Monday, June 22, 2009

Confessions from the Audition Room, Pt 2

Dear Actor,
We saw another 30 or 40 people today for about 6 or 7 roles we're considering. I'm writing this second confession in hopes that you can gleam any info from it that might help you-- so you can see through the eyes of the stares on the other side of the table.

Today, twice, I had an actor apologize for something they confessed they weren't good at. For instance, the role might require that the character "rap." The audition called for some rap (in addition to the read). This actor let us know that she wasn't good at rapping. Why are you here then?

The second case was more egregious and speaks right back to the heart of the Insecurity post yesterday. This character needs to be able to play guitar. So the actor apologized right when he pulled it out that he's not very good at guitar and then played and sang a song. If he hadn't "apologized" for his inability, I would have NEVER KNOWN that he doesn't play guitar.

One of the Hollywood actors that I've worked a lot with tells a great audition story. He was sitting outside the room waiting to go in. The part was for a Jamaican. The previous actor steps gloomily out, mentioning they were looking for a real Jamaican-- not just someone doing an accent. So my actor friend went in there speaking like he was from Kingston. I don't advocate lying. He did get the part. For the whole shoot, they all thought he was from Jamaica. At wrap, he walked by the Director and said, "hey man, thanks, I'm from Jersey." And he walked off. I don't think the Director was happy being tricked. But it's an interesting story.

Anyway, I feel for the Monday morning auditioner. That can't be easy. About four or five people in though, one guy came in and like the girl on Friday, just knocked our socks off.

So how do you knock the director's socks off? Some of it is out of your control. For instance, you need to have the look the director is searching for. Then, you confidently attack the role and the audition. A lot is nailing the read like the Director is looking for. While hard to know, you can research him and the project and try to get a sense of what he wants. You could ask him too when in the room.

Finally, I have not read any books on how to audition. I haven't attended any workshops or seminars on the audition process. What I want to impart is just one Director's perspective. Hope it helps.

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