Its amazing to me that so many talented actors stress over auditions. Here is the deal: a casting director has called you in. They are looking for a certain dynamic for what they are casting, and they will see a certain number of people for that roll. They really don’t care about anything besides your ability, and thats the truth of it. Producers may argue over “star power”, but casting directors want to give them what they are asking for and make a successful project.
So as an actor, stressing gets you nowhere. What does get you somewhere is working on your skill and treating each audition with great care. Casting directors remember talent. Its about the work. When you go in prepared and show them your skill, they will call you back for other projects even if you didn’t match the original role. You will develop a working rapport with casting directors over time. And time is what it takes sometimes. Those “over night successes” are a media thing. Ninety-nine percent of actors have auditioned and worked on their skills for YEARS before that success was made.
With that said here are some basic tips…
#1) WHAT TO WEAR:
Never dress full character. Dress as yourself and hint towards the character in what you wear. If you are auditioning for badass … wear badass clothing. If you’re auditioning for a period piece, wear something current, but that hints to it. Don’t go dressed in a petticoat with an antique satin day suit. Don’t make yourself all muddy because your going out for a homeless person. Get the idea?
Make sure clothing is not wrinkled or spotted or has holes or other basics. To those of you in California who like casual attire… flip flops and sloppy beach attire communicate that you simply didn’t care enough to get dressed. So basically what I am saying here is don’t be a slob.
#2) MAKE -UP
Guys: Unless you are a guy liner kind of guy going for a rockin’ roll part the only thing a man should wear to an audition is cherry chapstick. AND YOU SHOULD WEAR CHERRY CHAPSTICK GUYS!!! It keeps your lips from being pale without looking all glossy.
Women: Light clean make up, ladies. Don’t go in with club war paint. Clean and fresh for 90% of what you go for. The exception to the rule is edgy roles or gritty girls. Don’t go overboard on it, but darker is fine.
Kids: My kid is pale. And she gets dark under the eyes. So sometimes I do a little tiny bit of makeup and a clear mascara or a medium brown mascara. But here is the deal… I make it so that she does not look like she is wearing make-up. You do not want a kid going in looking like she is wearing make-up. Never lipstick… only soft glosses. If you’re unpracticed at applying make-up, practice these skills.
#3) BASIC PREP
Do not go party the night before an audition. Eat well. Sleep well. The day of, eat well. Women are the worst at this. You need to have your full mental skills ready. Not eating because you don’t want to look fat is perhaps the stupidest BS that women mainly tend to do. Eat healthy and make sure you’re mentally there with the basics of food and sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, don’t drug yourself to sleep. Use Calcium Magnesium gel caps (vitamin store) or a calcium magnesium powder that you can make a tea out of. It helps.
#4) ACTUAL WORK PREP:
RUN YOUR LINES!!!!!!!!!! You should take your sides in with you and never need to look at them because you have run them about 50 times or more and have them prepared. If you have to look at them, glance down, but never read the line from the paper. Get your line and then deliver the line not looking at the paper. You are performing to the casting director, not the paper.
I highly recommend running the lines WITH someone. After you have read them and drilled them solo, you should bounce them off of someone. If you are just starting, you may need to get a coach to help you prepare. This is the fun part, guys!!!! This is the creation of the character. Making choices, tweaking the way you deliver lines, working to make lines sound great, creating those lines so that they are delivered naturally or funny. There is a million different ways to deliver anything. Get those lines down and have fun creating the performance of it!!! And get to a point where you love it so much that when you walk in that room, you are looking forward to delivering it.
BUT KNOW THIS…. you need to be flexible as well. If the casting director says “ok.. now lets do that again but this time I want you to be more X Y or Z” THEN DO THAT!!! Don’t deliver the exact same way. Do what they asked to the best of your ability. That they are asking you to alter something does not mean they did not like what you did, but they want to see you change it up for a million other possible reasons. Even if it’s just to see if you can take direction well.
A NOTE ON CASTING DIRECTORS AND LEAVING IT BEHIND:
They are human. They are doing a job. Some are great with actors. Some are as interested in their job or the project as they are about doing dishes or their taxes. They have good days and bad days. SO NEVER TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY, EVER!!!! You can not do that to yourself. You prepare that role. You walked in knowing you are going to do your best. You performed it knowing you did what you set out to do. And from there you walk out. Do not worry if the casting director liked you. Do not hang by the phone biting your nails, wondering if you’re getting a call back. There is no lack of work out there. No role is the end-all-be-all of anyone’s career. So no judgement on casting directors. No analyzing every move they made and turning it into your own self doubts. And no obsessing over whether you got the part. Move your mind from it and start focusing on NEXT. The NEXT role to audition for the next project to work on. They pick who they pick. And you prepared and performed to the best of your abilities. You focus on that. The skills, the work, and leave the rest at the door.
NOW GO KICK SOME BUTT!!!!!