It’s hard enough getting into the audition room, so when an actor does land a casting of course they want to know how to impress casting directors. Many actors go about this the wrong way and whilst they definitely leave an impression, it’s not necessarily the right one.
There are many ways you can impress casting directors, but let’s take a look at 6 important steps that will help you leave your mark and the casting director happy.
HOW TO IMPRESS CASTING DIRECTORS
- KNOW THEIR WORK – It’s obvious but so important. An audition is a job interview, so doing your research before hand shows that you are interested and engaged with the work of the casting director. Find out the last 5 (or more) projects they have cast, the actors they have been casting and which directors/production companies/writers they work with. It is especially important to know the the production company, writer, director and any actors already on board for the project you are auditioning for. You may not need to blast this info at them, but if asked, you’re not tripped up.
- PREPARE LIKE THE ROLE IS YOURS – I’ve spoke about this in previous blogs, but it’s simply not enough to turn up to the audition knowing your lines (or a only portion of them in some actors’ case). Where a script has been emailed in advance you MUST be off book, which means your lines are learnt, you must have read the FULL script, not just your scene and prepared the character like you would if you’d been given the job. Why so much work? It shows you are a professional artist, responsible, trustworthy and reliable. Those actors who come in to the audition room making excuses as to why they haven’t read the script, learnt the lines, or “didn’t realise” the script had been emailed are showing exactly what they will be like to work with – a nightmare. Excuses in the audition = excuses on the project. Remember the casting director also has a reputation to uphold.
- MAKE CLEAR CHOICES – This is a continuation of step 2. When you make clear choices about the scene & the character, you are showing the casting director that you are serious about your work; that you’ve used your imagination & have thoroughly read the script and have a professional work ethic. This makes the casting directors job much easier because if they like you, it’s easier to sell you to the director. If they really like you they can also give you a helping hand and re-direct the scene to how they feel the director wants it. Remember it is the director or client that has the final say not the casting director. They are on your side if you do the work.
- SELL YOURSELF – To sell yourself, you must be yourself and believe in yourself. My biggest piece of advise is to let your talent to the talking. Shake hands at the end if you feel it is appropriate, (but remember a handshake will NEVER determine whether you get the job so it’s not worth fretting about), thank them and leave. Far too many actors talk themselves out of a job or leave a weird atmosphere in the room by hanging around too long or acting desperate. Don’t be desperate, just be yourself and be real. If you follow step 2 & 3 there’s no reason why you won’t make a lasting impression.
- ARRIVE EARLY – It doesn’t matter whether you got caught in traffic, the train was delayed, the bus didn’t show up, you were let out of work late (or any other excuse), how you present yourself is the only impression the casting director has of you. This is especially true when an actor hasn’t yet built a big enough profile for the casting director to be able to ask someone they know who’s worked with you, for an opinion on you. When you are late it puts everything behind, which costs money – the CD and his/her assistants have to be paid, the room has to be hired etc. The last thing a casting director wants is to incur extra (unnecessary) expenses because an actor was disorganised and late. Be extra organised and get the earliest train, plane, bus, taxi, tube you can. If you’re driving to an audition, factor in potential accidents, busy periods on the road, bad traffic, finding parking etc. Arrive early for your own sake so you can relax and focus. Being late causes lots of actors to become flustered, which is then brought into the audition room.
- BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING – Just because you have been sent a script doesn’t mean the casting director will only want to see that, they may want to see you improv, they may ask you to do something which seems completely unrelated to the story. Acting is about using your imagination and speaking the truth, so they may want to test that. Remember the casting director will have seen many actors before you and will see many after you; there are lots of actors who play it safe and do the same as the other 99% of actors who have auditioned. The casting director will be looking for that extra spark. Don’t read too much into it if they mix it up, but don’t be caught off guard.
Some of these steps just take a little common sense, but whether you knew this information beforehand or not, it’s always good to refresh yourself and avoid complacency. Remember, casting directors have the pick of a very large crop, it’s easy for them to say no to actors who don’t bring their A game.
Has this been useful?
Let me know in the comments box below, or share with an actor friend who could use some help with their auditions.
Here’s to your success!
Don’t give up, just keep learning.
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Louise O’Leary is a professional actress, method acting coach and Artistic Director of StandBy Method Acting Studio. Her mission is to help as many actors as she can launch their careers and become the best actor they can be.
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