    So basically you’re saying by not wearing underwear it’ll help you on the casting couch, and saves time with your audition?! I like it, great advice! :-)

  36. Joseph Shayne says:

    Makes total sense. Thank you for this! I am a new actor and I will keep my underwear where it belongs.

  37. David Robbins says:

    Haha! Great stuff, Amy! I learned awhile back (thank YOU!) to keep the mystery and thus, the potential casting interest, in an audition…and I always make sure to wear a fresh pair. Never purple. Neeeeeever purple. It makes my butt look big. Wink!

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