So You Get the Audition… Then What?
I wanted to cover the topic, “What Does An Actor Do Once They Get An Audition?” From the point of view of a Casting Director, I see your picture and resume and decide to call you in for an audition. I know that each actor has their own process about how they prepare for an audition, but I’m not in the actor’s shoes.
So, I thought the best way to cover this topic was to go directly to some of the actors in my Audition Workshops and see what their tips are…
JD FERRANTINO: I get the sides and read it and read it and decide who the character is…searching for clues and hints and the gems the writer has given me. I decide what the moment is before the scene starts, where the scene takes place, who I am talking to…what my relationship is to this person…and what my intention is.
Often you don’t get a full script, only a breakdown is given describing the character. The breakdown is often very vague, so I need to mine the scene for clues.
NOSHIR DALAL: I often don’t quite get the tone of the scene or script, and one thing I’ve really been doing lately, is to look on IMDB (International Movie Data Base) to see who the writer of the script is. I see other things the writer has written, which helps me get a feel and tone for this script. I also look to see who the Producers of the show are as well, which can also give clues as to what the tone is.
SHARON MUTHU: I read the sides first, and if there is a script, I read that later to see where my character fits. When I first look at the sides I get a “gut” reaction about what’s happening and who the character is. So, when I then read the full script I will compare and contrast to see if my overall intention is right.
I’m one of those actors who tends to be over analytical…and then I could end up sabotaging myself.
JOSH LATZER: Most times when I get an audition, I’ll leave it alone unless it is the next day. I don’t like to over think it. But, I do prepare. Part of my preparation is that I read both parts out loud. I always work by myself, and it helps to hear the other characters lines out loud so you aren’t hearing them for the first time when in the audition room.
I try to trust my instincts.
BETHANY MANGUM: If I read the breakdown and it is nothing like me…like an Asian character and I am a Caucasian…I think, hmmmm…why did they call me in? Then I think…Why not me? The Casting Director called me in for the part, so maybe I can change their minds about it.
I read the sides, but do my best not to read the character description. Because I’ve done a lot of Theatre, I like to base my choices on text only. What is the writer giving you? Then I’ll read the breakdown, and if the description matches my choices then great….and if not…? I like to go with my “gut”, because that can change their minds. Have them re-write it for me!
BEN STILLWELL: First, I figure out how much time I have with it, and may give it a little less thought then if I had the audition the next day. If given a script and sides, I will read the script first and see how my character fits. Then I read the sides.
I figure out what Network it is for. I have messed up on that before. I have treated it like it was a FOX audition when it was a DISNEY audition and it was totally the wrong move.
MICHAEL GREBE: You should always prepare everything as if you were right for it. You can’t tell yourself you are not right, ever, because…who knows? I could go in and they say “Alright…I like that…the dimples and blue eyes!”
KAITLYN REED: I like to start really small. I work on bringing me as much as possible to the character. I tend to match breakdowns pretty spot on…so I might look at it and say, “This is so much like me, maybe there is something I’m missing.” I try to trust that it IS me, and that it’s fine.
Where in here can I make things me.
I will read the script later…I always go to great lengths to find it if I don’t have it…but, I like to start small and go through each moment.
For me, the relationship is the big thing, that and the moment before. When I get into the room…if things start to go out the window…even if I don’t know where I am, if I know where I am coming from and who I am talking to, I pretty much can’t go wrong.
HOLLY POWELL: Every actor has their own process on how to prepare for an audition. But, take this advise from a former Casting Director…PREPARE, DON’T WING IT. I once had an actress in one of my Audition Workshops who told me that she never worked on an audition, because she liked to keep it spontaneous and fresh. And I said to her… “How’s that been working out for you?”