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Top 10 Things You Must Do To Pass An Acting Audition Or Casting

Saturday, 19 August 2006

You have made it into the acting audition, congratulations, this is your first successful step towards landing an acting job. Next you have to impress the casting director (and any others present) enough to get the part, how do you do it?

This is how I do it...

.... give him lots of money.

This would work except directors have a ton more money than I do, so I have to resort to plan B - talent, skill and a few tricks I have picked up along the way, let me tell you about them.

Here is a quick list of things you MUST do to pass an acting audition or casting;

  1. LINES - learn them, for goodness sake, nothing says unprofessional time waster than not knowing your lines. It is only a casting there will only be a few lines. I read my lines at least 100 times the night before and 100 times that morning. I am sick of the lines - but I know them and the other guys lines too, that impresses a lot if you can help the stumbling junior artist playing opposite with his lines. Look like an pro actor and know your lines
  2. DRESS IN CHARACTER - I never do this, some people claim it helps. I just make sure I do not dress against character type, ie do not turn up to a thug role in a three piece tailored suit (unless it is a mafia thug).
  3. BE EARLY - I don't care if traffic was heavy and neither does casting, if you are late to a movie set you can cost Production thousands, or tens of thousands as everyone sits about doing nothing while you take everyone's time, organise yourself the night before with a bag with any props, your script and clothes to wear. There are no excuses for being late.
  4. NEVER APOLOGISE OR SAY YOU MESSED THAT ONE UP - professional actors don't do it so don't you do it, if you feel uncomfortable about a take they will often give you another chance, if not you can ask if you can do one more, but never more than one more. A casting is short and easy, you have had time to practise, you should get it right first time
  5. PRACTISE THE NIGHT BEFORE - practise, practise, practise. Get in front of a mirror and watch your own performance. Film it on your cell phone, watch it, change it, play with it. Do not stop acting until you get it 100% right then do it different...
  6. ACT 3 DIFFERENT CHARACTERS FOR THE SCENE - read the scene and make up 3 different characters to act out the scene. For example, you are to act as a killer, you could practise a Vietnam Vet who took one to many acid trips and does not realise what he is doing, you could act out a guy who has bad problems with an abusive mother to the point he hates and wants to kill all women, or you could play the very pleasant yet deranged serial killer who has voices that tell him to do it. You do not need to tell the Director what you are doing, as an actor you let them see and feel that character and you use different expressions and actions that convey the different characters. On each take you play a different character. This has two benefits, it allows them to see you are talented and can play a range of role and it allows you 3 chances to look like a character they want and get the job rather than the others who play the same character, or yourself, 3 times. Triple your chances - I think this one is one of the best methods to get jobs.  It helps when the Casting Director says "Great, now can you do it different?" as this is nothing more than a test.
    6A - LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN to the Casting Director, if she asks you to play it again but differently do exactly what she asks you to do, I often get "Can you do it again but more menacing, without going over the top." Tis again is a test to see if you can follow direction, follow the direction regardless of how you think the character should be played.You get to play the character how you envision when you produce the movie, not before.
  7. ACT LIKE YOU ARE IN AN APPROPRIATE SETTING - how many times I have seen people stand there, arms by their sides and deliver perfect lines with little expression and no movement. For example the acting audition has you talking to someone in a bar you could deliver a few lines, pause, pretend to take a sip of your drink, let your gaze follow the woman walking past, then finish your lines, sip your drink again and wipe the back of your hand across your mouth and call for another round
  8. BE CONFIDENT - if you practise till you know it back to front and are dressed at a similar level to the character you will look more like a professional actor and with your triple chance play, you have a much better odds than the others, go in there like this is your role, you have it, you are now just there to show them how you do it properly, and then adjust to anything they ask.
  9. GO TO EVERY ACTING AUDITION YOU CAN - you will probably muck up the first few, don't worry I did too, so does everyone, just keep going and you will come to understand what they want and how it works after a few. The more practise at auditioning you get the better you get, the better you get the more jobs you get, etc. Nervousness is normal the first few times, that's ok, but try to take a grip of it otherwise it will ruin your chances. You'll never get a job when you are nervous - unless the character is a nervous type that is.
    ALTERNATIVELY - go to only the roles you are suited for. This is what I did. I only went for security guard, bouncers, and doormen roels to start with so I wasn't even acting just doing my regular job. My first film role was a TV commercial wherein I played aprofessional wrestler - I was just doing my regular job, it makes it very easy to 'act' when you do this and there are no nervous jitters. 
  10. TALK TO THE STAFF AT THE AGENCY - get to know them, let them get to know you. If they remember you then they can call you if an appropriate part comes up. If you are equal choice in skill for a part and they know and like you vs someone they do not know then you will get the part. Make friends in the industry. Be helpful to the others at the acting casting too, they may be your competition today but next week you could be working with them. Be nice to people in general.

If you follow these simple guide lines then even if you do not get this acting audition (casting) the casting director will remember you in a good light for future acting auditions (castings) - after a few times they will get to know you and you will get calls direct asking for you personally.

At this point you will be able to skip the actor audition (and the competition) and get acting job offers direct, sometimes it is because they want you, sometimes it is because they need a replacement right now or they'll get behind schedule. Either way you get a job, just make sure you're not the one being sent home and replaced on that first day of filming.

Good luck and let me know if these tips work for you. 


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