It’s only our opinion, but we wanted to share what might just make the perfect audition... whether you bag the job or not! Auditions are never easy; nerves, fear, expectations and more. Below are some handy tips that we at MAP use.
Your Casting Type: The two most important points an actor needs to know… 1) Know yourself 2) Be comfortable with yourself …There’s no point going for auditions for jobs you’re never going to get! What to take to a casting: A slightly old fashioned list, but i'd always rather be safe than sorry! 1) Water - for when your mouth suddenly feels like an old sock! 2) Pencil - To mark your script up! 3) Map (we have phones but they don’t always work!) - Getting off the bus in the general area and hoping/praying there's a sign-post wont always work and you might not have signal to use GoogleMaps! 4) Dictionary - You have to know the meaning of every single word; don't get caught out! Your phone, again, will do the job. What to wear to a casting: Different casting directors expect different things – if you’re going to a casting for a Viking, nobody expects you to dress like one, however, as an ‘office bod’, security guard, skateboarder, you might be able to suggest these in your choice of clothing. Don’t go over the top! Being on time: If you casting is at 2pm, aim to arrive at 1:30 and then allow for 15 minutes of travel chaos. 45 minutes might seem excessive but arriving early allows you time to relax, cool down, find where you're supposed to be, get a drink, get focussed....maybe even get the script earlier! Arriving at 1:55 might mean walking into that room in entirely the wrong headspace! The ‘Casting Waiting Room’…. Possibly the worst place you will ever sit in! A room full of people that look exactly like you, or nothing at all like you! Do not second-guess or talk yourself out of the job! Some people like to go over their lines, some people play games on their phone (some people do spine rolls! Please don’t be that person!). Nor should you engage anyone in conversation unless it feels easy…you might just get talking to the guy who has landed a job at The National and knows the Casting director – this wont help your nerves! ALWAYS REMEMBER: You arrived without the job and so if you leave and still haven’t got the job, you’ve lost nothing but gained some valuable experience! In the room: -When you enter the room, the first 10 seconds can make all the difference! People want to work not only with good actors, but also with people who don’t irritate them – come across like a confident, easy-going and fun person then you’ve got past the first hurdle.
-Shaking hands is a difficult thing and something you need to judge immediately – if there are 48 people on the pane, shaking hands will simply take too bloody long! If the person who shows you in introduces you to two people, a polite handshake can break the ice beautifully. -Never underestimate any person in the room – the guy operating the camera might be ‘just’ the camera operator, but you never know if he’s the producer’s partner standing in for a day. Play the game with everyone! -Similarly, on entry, you should be able to judge the mood of the room. It’s possible that you re the 300th person they have seen for the job and they’re bored, running late, feeling a bit hung-over and have no time for ‘banter’. They could however, be incredibly chatty, keen to discuss what you’ve been up to or a mutual friend – you need to be able to deduce this in the first 10 seconds. -Know you’re script! Read the play/script!! Sounds simple but it’s done too often – people pretend to have read the script and lie. It doesn’t always, but I’ve heard too many horror stories about when this has back- fired. If you don’t know the protagonist dies on the last page, you’re on a hiding to nowhere! -Learn the sides! If you’re sent the script more than 6 hours in advance of the casting then you MUST learn it. Learning it doesn’t mean that you suddenly gain more brownie points, but it does allow you more freedom to play, the chance to be more human and, most importantly, allows the camera/casting director to see your face and eyes more! Keeping looking at a piece of paper means that we have to hope you have a stunning ‘top of head’. More so now CD's are asking people to NOT learn it. They do this to stop it being a line recital exercise. If thios is the case, it doesn't mean 'do nothing'. Work on it! Get comfortable with it! Make choices! -Research those involved; directors, producers etc. This doesn’t mean some severe stalking of their family and friends but a little knowledge about their back catalogue, their colleagues etc., can sometimes do you the world of good. Maybe you are from the same town as the writer… -Know when to shut up! You should begin to filter what you’re saying. A casting director doesn’t want to know EVERYONE you have worked with, what you’re about to deliver or your entire research package nor do they care if you have a cold or your dog has recently passed away – no excuses. We should assume that the work we have done would come out in the reading. Show your stuff in the actual casting. -Listen to the question and answer it! Again, this sounds simple, but actually, when we’re nervous, trying to impress and wanting to say the right thing it can be difficult. There’s nothing worse than starting to answer a question, drifting off the point, not really knowing where you’re going, losing the thread, talking about your holiday…and….how did this start?! -Don’t lie! If you can’t ride a horse tomorrow, don’t say you can horse ride unless you're prepared to learn VERY quickly! Yeah, you might get away with running out of the casting and booking a crash course, but sometimes, it’s not going to happen! Similarly, don’t fill your CV up with false credits – I know a wonderful story about a Telly Tubby that came unstuck! -Be careful! You will have been told in many instances about how small this world is – well here’s someone else telling you! The industry is small…really small! I don’t know why but it is! If you’ve worked with someone in the past and not got on with them, it’s probably not a good idea to start bitching about them; they might just be this casting directors golden girl, best mate…wife! The reading: It would be nice to step into the room and get a great actor to work with. This rarely happens! Prepare yourself to be reading with a casting director or their assistant. There’s a high chance that not only will they have not had much/any acting experience, but also they might be reading this for the 50th time today. You’re trained to listen and respond, but in a casting, this might be the last thing that will work! Make a choice: You will have heard people tell you this time and time again and that’s because it’s important, however, don’t fall into the trap of thinking the bigger and more crazy the choice, the more chance you have of wowing the producers. You do need to make choices on the text, but keep them within the realms of possibility; beats, pauses, thoughts, back story. A vet from Sheffield will probably not have a pet alien or a Californian accent. They’ve brought you in because your headshot fits with what they are looking for. The text/script will give you more clues about how to play it but ultimately, find some colour, commit to your choices, work out an OBJECTIVE and BE HUMAN! Sometimes the obvious choices aren’t always the greatest – try the opposite and you might be surprised. How many times have we laughed through tears or whispered our threats? A variety and colour is essential – avoid generalized emotion. Once you’ve made these choices, be prepared to hear that they are not what they’re looking for and throw them away… Take the note: If you’re given a note, take it with both hands. The note might not necessarily be about moving you to where they think the character should go – it might be about seeing how you respond to notes. If this is your one chance and you don’t respond then you might miss out!
Sight-reading: The most important thing you can take to an audition today is the ability to sight-read! More and more are casting directors delivering your sides on the day when you arrive; I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t sent a script and then asked to do a monologue! Your sight-reading has to be beyond that of telling a story to your young family member. You MUST be reading at least half a line ahead of where your mouth is up to. This allows us to make those snap decisions on text and be at ease. Always learn the first line, so you can deliver this cleanly and off the page. Leave the room: Once you’re done, leave. Don’t ask how it went or when you’ll find out…just thank people and be polite. Sometimes you’ll feel like you haven’t been given enough time – that’s just life! The journey home: You WILL sit on the bus and think about all the things you didn’t do. This is fine but make sure you use it constructively, not to ruin your confidence! Five minutes constructive self-criticism, ensure you noted any mistakes, then put it to bed and go for a pint. Didn’t get the job?: Don’t beat yourself up! All you can do is get to a level where you leave happy with what you have done. ALWAYS REMEMBER: You arrived without the job and so if you leave and still haven’t got the job, you’ve lost nothing but gained some valuable experience!