When you are an aspiring actor or actress, the first thing you must do to launch your career is attend as many auditions and casting calls as possible. Auditions or casting calls, are the initial interview between you and the producers of a production in order to try out for the roles that need to be filled. It’s here that you will be able to showcase your talent, whatever it may be, and get a feel for performing in front of professionals. As with anything in the entertainment business there are some rules of etiquette to follow when it comes to auditions and casting calls. If you follow all of them you will have a better chance at impressing the panel and landing your first of many acting gigs.
The first thing you need to do is getting invited on an audition. So, how do you do that? There are plenty of ways! One way is getting signed to an acting agency and being represented by a manager. This is not the easiest way but it is the most effective. When you are repped by an agency and a credible manager, you have a leg up on your competition. This shows the panel of producers and casting agents that you already have people backing up your career. In other words; it proves you’re a good enough actor to get an agent. This agent is now in charge of getting you on as many auditions as possible. Anytime a production is looking for an actor or actress that fits your criteria (height, weight, build etc) they will send in your resume and in turn recieive a copy of the script for you to practice for your audition. Now, not everyone will be represented by an agency. If you want to take the alternate route and represent yourself you can stick with attending open casting calls. Open casting calls are for everybody and anybody who wants to audition for a role. Majority of the time these casting calls are promoted via social networks and on the radio. The casting agents main goal with open casting calls is to meet talented people who are yet to be discovered and turning them into superstars! Big name talent shows like “American Idol” and “Americas Got Talent” use open casting calls to draw people in in large numbers to find the best person for the final cut. The downside to attending open casting calls is that you won’t be one of a few people trying out like you would at an audition. You will be one of thousands! There will be long lines and long waits but eventually, when its your turn to perform, it will be worth it.
So, now you’re at your casting call or audition, what’s next? It’s inside these places where your audition etiquette needs to come into play. You will be surrounded by a bunch of other talented people fighting for your spot so you need to stick out in more ways than one. When attending a casting call always make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes early. If you are early you will have time to scope out the place, practice, sign in, relax and warm up. If you arrive precisely on time or even late, you could miss an announcement or be asked to leave. This also shows the assistant that you aren’t serious about the audition and if hired, could be late to the gig. This could turn the casting agents off completely and you might not even be asked to read. Once you’ve arrived 15 minutes early, always make sure to locate the casting assistant. It’s usually someone sitting at a table or a desk in the front of the room. This person will give you all the information and materials needed for your audition. If you were asked to bring your own material make sure you are prepared. Hand the casting assistant your resume and headshot (never leave home without them!) sign in and quietly find a place to rehearse. You must always remain calm, courteous and friendly at these auditions! Any sort of disrespect or rudeness will be reported back to the casting agent and could really damage your reputation as an aspiring actor. When you are waiting to be called into the audition room, try and stay as calm as possible. Don’t pay attention to what other people are doing around you, just focus on yourself. Quietly read your lines to yourself and make sure you have them memorized. Practice your diction and pronunciation, along with hand gestures and facial movements. If you believe you are fully prepared for your audition and don’t need to practice, do some breathing exercises to calm you down. It doesn’t seem like much but it will help a great deal!
Once they call your name, make your way quickly into the audition room. Make sure you are not in the restroom or on the phone when they call your name. That looks unprofessional. When you walk in, say hi to the casting panel. Don’t reach for a handshake or a high five or anything like that unless they do first. Most of the time, these casting calls are an all day process and the producers/casting agents are tired and irritable and just want to keep it moving so don’t hold it up. Introduce yourself, introduce the name of your monologue and begin your lines slowly and clearly. Make sure you stay focused and don’t let anything cloud your thinking process. However, if you do flub a line or mess up a tiny bit don’t let it discourage you. Laugh it off quickly and just keep going. This will show the casting agents that you are able to bounce back quickly from a mistake and keep the show moving along. These might be your future bosses; so just show them you are fun, energetic, professional and serious about landing this role! Once you are finished with the monologue, thank them for their time and make a quick exit. Don’t hang around and ask questions, this could be your downfall and could ruin a perfectly good audition!
When you leave the audition room, don’t make a B-line for your car just yet. Hang out in the lobby or waiting room for a few minutes to see if the casting agents want to call you back in to read again or read something else. They tend to do this when they like a talent. If they don’t call you back in, sign out at the casting assistants table and leave the audition with your head held high! A lot of the times they aren’t going to call you back in for a second reading and that’s okay. Tons of A-List celebrities attended hundreds of auditions before their big break and the same is going to happen for you. You just need to remember that you did your best and every audition is a learning experience. If they DO call you a few days later and invite you back for a second reading, you’re one step closer to the prize. However, this doesn’t guarantee you a spot on the show or in the movie. This just means that the producers or casting agents saw something in you that they could possibly use for their production. Remain humble! When you go back for your second audition, always wear the same thing you wore to the first one. It worked the first time so you want to remind the casting agents why they invited you back. Continue to be kind, friendly and energetic and prove to the producers that you deserve that role!
As an aspiring actor or actress you will hear a lot of NO’s before you hear the big YES! You will attend countless auditions, wait in line at many casting calls and meet tons of casting directors. Sometimes something will come out of them and sometimes something wont. Your mission as an actor is to make the best out of every single audition you go to. Each one is a learning experience and a place for you to perfect your talent and practice performing in front of industry professionals. The more auditions you attend, the more comfortable you will get and the easier they will become. By your 10th audition, you will be a professional. Since Hollywood is such a small and close-knit community, you will run into the same casting directors and even the same aspiring actors at many of these auditions. If the casting directors see you at ever casting call and audition working hard towards your dream, you have a better chance at being discovered! Getting your face and name out there goes a long way in the entertainment business. You know what they say; “It’s all about who you know!” And if you get to know the casting directors, you’ll be one step closer to landing the role of a lifetime! Good luck and we will see you in Hollywood.Image courtesy of Bruce Simmons