Friday, June 19, 2009

Confessions from the Audition Room

I'm here at the audition table with two producers, casting assistant and the reader. If you're wondering what's going on in the minds of those intimidating faces, waiting for you to leave it all out there in a cold room, well here it is.

We're not without heart. Actors come in and many leave everything out there. I recognize they have to become incredibly vulnerable and I'm sensitive to that.

Part of me wants to set you at ease when you walk in, and I might even joke a bit. But probably not, unless it's after lunch and we've gotten a bit goofy. But since this is an audition, I want to see how you might react to awkwardness-- to the pressure of the set. So setting you at ease might not reveal how you'll handle that. So I might not say anything and not even smile. Later, on the set, I'll do everything I can to set you at ease.

One thing we do is to ask you if you have any questions about the character or the sides you're about to read. Most don't. But the actors who do come in with a good question, give a strong impression-- they're interested in the part... they've taken some ownership to find out more. I like that.

Here's my biggest note to all actors in auditions: Calm down. Since we decide on just a few lines, you want to pour in to it all the emotion you want us to know you have. What results is a way-over-the-top reading. Today, we read 40 people. I'd say 30 of them were way too big. My most common direction during the audition is to ask them to read faster, flatter, simply to try and bring it down.

BTW, what I like to do is test your acting abilities, by giving you a totally different emotion to play the scene you just read. instead of anger, which may be the way it was written, do it this time playing pain.

Nervous? Well that's okay. Out of the 40 people, there was ONE who KNOCKED OUR SOCKS OFF. And her hands were shaking. That's okay. Just don't draw any attention to it.

Some no-no's. Don't be late. Don't complain if you had to wait. (No one waited more than a few minutes today because we were ahead, although I'm writing this while we wait for the last person of the day who is late).

Just remember, you could be the best actor of the day and just not have the right look. And there's sometimes when someone with a different look actually makes me rethink the role. You never know.

Sometimes, an actor's audition will be short because they nailed it and I have nothing left to see from them. Other times, they're a strong possibility and I work them over and over to see if they can make it.

There have been times that someone was not the right look in the audition, but because they so impressed me, I cast them in a future project or in a different role. Actually, this has happened a lot. So remember, the role your auditioning is misleading-- you're also auditioning for the director for all future stuff as well.

Another long day in the audition room in NYC.

No comments:

Post a Comment