Every casting director has their own way of conducting auditions. If you are coming to audition with us, this page will tell you what we’d like you to do.
But before we start please remember
WE WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!
Our job is to find the perfect actor for a role – we want you to make us look good, we want you to get the role, we want to discover new talent.
So this is what you should do:
1) Learn the sides.
Absolutely the most important requirement of any audition – please be off book.
We film every audition and make it available online for all the decision makers to look at – director, producers, execs, financiers. They need to see your face, your eyes. They need to see you be the character – and they can’t do this if you keep looking down at your audition pages.
But we don’t want you to over-learn the lines so that you are wooden and not able to take direction – difficult to strike a balance, we know, but it’s part of the job.
Actors can keep their memory muscle in great shape by learning dialogue every single day – click here for more information.
2) Be prepared to jump straight into the audition.
Outside of the audition room we expect you to be focused, getting yourself into character – and we wouldn’t want to break your concentration by having some inane small talk once you enter the room. After a perfunctory introduction to everyone in the room we love to jump straight into the audition.
This gives you the maximum amount of time within your allocated slot to show us what a wonderful versatile actor you are. We will all be relaxed enough to give you several shots at the scene, to let you try it a few different ways. And it avoids anyone confusing your own personality with the personality of the character you are playing (believe me, this happens very often). We would go as far as advising you to enter the room in character – including using the right accent.
Of course, you may have legitimate questions that you need answering before you enter the room – so either get in touch with us directly beforehand, or arrive early and ask prior to entering the audition room. Because once you’re in – we want to get straight down to business.
3) Dress appropriately
Please – do NOT come in costume. Ever. But do spend a little time thinking about your wardrobe and the impression you will make as you walk in the door.
Even small details – earrings, scarves, shoes, hair up/down/styled/tousled, stubble – all help create the subliminal image that you are close to the character you are portraying.
4) Be bold.
Okay, we’re getting to the meat of it now. In a film audition you have to do a tremendous amount of homework before you get into the room. You have to study your character, see where it appears in the story, understand the function of your role – and then expertly invent an interesting three dimensional character. No matter how small the part you have to create a living, breathing person that would have a life outside of the scene.
In short, you have to commit. Transform yourself into the character.
And you have to do this all on your own before getting any input from a director.
So when the time comes for you to do your audition you can present us with a fully fledged character, as opposed to an adequate but pedestrian ‘reading’ of the lines.
We strongly recommend that actors volunteer to be readers in our auditions so that they can see that nine out of ten actors come in with a reasonable but safe interpretation of a role, but the one that stands out usually gets the job.
5) Read the entire script, and especially read the stage directions in your audition scenes.
This might seem obvious, but many actors fail to get the gist of a scene because they haven’t looked at what they are supposed to be doing, or because they don’t understand where the scene comes in the flow of the plot. If you pull a gun or have one pulled on you it’s going to make a difference to how your lines are delivered. If your character hasn’t spoken in ten years then the first words you utter may be physically difficult to say. If the main character’s wife has just died in the scene preceding yours then it may affect your tone.
And if you incorporate actions and gestures into your audition then it makes memorising the lines easier.
6) Be camera aware.
We need to constantly see your face, so no matter where you are looking or what actions you are doing you need to know where the camera is and – more or less – keep facing it. If your scene involves speaking to more than one other character, place them either side of the camera. If you need to ‘notice’ something behind you then place it above the camera. It may feel strange and unnatural but at least we (and the execs and financiers who aren’t in the room) will be able to see your expression and that’s the whole ball game.
And never, ever look into the camera unless directed to do so.
That’s it for now. Feel free to post questions and we’ll update this page with more tips as they occur to us. You can also watch a short interview we made with Spotlight about the do’s and don’ts of the audition room – you can find it here.
Please also take a look at our online course The Acting Habit – it’s a fantastic way to drill these tips into your daily routine.