The audition process is well-known to be a nervous and exciting one for performers, bringing that familiar feeling of nerves and anticipation that can be so addictive (and dreaded) for those on the stage.
However, to share a little secret, it's pretty much the same way on the other side of that table, too. Performers feel the stress and tension of putting themselves out there, but directors, producers, choreographers, stage managers and the others on the other side of that table feel similar things, because they want so badly for performers to do well, to be what they want them to be.
A great audition process is one that is not only professional, pleasant, well-organized, and brisk, but one which also garners you a healthy turnout and the casting choices you need for a successful production. But don't despair -- for a smoother, more streamlined audition process, check out my steps for smoother, more successful auditions from first to last:
Step 1. Secure an audition space that fits your needs. If you're casting the next big thing, you may need to accommodate hundreds of auditioners. But if you're familiar with your market and are just expecting a few dozen people, then a local music room or practice space will also do just fine. If you're not using a traditional auditorium, which separates you from the performers naturally through the stage, backstage, and house areas, then make sure to allocate two separate areas for your auditions. These will include the room in which auditioners will wait, preferably outfitted with enough seating for at least a dozen or more people at a time, and then a private area with a table and chairs, at which you and your associates can confer.
Step 2. Make a list of the most important roles to be cast, along with their age ranges, genders, and other potentially helpful info, however don't let yourself be boxed in here creatively. Don't just be color-blind when casting, but where possible, be gender-blind as well. Get rid of your preset ideas about character and see what you get in the audition process -- you may be pleasantly surprised!
Once you've listed out the roles to cast, you'll want to rank them according to importance. The tougher the role is to cast, the higher it should be on your list. Make supplemental lists of supporting characters who can be easily cast from those who do not make the cut for the leads.