You spent all weekend studying those sides, preparing for that audition – hours upon hours upon hours. And then, when the day comes, you are in the zone. You NAIL IT! You head home feeling great, certain you got the role. You tell your friends, your mom (She’s been a longtime fan), your significant other (Looks like you’ll have to reschedule that trip!). You’re feeling GOOD!
Until the following day when your agent calls you to inform you the role went to someone else.
You’re shocked, then angered, then depressed. Perhaps this is the final straw and you’re considering throwing in the towel, giving up those dreams of stage and screen for that full-time position in the accounting department of your uncle’s wholesale-retail-import-export company.
But wait! Before you make any rash decisions, I want you to know that, in all likelihood, you weren’t to blame for not getting that role. From my 22+ experience in casting, I can honestly say that the majority of the time, my final decision hinged NOT on what an actor didn’t deliver, but what other actor DID. So don’t beat yourself up. More than likely, you didn’t come up short. Someone else just happened to deliver the perfect audition.
It’s not you; it’s us. Or the other guy/gal.
THAT’s the case 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time, it IS you. So please try to avoid these auditioning faux pas:
1 – Don’t show up high or drunk.
I know, I know. It seems like a big ask. And while you may think that smelling like a medical marijuana dispensary is a small price to pay for mental acuity, the reality is you come across as unfocused and meandering or, in one memorable instant, so stoned out of your gourd you stared off blankly into space for a full minute before being prompted into action with a “Whenever you’re ready!”
2 – Don’t gesticulate wildly.
Are you also signing your audition for the hearing impaired? If the answer is no, then calm the fuck down. Nothing diffuses a performance faster than windmilling arms and frenetic hand gestures. On the other hand, nothing quite impresses like a composed, controlled delivery. As my old friend director Peter DeLuise used to say: “Use the stillness.”
3 – Pronunciation is key.
I don’t necessarily expect you to have watched the show you’re auditioning for or, failing that, use your mind reading abilities to guess the correct pronunciation of names, places, and varied alien species – but if you’re not going to do either of the aforementioned, might I suggest you simply ask for clarification before launching into that soliloquy. “Oh that this too sullied feltch would malt.”
4 – Please, no funny accents.
Unless the role calls for one, or you are asked to do one on the day, please avoid the Clouseau-esque delivery – especially if you’re auditioning for the part of the extraterrestrial curator of some alien world. Trust me on this one.
5 – Go back in time and reconsider your decision to get those tattoos.
Perhaps, back then, you didn’t envision an onscreen career in which you might have to audition for a historical drama or the role of “Dreamcatcher Tattoo-less Entrepreneur”. Maybe, at the time, those finger tats, misfit skulls, and Chinese characters (actual literal translation: “Contents may have shifted during flight”) would have been just fine for that bank job (and I mean that in both possible senses). Fortunately, this isn’t a dealbreaker as the magic of make-up has come a long way in its ability to transform elaborately inked skin to its unblemished original state. Witness this wizardry firsthand – as you undergo the process at approximately 4:00 a.m., a good two hours before your call time.
Off the top of my head, that’s it. But I’m sure more will come to me after I publish this entry.
Or the next time I’m casting a show.