Suzanne Lyons discusses the importance of networking and offers great information on creating relationships within the Entertainment Industry.
This is the final installment of my 3 part “In the Moment” interview with Award Winning Disney casting Director, Miss Carol Goldwasser. The wonderful thing about Carol’s insights in this interview that separate her from others, is her realistic approach to working with and getting the most from child actors. Not that her comments aren’t relevant to actors of all ages. It’s nice to know that she sees the extra special care needed when drawing out the best performances from kids and teens. Especially when the child actors and teen actors are often the most free. Enjoy the interview. I know I did.
Diane: Welcome Carol, it is so good to have you here for the second of our 3 part interview today.
Diane: How is casting Kids and Teens different from casting adults?
Carol: You really have to give them more leeway and more coaching. A question that I get asked a lot when I teach is “would you give that same redirection in an audition room?” And my answer is usually, “it depends on how many people I have in the waiting room and how interested I am.” You really have to give kids the benefit of the doubt. You have to guide them along. Adults, hopefully, have come through a conservatory program or an acting program and will come in having made certain choices; you’re physically right or wrong, or you’re funny, or not the right quality or you are the right quality. I have to be more flexible with kids and lead them by the nose. When you direct them they will understand and take your direction but they don’t necessarily come in with the choices so I have to give them a lot more room to find it. Casting is a compromise as is, it’s not going to be exactly what the producers and writers envision. As a casting director you have to let them know that. Maybe an actor doesn’t have all of the elements of what you envisioned the character to have, but he’s 14! Can we make some adjustments to what he brings in the room? Can we put him with a coach and coach him through the testing process? On one of my pilots we had to do just that. There was an actor that we felt had 80% of the qualities for the role but he definitely needed work on his acting skills because it was a role that required not only acting skills, but singing skills and dancing skills and instrumental skills. We had him work with a coach through the audition process. We really had to take it home. This has happened on more than one project. You really have to work with them to get them there, especially for a series where you are banking on this person’s ability to perform and have the appeal to get the audience. It’s not just one episode. You are trying to build the skill or get them to a place where you see that this is someone who is going to bring viewers in for 3 seasons. It sounds like a very daunting process but it is actually fun! The whole process of playing comedy and learning comedy is a lot of fun. If it’s something that you’re interested in you should take advantage of all the training that’s out there, both online and in person. And you know, jump in and see what you can get from it!
D: I agree! Training, training, training and some more training.
C: Yes! Training is so important. Auditions are pressurized situations and if you are in your class on a weekly basis, when you go in for an audition you think “this is what I do. I say words. I enact a character.” It doesn’t feel as if you’re so invested or freaked out in that one situation because this is what you do on a weekly basis. You’re open to taking direction because it’s what you do in your classes every week.
D: And collaborating and making choices and all of the things that Actors of all ages need to do.
D: I want to thank Carol Goldwasser on behalf of all of us because I’m sure that there’s so much that we’ve all learned here today. She’s a wonderful resource for really knowing how to audition for Children’s television. So tune in next time and thank you so much for joining us! We’ll see you at Diane Christiansen Coaching. Give us a call! www.DianeChristiansen.com
After 22 years of teaching and an equal number of years working in the Entertainment Industry, I thought I knew quite a bit about casting. Additionally, we have guest CD’s in for our monthly casting director workshop, Actors Platform, at our studios and we learn a tremendous amount about what goes on in the audition room. But Carol really has some great new information in this interview. Actors of all ages ~ LISTEN UP ~ this one you do not want to miss, because Carol has some very valuable information to share in regards to the casting process that even I didn’t know!!
Diane: Welcome Carol, it is so good to have you here for the second of our 3 part interview today.
Carol: Thank you for having me.
Diane: When a young actor comes in to audition for you, does their talent, their resume or their look matter the most?
Carol: Most of the time, when a young actor, say 5 to 8 years old comes in, because I do have to cast actors that young, their credits don’t matter. They could have only done some print or a commercial, then if I see a talented 5 or 8 year old, as long as they have a look, or a funny personality or a quality that works, then we’ll cast them. When I’m casting teens, 12 to 14, L.A. is a competitive market, and I will look at their resumes to see if they have done any other comedy TV shows in town. I’ll see “Oh, well so and so cast her on this or that, and I will notice” Because there are other Casting Directors in town whose work I respect, and I will take note. But if it’s one line, say a cheerleader, if she has the right look and can execute the line as it was written, then it will be equally about the look and the delivery.
D: What is a NO NO in the casting office?
C: Don’t touch the casting director! I mean, I work with kids and teens of all ages and now and then, a young child will want to give me a hug at the end, I don’t worry about that, that’s harmless. But if sometimes, experienced adult actors come in and get down and start acting out a part of a love scene with me, I’ll be like, “No no, you don’t go kissing the casting director on the ear”. That’s a NO NO! You know, I get asked about my pet peeves a lot. One of mine is when an actor comes in and says, “I just got this”. Which, to me, sounds like me and my office didn’t get it to them in time to adequately prepare. If an actor just got this, then everyone else in the waiting room just got this because WE just got it because the writers did a rewrite overnight. So, everyone’s in the same boat and if an actor comes into a Producers session and says “I just got this”, I have to do an internal eye roll, because the feeling is like a DIS to the casting director. Unfortunately, auditioning is part of the job and preparing on short notice is part of the job and when you get on set, you’ll get revisions every day, so you have to be fast on your feet, that’s what you get paid for. It’s not like theatre, where you get 8 to 10 weeks of rehearsal, you get line when you get to set, and you have to be quick. So, that’s a NO NO.
D: Would you encourage or discourage props at an audition?
C: Most of the time I don’t like them because I feel like it takes away from the actor. If the audition becomes about the coffee cup and not the actor. One exception I would say would be in a phone scene, it’s more distracting to see an actor mime a phone than to use one. Because phone scenes are so common now, that when an actor says “Can I use my phone?’ I say yes because it looks weirder to not use it than not to use it. But don’t bring in any bananas, or Frisbees, or fire hoses!!
D: How do you feel about miming in an audition?
C: As long as I don’t feel like I’m watching Marcel Marceau, I’m fine with it. If people are doing a little bit of business in a scene, to support the scene, then I’m fine with it, as long as they’re finding the balance between the action and the dialogue. It can be distracting when it becomes more about the miming and not the communication. There are certain scenes that seem to require it, I mean, I haven’t worked on anything like this for awhile, but when I was casting Medical dramas and things like that, when there’s a lot of business going on in a scene, it seems like you need to add some movement to make that scene live, whether or not it is a little bit of action or exact movements. If it’s single camera, people become so used to staying in frame, they are very still. We will actually encourage people to enter and exit in and out of frame because when we shoot on set, it’s in front of an audience and we are going to see that actor move and at the audition, if they are framed very tightly, then they get on set and we see them walk, and if that actor walks funny, we’re like “OMG we don’t want to see that”, so I do think it’s important to add some movement in the audition.
from Create Your Reel Read more
Executive/Artistic Director of the Creede Repertory Theatre, Maurice LaMee gives actors a crash course in the basics!
These tips will help you avoid common auditioning pitfalls. Follow these basics and you will be on your way to nailing the gig!
#7 – You Aren’t Right for the Role
Dear actors, as you probably know, this is the main reason you didn’t get the job. It is perhaps obvious, but it’s important to be compassionate towards your self in a business where rejection is the rule and getting the job is the exception. There is so much that you cannot control in the casting process. The competition is so fierce and the casting process is so subjective! At my company, the Creede Repertory Theatre, I generally only add one to four new company members a season and I generally audition over 1000 people for those several spots. In addition, I might receive an additional 1000 to 1500 unsolicited resumes via mail or email from actors. I’m looking for very specific types to fill those few spots. If you aren’t that type it’s unlikely you will even be considered. Zelda Fichandler wrote an intriguing article about non-traditional casting in American Theatre Magazine several years ago – but most producers aren’t there yet. Be kind to yourself, especially if you gave a really good audition. But also do your homework about what a theatre company or producer is looking for in its casting call. The following six items are things over which you do have control.