Written by Waymon Boone, Director
So, you beat the odds. You showed up for your audition. You nailed your scene. The Casting Director hugged you until they broke a bone. You slept like a thousand babies that night. You then received the phone call that every actor in the world dreams of. You booked the job! Confetti falls from the sky. Your blood rushes.
You call every friend, loved one (and even a few enemies) to tell them about your accomplishment!
Now, it’s time to think about the reality of things. I just got the job. How do I keep the job? Just as important, How the heck do I get rehired for the NEXT job?
We’re going to delve into the five ways you can make sure a Director wants to RE-hire you.
1. KNOW YOUR LINES
Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. Time is money and no one knows that more than the Director.
Here is a slice of reality for you. Despite what you may have studied in theater schools or acting classes. Film and Television are devoid of only one thing. What thing is that? Wait for it… Rehearsals. Yes, you’ve read this correctly. The simple ability to rehearse. From Networks to Indie darlings to Studios. There will almost NEVER be a single proper rehearsal prior to you getting to actually do the job you love.
Instead there might be: A getting to know you meeting. A table read. Blocking session (On the day) Even your audition-itself can become the only rehearsal time you will see. (Be ready when a Director tells you “do it like you did in the audition.”)
So this means you need to bring your absolute A Game. Preparation is key. Knowing your lines backwards and forwards is the absolute minimum that an actor must bring to the table. For example, on average, a television show will give you 1-3 takes and NO MORE of a shot. If you do get more takes, then… Houston we have a problem! Red flags will shine bright. In addition, during those 1 to 3 takes, lines can be cut, trimmed and added. Along with everything in between. The actor who shows up not knowing his lines is a guaranteed way to not get rehired.
2. KNOW YOUR DIRECTOR
Another simple thing that gets overlooked. Is it a bit of ass-kissing? YOU BET. Have fun with it. Build camaraderie the best that you can. In this world of social media, it can be easier than ever to look up a photo of the Director. Don’t show up on set telling the caterer you loved his last movie! Also, try to contact someone/anyone that has worked with the Director on a past project. Find out: What is she like? What can I expect? Does he push improv or strictly on book? One take or a ton of them? It will help you navigate your time together.
3. KNOW THE EMOTIONAL STATE OF YOUR SCENE
All films and television are shot out of order. You can shoot the divorce scene before filming the wedding. This means with every single scene you shoot, you have to nail the exact emotional state that it begins in. How? By studying the script and writing copious amounts of notes, especially on the sides you have to shoot that day. Determine what happened prior to this moment and where are you going right after it. A pretty close rule of thumb is that no director is going to tell you “how to act” for the very first take. I call it “one for you, the rest for the director” So don’t blow that opportunity by being so far off the mark on the first one, that the Director loses confidence in you!
4. REPORT CARDS MATTER
Yep. Just like high school. So, be kind. Be helpful. The difficult actor, gets talked about just like the bully. Reputations spread quickly. Every time you book a job. Someone may be calling the last people you worked with to see what you were like. A bad review can mean losing the job with the next Director. Why do Directors use the same actors so often? They already know what they’re getting and the like it. Never be late. Or fussy. Or over apologetic. As the Brits say “just get on with it” Bring ideas to the table, when asked, and a spirit that lights up the room.
5. KNOW HOW TO HIT MARKS
This might seem strange to you to be the #1 road to rehiring, but it is the absolute truth that all actors need to know.
Picture this: You walk on set and 100 people are standing there waiting for you. You might think “geeze all of these people are judging my acting? No. They are not.
99 of them want you to do ONE thing and one thing only. HIT. YOUR. MARK. Nothing more. Only the Director wants two things, for you to hit your marks AND to also give a great performance. The rest, all have jobs to do. As do you, to stand where you are lit. Sit where the boom mic will be. Run to the mark where the camera lens was focused and you will have pleased absolutely everyone in the room.
When blocking a rehearsal. Find motivated ways to hit the marks (without looking down at them.) You could even try saying the lines while walking backwards to the marks. You can practice at home any given business to do. Like cooking or fixing a flat tire in the scene, while saying your dialog.
Remember if you give the greatest Oscar winning performance of all time but walked out of frame when you do it. We cannot use it. It is THAT important. Mess it up enough and no matter your acting skills level, a Director will not hire you back.
So, work harder than anyone else in the room and with a positive attitude and you will reap the rewards and be on a Director’s radar!
Waymon Boone is an award-winning Writer/Director and founder of the Los Angeles-based production company and film studio, Genetic Code Pictures. He directed and co-wrote the upcoming horror-thriller release, Apparition, starring Kevin Pollak and Mena Suvari; and directed the recently released streaming family drama Sunrise in Heaven, starring Corbin Bernsen, Dee Wallace, and rising actors Caylee Cowan and Travis Burns. His first feature film, The Devils in the Details, starred Ray Liotta; followed by the family-faith feature, My Daddy is in Heaven, starring Corbin Bernsen and Jenn Gotzon. Switching gears, Waymon wrote and directed for the Here TV television series, Falling for Angels. In addition, he traveled the world directing the highly successful documentary, The Abundance Factor, and recently toured the globe a second time for the upcoming, Age of the Entrepreneur. Waymon is also known for creating the #1 premiere Los Angeles on-camera acting class, Studio A Acting Class, giving actors a chance to hone their skills in a real-world studio with a working director.