When I was living in Los Angeles as an aspiring actor/writer/producer, I had the opportunity to sit behind the casting desk on a film I was co-producing. It was my first time producing, and I was thrilled - I was three months pregnant and wasn't really getting "Cute Pregnant Lady" roles (even though I definitely went out for them!). I never thought being on the other side of the camera was something I would want to do, let alone excel at, but here I was: pregnant, with a broken foot (oh, did I mention that I broke my foot while pregnant? Yeah - that happened), loving being on the casting and production side of film.
While I was casting this little microbudget independent horror film that I had the pleasure of producing, I noticed a few things; namely, that many actors did not understand how to conduct themselves in the audition room. At this point, I had been auditioning for 12 years and worked specifically in film for five years. I had walked into rooms with 20 other girls who looked just like me. I have done one thing in an audition and signed a contract for a film, only to have what was required of me completely change when I got to set. I once had a CD (Casting Director) yell at me for leaving my nose piercing in, because the callback I got was for a real estate agent and according to him, "real estate agents don't have nose rings" (I didn't get the part - go figure). So, in my years of working within this industry, I have experienced a lot of different hiccups and joys during auditions - so today, I'm passing that "wisdom" along to you! Read on to discover my list of folks who I will never cast in a film - and remember not to be one of them!
The One Who Talks Too Much
I like to talk a lot. But just because I (or your CD) likes to talk, doesn't mean you should match their pace. The key to nailing the audition is to treat it like an interview. Listen, ask questions, and make confident choices.
One of the actors I brought in for an audition for the microbudget indie horror was, at first, seemingly charming; but then, she kept talking. And talking. And talking. Until finally, I had to cut the audition short, because I had five other people waiting, and her nonsensical rambling was taking up all of my time! She didn't get cast.
The One With the Attitude
During one casting, I thought I was making friendly conversation with a girl who looked perfect for the role I was looking to fill. She even came in costume. After about thirty seconds into me asking about her background, she interrupted and said, "Can we just get started?"
I was floored. I don't think she was SAG - probably not even SAG-E, as this was a microbudget film - and she was treating me like I was wasting her time! That is not how this industry works, ladies and gentlemen. Be polite, listen, and come in with an attitude of gratitude. That doesn't mean you have to kiss up - just be friendly! Being a pleasant person goes a long way in this industry. People hire folks that they think will be great to work with during long, on-set hours. Leave the attitudes at the door.
The Chronically Late One
Listen, I'm not talking about just being late to the audition; traffic happens, especially in spots like Atlanta and Los Angeles! But if you're late to the audition and the callback? We have a problem. That kind of behavior is going to make me think that you're chronically late, i.e., you're going to be late to my set. We all know that the film industry very much ascribes to "hurry up and wait" - it's the long-running joke of every film set, big and small - however, that doesn't mean that talent gets to make everyone else do the waiting. Many folks get paid by the hour on a film set, so not only are your fellow actors and crew members going to be annoyed, but so are the money people. Don't be this person.
Not being late also means: don't make excuses, and always, always call if something happens that's out of your control! Keeping people waiting on you is beyond rude - it's unprofessional. People in this industry have the memory of elephants, and time is money - they will not forget if you waste either their time or money. And when I say, "people in the industry," I even mean your acting coaches! They have likely worked within film for quite a while and have connections. If you disrespect their time, they're going to talk.
How do you nail your audition? Do you have amazing audition etiquette? Let us know your audition tips and tricks in the comments!