10 Secrets That Casting Directors Don’t Tell You

Written by Gywn Gilliss

The most important part of an actor’s job is the AUDITION.

You have to get in the door, show your best work (on spec) in order to GET THE WORK! But there’s a professional standard that many new actors don’t fully understand.

Casting Directors often don’t have time to instruct or give helpful tips on what is expected. They are there solely to find the best or most appropriate actor for the job, not give a course on auditioning.

So, once you get in the door of a Casting office, you don’t want to blow it.

At your next audition, try these ten tips. They might help you win brownie points with the CD and maybe get a callback or even BOOK the job!

1. Be the character from the moment you leave your home. Stay focused no matter what happens on the way to the audition.

2. Don’t try to prove that you can act. Amateurs spend all their time trying to impress people so they will be taken seriously as actors. Professionals just show their best work.

3. Don’t ask numerous questions about the director, the shoot, the location, the pay, the cast members, how to play the part, etc. Getting the part doesn’t mean aggravating the Casting Director. Just do a great audition!

4. Try to cope with fear or anxiety-run around the block, go to the gym, take a yoga class or just jump up and down BEFORE you get there. Do something to focus your energy. You can even do vocal exercises in the bathroom.

5. Be polite, humble, and gracious. Get rid of the ego! Have fun! The point of an audition is to show your product-your talent, your personality, your professionalism, not to challenge the Casting Director who may ask you to try a different approach or take a new direction.

6. Be prepared – bring the script, know the lines, suggest the character by your wardrobe, but don’t wear a costume. If possible, drop the script during your audition to free you to be more authentic. But be open for possible direction. Don’t get locked in to your prepared performance.

7. Be able to perform on the drop of a dime-emotionally as well as with a dialect, accent or specific character choice. Do not stand in the corner and prepare. Any “method-y” approach only annoys the professionals watching you. Don’t be surprised if the writer, director or even an Executive producer is present.

8. Take direction and change the reading if the Casting Director requests you to. Showing flexibility is a sign of a true professional. Try not to think of it as “rejecting” your performance- it’s a compliment that the CD asked you to try something different, respecting you as a professional who is capable of many creative choices. The longer you stay in the room, the better shot you have of booking the role!

9. You may be auditioning opposite a “reader” but you still have to be believable. No, it isn’t their job to provide you with an excellent “scene partner.” You have to create the reality on your own even if the other “character” isn’t an actor and is sitting stiffly on a chair in the corner. Think of it as a FUN challenge!

10. Make the strongest choice you can! Casting Directors love to be amused, surprised, and entertained. Even if it’s a “wrong” choice, they will know that you have courage and talent.– you went out on a limb to “try” something daring. They can always give you a new direction or call you back. A “safe” reading never wins. For being brave, you’ll have a better chance at getting the job!

Happy Auditioning!

Gwyn Gilliss is the Founder and Executive Director of TAM, The Actor’s Market, a marketing firm for actors. They provide monthly FREE seminars/teleseminars, FREE weekly marketing tips as well as access to top photographers, graphic artists and videographers who provide every marketing tool an actor needs. Gwyn’s acting career spans several decades during which time she appeared on and off-Broadway, in classical roles in American Repertory companies in over 18 contract and recurring roles in Daytime/Prime time TV, Films and dozens of network commercials/V.O.’s. As the foremost Marketing/Career Coach she is available to work One-on-One with ready-to-succeed actors.

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