Posts filed under Audition

An Actor Repairs: Moving Forward After a Bad Audition

JakeG.jpg

Sometimes when you leave an audition, you practically float out the door knowing you’ve totally, unequivocally nailed it. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times. You blew it. Objectively, you know that bad auditions happen all the time to actors of all levels of talent and experience - heck, Peter Jackson even called Jake Gyllenhaal “the worst actor I have ever seen” after a brutally bad read for Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings. As universal as failure is, it’s still tough not to get bogged down when you swing and miss. Feeling like you should just throw in the towel and never show your face at a casting call again? Try these three things instead to get back on track.

Throw a Tiny Pity Party

First, you have permission to be gentle with yourself. It’s normal to be bummed out about a missed opportunity. If you need to take some time to nurse your wounds, there’s no shame in drawing a hot bath, slapping on a face mask, polishing off a carton of ice cream, Postmating a second carton of ice cream... well, you get the idea. Who are the people you can count on to love you unconditionally and let you vent for a minute? Call your mom, text your best friend, ask your partner for an extra-long hug. Sometimes a little attention and empathy are the best balms for the sting of rejection.

Growing Pains

You came, you saw, you didn’t conquer, you cried a little. Now’s your chance to take this tough experience and use it as fuel to grow as an actor. After you’ve had some time to decompress and the pang of disappointment isn’t quite as sharp anymore, you’ll have some more clarity and can take a thoughtful look back on what went wrong. Once you pinpoint where things went awry, you can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. Did you keep the auditors waiting because of car troubles? Download a ride app and grab a copy of the local bus schedule to keep on your person just in case! Stumbled over your script? Check out Google and YouTube for some cold read memorization tips. Keep catching yourself fidgeting? Record yourself on your phone while you prepare and watch over for nervous tics, then practice moving more comfortably and carefully. Think of every rough audition as a learning experience that gives you new tools to hone your craft and soon you’ll be on your way to your next great role!

Get Back on the Horse 

Not literally, obviously; it doesn’t have to be an audition for a Western (but if you hear the Coen brothers have anything new in the works, let me know). No, the final and most important step of recovering from a bad audition is putting yourself back out there. If Jake Gyllenhaal could do it, you can, too! You’ve given yourself some time to wallow, you’ve reviewed what went wrong, and you’ve made some concrete changes in your prep and planning. It’s time to let those newly-polished skills shine - you’ve totally got this.

10 Quick Insider Tips To Nail Your Audition

auditions.jpg

We recently did a marketing survey for our current students and parents of students here at Studio 27, and boy, were the results insightful! One of the main interests of our students’ and their families was that they would like more insider tips on how to book those gigs. The truth is, we can’t wave a magic wand over this blog post whereupon reading it, you’ll magically start booking out - BUT, as someone who has worked in film in nearly every capacity for almost 9 years and in theatre for almost 17 years, I can tell you what the other side of the table IS looking for!

Here are our quick-and-dirty insider audition tips to [hopefully] land you your next gig!:

  1. Dress to impress. In LA, actors wear audition outfits that reflect the character they’re reading for. You may have to read for multiple characters, but come dressed as the OG characters you’re reading for, and the auditors will be super impressed!

  2. Be polite. Respect your auditors time - they have hundreds if not thousands of other actors to review! And they’re in charge of whether or not you book, not you. Don’t act like you’re above the audition, even if it’s low-budget or not SAG. Thank the auditors when you’re finished.

  3. Be off-book. You can have your script for “safety,” but as off-book as you can be.

  4. Don’t shake hands. It’s cold and flu season - yuck! Don’t spread germs by shaking hands, unless the casting directors initiate a handshake.

  5. Be nice. You can chat with the other actors in the holding area. No need to be snobby - you never know who’s going to make it big!

  6. Be humble. Be direct about your experience, but no need to name-drop.

  7. Be prepared. Bring AT LEAST two copies of your headshot and resume - bring a commercial AND theatrical headshot, if it makes sense for the role. Make sure resumes are stapled to the back of your headshots.

  8. Turn your phone off. Seriously. No one is going to appreciated a ringtone or buzz during your audition.

  9. Listen (and take) direction! If you get direction after a read, it’s a good thing. Trust us.

  10. Do your research. Do your character work before you walk in. Come prepared with smart questions. Learn all you can about the auditors/casting directors and the production company.

BONUS tip: Relax. No one wants you to be nervous - you’re there to interview them for this job, too! And have a BLAST!

Posted on November 7, 2018 and filed under Audition.

How to Kill It at Your Next Audition

audition.jpg

You landed an audition - congrats! You have already won half the battle - trust me. This is coming from someone who has been on both sides of the casting table, and who has worked with many, many people in casting; if you get an audition, you've booked that audition against hundreds, if not thousands of people. 

But what are the next steps to actually booking the job? This is probably the #1 question on any actor's mind, no matter how long they have been in the industry - you could have started as a kid, and you would STILL wonder why some actors book, and others don't! The good news is, there are ways to kill an audition - in a good way! Meaning, you can walk out of the room or turn off the camera knowing that you did a great job, no matter what the casting director decides. Read on to discover our best tips and tricks for nailing that audition.

Make an Entrance

If you're auditioning for a theatrical show or film/TV production in-person, enter the room with a BANG! What that doesn't mean is slamming the door open and announcing yourself; no, we're talking about walking into the room in a semi-circle. It's much easier shown than stated, but try this at home: create your own marker on the floor, whether with painter's tape or an object. Enter the room, and make a C-shape curve with your walk over to your mark. In an actual audition room, the camera would be in front of you, usually with a table of people behind it - these are usually the casting directors, producers, and perhaps the writers or director themselves. Basically, you're drawing attention to yourself and making an entrance without being overly dramatic. Walking in this way creates an interesting eyeline for your CD's, and it may perk them up after a long day of auditioning hundreds of other folks who look just like you! Remember - keep it interesting, keep it fun!

If you're self-taping, making an entrance isn't really possible, since the first thing the CD's will see is you, on-camera. However, you can still "make an entrance" without actually entering! Whether your slate is at the beginning or the end, keep it positive and upbeat - remember, you're not only selling the character, but selling yourself. The auditors want to see that you are going to be a fun, cheerful person to be around on-set - they do not want to deal with a drama queen (or king). Also, start off your scene in an unexpected way - the point of you reading for this character is to put yourself into the character, not do what you think the CD's want to see or hear. Bring your own essence to the audition, and it's bound to be uniquely you - THAT'S what CD's always want to see.

No Touching

This generally goes without saying, but - no touching! Don't shake hands when you walk into the room, as it's viewed as an audition no-no. This is because we don't know where each other's hands have been, and hands are a germs festering ground. You may view it as polite, but 9 times out of 10, CD's will view it as an amateur error. So - no touching, unless the CD's reach out to shake your hand! In that case, shake away!

Remember, you can still be polite without touching anyone. Make your entrance, and be confident, polite, and calm. Greet the auditors, and act excited to be there - think of it as you're there to meet new friends who have your best interests at heart. After your audition, always make sure to thank your auditors - again, with the politeness! You can't go wrong.

An Actor Prepares

Even if it's not required, if you have the time, come in with your sides memorized (unless, of course, it's a cold read). BUT don't let the fact that you're off-book (or, fully memorized) take away from the fact that you are AWESOME at taking direction! And don't let it throw you if the auditor asks you to read in a different way, or asks you to improv. That's actually a good thing! It means that they think you're interesting, and want to see more.

Additionally, don't feel discouraged and walk away grumpily if they dismiss you after one read - remember, take everything that happens during an audition with a grain of salt. This is a job interview - there is no risk involved. It's only practice. And no one wants to see you walk away defeated! While this could be your next big gig, neediness or desperation is not attractive on anyone. Again, be confident - if this one doesn't work out, it's just onto the next one! Plus, sometimes one read is all the auditors need to see to know that they want you - it's rare, but it's happened to me, i.e., I've gotten cast after one reading. Take heart, and keep going!

 

Tell us in the comments some of your best (and worst) audition tales!