Jason La Padura has been a Casting Director for almost 30 years. His long list of Television, Film & Theatre credits include High School Musical, Heros and Touch to name a few. Jason started out casting theatre in New York and eventually moved to Los Angeles forming La Padura/Hart Casting. Read more
by: Holly Powell
You made it into the audition room successfully without tripping and are focused and ready to go with your choices. And then…(a) the Casting Director decides to chat a bit; (b) no one looks up at you; (c) they ask, “Do you have any questions?”
So many actors in my classes tell me how focused they are when walking into the audition room, sure of their choices, and then the whole thing unravels because of something the Casting Director, Director or Producer say or do. First, if the Casting Director, Director or Producer starts to chat with you, this is a good thing! But a lot of actors get unfocused while chatting is going on and when the Casting Director decides chat time is over and says, “Are you ready to start?”…looking at their watch… the actor feels rushed with the need to hurry up and begin.
When chat time is deemed over, make sure you take 5 to 10 seconds to get back into your mental focus and remind yourself of your choices. Don’t ASK if you can have a moment to adjust (they could say, “No, let’s go we’re late”)…just take it! The asking gives your power away. YOU take control of the room, it’s YOUR audition time, it’s YOUR 3 minutes.
If you walk into the audition room and no one is making eye contact with you, just make sure you are trying to make eye contact with them. In that moment when they do finally glance up, they want to see an actor who is focused and ready to go. But, the biggest thing that can rattle an actor after walking into the audition room is that age-old habit the Casting Director says automatically… “Do you have any questions?”
My best advice to the asking of this question is: “No, I’m good, thanks!” See, you’ve already made your choices, right? And if you think you SHOULD ask a question and the answer you get back completely contradicts your choices, you will spend the entire audition trying to make the adjustment on the spot. Honestly, Casting Directors would rather see what unique choices you have made and how prepared you are…and THEN give you direction. They would rather see an audition where the choices might be “wrong” in their opinion, than watch an audition where the actor is struggling to adjust.
So, skip the asking of questions unless you really have no idea what the relationship is in the scene or have no idea what is going on in the scene. Those are probably OK questions!
Billy DaMota has depth. He’s the kind of casting director that really cares about the actor. My class spent a few evenings with him and we really enjoyed his take on acting. Read more
During Part 1 of my conversation with Casting Director Caroline Liem, we discussed the priorities actors should concentrate on when they first arrive in Los Angeles: Get a working car, get into acting class and get a great picture taken by a professional photographer. In Part 2, Caroline and I will discuss the business side of acting, the audition room and pet peeves.