We have just finished casting “Daisy“. Took a couple of weeks however I’m over the moon with the outcome. To be honest it took a while because there were just so many great auditions and I wanted to work with practically everyone who auditioned however that’s just not possible on this project, therefore I finally had to make the executive decision and has to go with my instinct. We’ve picked all the actors apart for the lead. I have narrowed the lead role down to two actors however the reason why I have not cast the lead is because, as he carries the film and is practically in every shot, I have decided that I really needed to meet the actor in person to see how well we will get along. It’s a 12 day shoot therefore I need to know that we work in a similar manner and style. We will be announcing the lead at the beginning of February.
In light of all the auditions that I watched, I thought I would write a few does and don’t when auditioning. It’s amazing to see how many actors still don’t get it. Why are you waisting our time but also your time if you don’t want the part. Why apply? If you do want the part, then do make a bit more effort then just showing up. Here are the top 9 things that I feel are vital to stand out:
- Be Confident. If you have been called in for a casting, the producer/ director/ casting agent already like you. They have seen your cv, showreel and photos and they like you. Now they want to meet you therefore you have to be confident. Remember they want to see you. They want to cast you. You fit the bill. It’s now only between a couple of handful of actors. So be confident and a few of the things mentioned below and you will blow them away.
- Be Charismatic. Yes the reason why one actors gets the part and why the other doesn’t, might be as simple as that actor looks older then the other, however that doesn’t mean you don’t try persuading casting team that you being younger also works, so much so that, what you bring to the table is much more important then the age of the character. Yes, most of the time it has nothing to do with the acting. If you have gone to drama school or been acting for sometime, have an agent, a showreel and have been called in, it is quite clear that you can act. Most of the time actors get slides the day of the audition, so at the audition they’re only reading lines. Not really acting. Therefore the audition is not about the acting. We know you can act. It’s about getting to know you. Getting to see if you are compatible with the director and the rest of the cast and crew. To be honest most of the time the director or producer already have a good idea of what kind of actor they are looking for, for each specific role therefore you have been called in because you are it now all that’s missing is knowing what kind of person you are. Do you get to the audition early or late? Are you prepared or not? Basically answering, will you get to work early or late? Will you be prepared on the day of the shoot or not? Are you easy to get along with or is your ego so big that no one will stand being around you.
- Be prepared. If you can get the full screenplay and or sides, read through them without taking a break. Really do as much research as you can on what you have been given. It’s simple, the director/ producer/ casting agent have given you as much information as they want you to work with for a reason. One guy hadn’t read anything that was given to him, guess how long I watched his 15 minute tape. 2 minute. At 2 min it was clear that he hadn’t prepared. At 2 minutes I stopped watching. Why show up at an audition if you aren’t going to show up prepared. No director or producer wants to work with someone like this. Reading is also not enough. Research the topics that are in your screenplay, have some personal stories on these topics ready to talk about with the casting agent. Daisy is about an Iraq war veteran drug addict who meets a girl dyeing from RDEB. Things to research and have a few personal stories about would be; army, war veteran drug addicts, children, hospitals, RDEB. Have some options and or suggestions ready about the screenplay and the topics that it addresses. Discuss points in the screenplay/ slides that you enjoyed, talk about things that you didn’t understand. Remember the casting is also for the director to see what points she might not have thought about. She is looking for ideas from the actors. There were a couple great points made by a few actors at the audition that I have now incorporated them into the story. So don’t be afraid to talk openly and passionately about what you have been given to work with. It has been given to you for a reason.
- Be enthusiastic. Walking into the audition with enthusiasm and energy is a must. Don’t bring in any drama stories about the traffic or why you are late. Don’t make excuses. I don’t want to hear that you have a cold, or that your printer broke. Do your best. Show the casting people and the director that you are a team player. Remember people want to work with fun people on a set. No one wants to work with negative drama queens. It’s all about positive energy, as soon as I heard negativity I stopped watching the tape. I have so many tapes to go through, why waist my time on negativity. I can work with positive people but with negative people theirs just no hope.
- Be polite. Be polite to everyone that you come face to face with, in regards to the casting. Everyone in that room gave me their options about who they liked, didn’t like and why. They have been hired because the director or the producer trusts their judgement, therefore you see, if they don’t like you, I don’t like you. Be nice, it pays off.
- Dress appropriately. Without overdoing it of course. Hinting at the wardrobe is more then enough. I was casting for janitors. I already knew what age group and the type of actor I was looking for, however it was amazing how the actor I went with in the end also wore attire in the style and colour of a hospital janitor. When watching the audition tape it made it more real and believable, so when having to make the final decision between actors I went with him in the end as the audition was the most honest, and his attire helped with that.
- Be real. If the casting director asks you about “what have you been doing?” Don’t give them a blow by blow of your acting resume, just talk about yourself and the real things in your life that have recently been happening.
- Be relaxed. If the casting director re-directs you, then feel great! It’s a good sign. Usually means they are interested in you but want to see if you can take direction. Take a breath, be calm and listen to them. Take their direction and do it over again. Ask questions if you have them but do not ask questions just to get the group to talk with you. Don’t waste their time. If you make a mistake, don’t start over. Fight through it. And it probably wasn’t as bad as you thought. As I said earlier its not about the acting as much as meeting you, seeing what you sound like when saying the lines and if you take direction. Don’t stress if you screw up just keep going that is the kind of actor we want to work with someone who can put himself together and get the job done.
- Be first. Don’t take the last audition times of the day. Casting is not an easy process, and at the end of the day, a creative team is grumpy, tired and wants to go home. The early actors gets the part. Yes I wasn’t at the auditions so this shouldn’t matter so much however the team that was their did seem to have more positive feedback on the earlier actors they saw then on the actors they saw at the end therefore when I was looking at the tapes, what they had told me also played a part in who I picked.
Hope this helps you at your next casting! Break a leg : ))))