Casting Advice

Your Greatest Tool … Preparation

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

I’ve spent the last couple weeks immersed in regional theatre auditions which are usually really wonderful. I don’t know why it seems that the more time we give our lovely actors, the less prepared they are, but it’s a mystery. A mystery I’d really rather not be part of I’m thinking. Keep in mind, that for one day of auditions, we usually spend 3 weeks to a month getting ready ourselves. We read the script, get breakdowns out and pre read anyone that may be right, but we don’t know well enough, and putting together schedules. Typically we bring in only 10 actors per role. 10 actors that we are hoping are the most perfect actors on the planet for the role, the actors that are going to come in to the room and wow the director and artistic director. The actors, that (bottom line most important) will make us look like rock stars.

I can’t even tell you how many times that just the fact that someone came in so prepared and “together”, got them ten more auditions at our office because I was so impressed with them as professionals.

Okay, now for the reality check…..Two of the ten come in wearing shorts for a character who is a buttoned up lawyer, three come in without a bit of makeup on for a role that is supposed to be glamorous, three or four clearly have not read the script and proceed to ask the director what the story is about, and one so obviously just read the sides on the bus ride over I am thinking during her audition that I very well might stick a bic pen in my eye. Then there is that one person, who comes in the room, having read the script, memorized the sides, dressed in a way that informs the character, and makes a big choice. Ahhh, the nirvana moment for a casting director.

You Need To Be Prepared

It seems silly to have to even mention it, but you need to walk in the room prepared and with the midset “as if” you were really going to get this job.

Our Expectations

  • You’ve read the script
  • Your Lines are nearly memorized
  • Dress appropriate for the part
  • Positive Mindset

The script needs to be fully read, the sides should be close to memorized, and while nobody expects you to come in a costume, you should dress with your character in mind. For instance if he is a professional type, a suit is appropriate, if your character is a lower class female in the 50s, a very casual dress. What you wear will inform your physical movements and your acting choices. Reading the script and memorizing sides will give you the information and the freedom to make choices for your character. Even if you come in the room, and have misinterpreted, and make choices that ultimately the director wouldn’t have chosen, I guarantee that those watching will be impressed, and that alone will earn you 10 actor points right there. You have to keep in mind that during an audition, not only are we looking at your audition piece, but looking at your professionalism, preparation, and getting a feel for your energy as a person. The whole package deal so to speak. Actually, I can’t even tell you how many times that just the fact that someone came in so prepared and “together”, got them ten more auditions at our office because I was so impressed with them as professionals. I have a real respect for those who respect themselves and take what they are doing seriously. I am always willing to give them another chance. People like to work with people who work hard. And trust me, directors remember when you come in and seemingly haven’t put any time into an audition. It actually can feel a bit insulting to them.

So, oh lovely, actors in cyberspace, take a tip from me. Read your script, memorize your sides, make a strong choice and go wow them!

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