Casting Director Bernie Telsey’s Audition Tips

Bernard Telsey Casting Director Audition Advice

Only in his 20’s when he landed at Simon & Kumin Casting as an assistant, Bernie Telsey quickly moved up in the ranks after his work with the hit musical, Rent. Today, he’s one of the most respected casting directors around and recently sat down with Playbill to give actors some audition tips.

Noting that “training is a must,” Telsey revealed what he looks for in an audition. “Auditions are like a blind date for the casting director and the actor. The audition starts the minute you walk in the room. Have a sense of presence. We may be looking for someone who has a certain size, shape and color…but many times if someone has the talent it will change our mind.”

He also shared that song choice is one of the other important aspects. “You can’t just sing one kind of song. You must have one old song and one new pop and modern song. Pick something where you connect to the lyrics. It’s storytelling. [Also] If you’re coming in for a show like Wicked don’t come in with a song from Wicked unless we ask you to.”

Be trained, he went on to say. “Have a sense of presence” and put actual thought into those song choices.

As far as what to avoid, Telsey said, “The biggest deal-breaker is not being prepared. You have to have a book [of songs you are prepared to sing at a moment’s notice]. You have to have more than one song. Even if the casting notice says you only need one song, if we like you we may ask you to sing another. The other no-no is overreaching. Don’t sing “Defying Gravity” if you’re not comfortable with it and if you’re not ready to start singing it eight performances a week.”

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/dylan-obrien-american-assassin.jpg
Dylan O’Brien on His ‘Maze Runner’ Injury and Working with Michael Keaton on ‘American Assassin’
"Getting to play a character over a lengthy period of time is always a pleasure, especially if you like the character." - Dylan O'Brien
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/billy-eichner.jpg
Billy Eichner on His Unsuccessful Past as a Child Actor: “I was too tall. I was too this. I was too that”
Eichner reveals that he turned to comedy because his initial forays into acting proved unsuccessful.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/eddie-izzard-victoria-and-abdul.jpg
Eddie Izzard on Creating a Character: “I should be able to come off script and improvise”
"The better you researched it – the better you are into the character before you land on the set, the easier it’s going to be. " - Eddie Izzard on Preparing for a Role
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/mackenzie-davis-halt-and-catch-fire.jpg
Mackenzie Davis on Breakthrough ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ Role: “It was one of my very first jobs. I was so nervous”
"When I started this job, I remembered looking up “how actors prepare for parts” because I just didn’t know!" - Mackenzie Davis
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/michael-keaton-american-assassin.jpg
Michael Keaton on Choosing Roles: “If you overthink the money part, you tend to mess it up”
Keaton explains why material is so much more important to him than money.