One of the worst things to go through when you are an actor/actress is the audition process. I myself have recently held a set of auditions and I really do feel for the people who turn up to these events. You are going to a strange place, not knowing exactly who put up the advert and worst thing of the lot, you are than paraded like a piece of meat. I admire the actors and actresses who put themselves up for show every time they attend an audition. I respect what they do as an art form and I appreciate the amount of time given every time I send out a casting notice. To you my dear actors and actresses, I salute you.
So, to anyone that is reading this blog, here are a few hints and tips to note for what this director looks for at an audition. These are not general rules, but my own personal tastes. However, there is some general good advice here that can be applied to many auditions that may be attended in the future. And do not be disheartened. It is very hard to receive rejection after rejection, but if you take a read through these notes, you might see why you succeed (or fail) at the casting process.
1)Turn up on time:
Filming firstly begins with great time keeping. On the set there are many people coming from various parts of the city. If you run late on the set, production is held up for you. There is nothing worse than being kept waiting for someone because of ‘traffic’ or the ‘tube was late’ – it’s London, you know this always happens and so we expect you to be on time!
In essence, if you are late for the audition, then you are probably going to be late for the filming. Even though you will be let into the audition, you already have a great big mark against your name.
2)Turn up on time:
Let us say the audition is at 2pm. If you turn up at 1:59, while technically on time, you have not given yourself time. Time to grab a glass of water, time to go to the toilet or time to register yourself. While I will not put a mark against your name for being just in time, I will keep that in mind that you were rushed.
In other words, aim to arrive 15 mins before the appointed slot.
(Big hint. Everyone I have worked with has turned up at least 15 mins early)
You are nervous, I understand that. So am I. So many people to choose from, and like you, I cannot distinguish the nutters from the sane. But be nice. I am surprised by the amount of people that bitch on set. It reflects a lot of unease on your part. There are other ways to be nervous, but rudeness is not a good way of showing it.
Yeah, you will be surprised how much I overhear. Be smart, and think before you speak.
Many actors and actresses act through their mouths. This is very important when dealing with a theatre audience. You have to show your abilities all the way to ‘the gods’. For film, that is not necessary. In fact, flailing your arms and screaming does not work on a camera. You will be surprised that the camera will pick the quiet ones, not the loud ones.
(Here’s a hint from American Beauty – fast forward to the 9 minute mark)
So you must have…
Energy is not shouting. It is a liveliness that comes through the eyes (you can see a pattern developing). There is a difference between saying ‘I’m Happy!’ and actually showing it. The audience is smart, and the camera is unforgiving. If you do not believe that you are happy, then it will not come across on film and so it won’t come across in the final cut.
If you enjoy the auditions, then it will show on the camera. Quite simple actually. And with every audition you can learn something from it. If you are really nice, the director might give you some feedback, but (please) do not go psycho on him/her.
A simple thing, but it always good. While I provide refreshments at my auditions, it is generally good to have bottle of water for yourself. Also make sure you are not hungry on set – eat your sandwich before you turn up, not as you walk through the door!