Casting Advice

Four Words That Will Change Your Audition

Written By Claire Simon published in acting tips, audition tips, etiquette, general, simonlive, simonsays, the business of acting

When I was fresh out of college and swimming in the audition world without a paddle, I’d made an audition appointment at a large theatre and was required to bring a classical piece. The college I’d just graduated from was a liberal arts college which translated for me was “we will teach you a little about a lot of things and will prepare you for nothing ..”. Thus I left college with a whole lot of confidence and no clue how to navigate the professional world. So, as you might expect, I was totally unprepared with any kind of monologue, much less a classical piece. I randomly searched my Shakespeare plays and looked for a monologue for a woman and proceeded to memorize it. Not reading the play itself, or understanding what the heck I was saying. As you can imagine my audition was a train wreck. (I still have not gotten over it and it’s been one hundred and thirty two years since that fateful day). In industry terms, we would call this an “off day” (to put it mildly).

We All Have Off Days

Now, I am sure that you all believe that all the fabulous, established, talented actors that you so admire are beyond “off days”, but I am here to tell you, we all have them. Even the best and the brightest. People come in to audition for me everyday and there are simply days when someone is tired, distracted, not connected with the material and a myriad of other human reasons why someone might not be at their best. For newbies, it’s usually nerves. I think simply knowing that everyone might have a day every now and then that they are off, may put the audition process in a little perspective and may prevent you from beating yourself up too badly next time it happens. But most importantly, I have four words that may change your audition life forever. We’re – on – your – side.

We’re – on – your – side

It is so easy when you walk in to the audition process with four people sitting on a couch all staring blankly at you to feel it’s “you against them”. That they are waiting for you to mess up or to prove something. But I am here to tell you, no, promise you, that everyone in that room is not only rooting for you, but hoping you are amazing. They are praying that the next actor in the room solves their casting program. They are hoping you are “it”.

If you happen to be having an off day, your car just got towed, you just broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, gained 3 pounds or what ever sets you off kilter, when you get to the audition take the time you need to collect yourself, breathe, focus on the material and then remind yourself that everyone in that room you are about to blow through is on your side. Knowing those four words should empower you to go in and do your best, and if for some reason your reading is off the first time, just politely ask to do it again.

But I am here to tell you, no, promise you, that everyone in that room is not only rooting for you, but hoping you are amazing. They are praying that the next actor in the room solves their casting program. They are hoping you are “it”.

Just last week we had auditions for a television series that we are working on. We had an established actor (very established) come in and his reading was really off. Now it’s just those circumstances that a casting director has your back and will ask you to do it again, or help in any way we can, if we know what you are capable of. In this case, every time he had a go at it, he got more and more frustrated until he stopped and said, “I’m leaving, you don’t want me.” And with that, he left the room. The producer and director were speechless to put it mildly. I told them he was usually wonderful, and they said they loved his face and the sound of his voice and would have given him all the time he needed. Hard to land the job though if you’ve left the room. Everyone in the room was on his side and would have waited for him to collect himself and do the reading I knew that he was capable of.

So, next audition my advice is prepare, and come in positive knowing that everyone you are about to meet is on your side. They are hoping you are brilliant. They want you to win the role. And with all that positive energy focused your way how could you do anything but be wonderful!

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