HACK YOUR NEXT AUDITION
Hey pumpkins!! It's time to HACK your next audition!
Today, we are offering you guys 9 tips on acing your next big audition. Are you tired of going on audition after audition and seeing zero results?
We feel you. Auditioning SUCKS. It sucks for you guys and it sucks for us. Nothing is worse than spending eight hours in a tiny room, watching poor souls fidget and trip over their words. Nervous energy is contagious and we can feel your fear.
The first thing I want to tell you guys is that we all desperately want you to succeed. The faster we find our actors, the faster we can go home and eat a ton of nachos.
If you've been called in, we already like your look and your reel* has demonstrated that you can act.
We cast about 50% of the projects that come across the FCF desk. Some of them come fully cast, for some we know immediately who would be great in each role, and some need casting sessions. A LOT of casting sessions.
So, what gets you cast in NYC?
1. DON'T shake our hands.
Right off the bat, this is a thing. Do you remember that dude on the subway that definitely LIVED on the subway? Remember that smell? Yeah, it's not great. And it's all over everything you touched. When you come in to a casting session, do NOT shake the casting director's hand unless they reach for your hand first. Hands are like privates; they should only touch when it's consensual.
2. DO enter politely.
Say hello! We're all humans here, right? You can say hi before you state your name and launch into a monologue about your cheating husband and your best friend Flora. (Sounds complicated, btw.) Just come in when your name is called and say hi. Then, you can hand over your headshot/resume and be a star, but...
3. DON'T launch into anything right away.
Have a little conversation with us if it's warranted. Ask appropriate questions if you've been given sides like, "Is my character trying to persuade Flora to cheat with her best friend's husband, Dan? Is the cat a figment of Darius' imagination? Can I eat cheese in here?" The answer to that last one is always no (but we wish it was yes). We like to see a little sliver of your personality and if it will work with other team members. So, be a very well-behaved version of you and you'll do great!
4. DO ask about the chair.
You come into my house and start moving the furniture. You don't even buy me dinner and now my chair's been overturned. Animals! All of you! But really. If there's a chair in the room and you think it will REALLY serve your monologue (don't be indulgent about the chair, guys), then ask to use it. The CD might still say no. It might mess up your audition if it's being taped, or maybe the chair is actually Flora. You never know with her; she's a sneaky devil. And if you DO use the chair, be careful that your energy doesn't drop when you sit.
5. DON'T slate unless there is a camera.
I saw this once. It was... awkward. We can't memorize your face. That's what the headshot is for. And you don't want to be memorable for the wrong reasons, so just use your judgement. If there is a camera, we'll likely ask you to slate and then you - you guessed it - slate. State your name for the camera. If they ask for profile, go ahead and give 'em the best side action ever. Otherwise, chill. You can introduce yourself like a regular ol' person.
6. DO place your things out of the way.
If you know you'll be moving around a lot during your performance, or if the sides call for some activity you need to act out, ask if you can place your things by the door. We love that. It makes us feel like you'll be considerate. An actor that thinks ahead on set is like a unicorn. And when you're a producer that has to cast a movie, you LIVE for thoughtful unicorns.
7. DON'T PANIC.
If you see us writing on your resume, it's because we are taking notes to specifically remind ourselves of your strengths during your performance. We keep those things for YEARS. Well, FCF does if we think you're nice and did a good job.
Oh, yeah. We've seen all the versions of your website. We like the updates. :)
We are NOT writing a thesis on how bad you are.
We might be writing something like "great! too tall!"
Legit have written this note before. The dude looked like a giant next to the leading lady.
So calm yourselves. We're probably writing nothing to do with your talent and everything to do with whether or not you'll work for this project or any others we currently have lined up.
8. DO utilize the space.
Be aware of your surroundings and read the room. If the script says, "James chases the dog around the room while Sarah laughs", you should probably rehearse that action and chase the dog around the room OR watch (laughing) as a reader (James) 'chases' the dog around the room. Think this seems basic? Nope! Almost always filters out some actors. And if the scene is meant for film...
9. DON'T forget your frame!
Always ask what your frame is! We want to record you, not blank space. If you're going to run around the room chasing a dog, we probably have the camera set wide and will tell you where you can go. But ask! If you have something planned to 'wow' us, then (A) please don't bring confetti and (B) make sure our team can review the performance you nailed later by staying in frame.
Have extra tips for your fellow artist?
Share them in the comments below!
*A note on reels. The reel does not need to be complicated.
BUT it's not great seeing something you and your cousin filmed on an iPhone. We'll have to do a post sometime in the future on mastering the iPhone film technique.
Until then, let's not go there. You need to look professional if you want to beat out everyone vying for the same part. Spend a little extra money on your reel, and it pays off in dividends. Your headshot gets our attention so that CD's will look at your reel.
The reel proves you can act and gets us to call you in.
And don't spend a fortune! A good reel has anywhere from 3-5 scenes in less than 60 seconds that show off your star quality. Anyone charging you $300-$500 for just one scene - especially an exterior scene without lighting, HMU, original script, etc. - is ripping you off. For just a little more investment and planning, you should be getting 3-4 quality scenes that mix interior and exterior shots for your long reel, and a cut, 60-second demo reel to show to agents or casting professionals.