Friday, July 15, 2011

Advice for Elisa: Auditioning for Film/TV

Elisa is my fifteen-year-old cousin.  From time to time, I'll have a post that is some recent advice I've given her...

Almost every girl I know has thought about going into acting at some point in her life.  My whole family is actually in entertainment (whether it's behind the cameras or in front) so I've seen enough to be able to give Elisa some tips when she recently showed interest in becoming an actress.  There's a lot that happens before you start booking auditions which I'll cover in another post but since I happen to be running auditions today, I have a few Tough Love tips from the casting director's POV that I'd just like to get out there while they're still on my mind!

* Be Prepared, Know What You're Doing, Don't Waste My Time

Make Sure to Bring an Extra Copy of Your Headshot/Resume: These days, you probably got this audition because the casting director saw your picture and resume in some form online.  While I know they're expensive to print, the fact of the matter is that remembering to bring a hard copy marks your professionalism, helps us remember who you are and also increases your chances of being seen for future projects.  Make sure everything is handy so the casting director isn't waiting for you as you search through your bag for everything they need.

Same Goes for Sides: If you weren't required to memorize your lines, bring your own copy of the scene you'll be reading.  Although most of the time, copies of the scene will be at the location, never expect a copy to be provided for you.

Understand What Will Be Asked of You: When someone asks you to slate, this means you should stand on your mark, look into the camera and state your name and agency if applicable.  If you're trying out for a specific character, make sure you indicate that as well.  These are the basic things you should be providing when asked to slate, but in some cases - casting directors will ask for additional information - they'll let you know if that's the case.

* Remember Basic Manners

Be On Time and Show Up If You Said You Would: I can't get over how many people are late and totally unapologetic about it.  We go through many people a day and often book so tightly that every minute counts.  Yes, you may be one of many and think maybe we won't realize if you decide not to show up at the last minute but really - you don't want to risk that.

If You Can't Make It, Please Let Us Know: Yes, we're packed and busy but we'll appreciate a voicemail that showed the effort to notify us if you weren't able to show up.

Don't Ask When We'll Contact You: We'll contact you if we think you're a good match.  Don't take up too much of our time asking when you'll hear from us when we're just looking to get to the next audition.

This Might Sound Crazy, But Try Not to Smell: I know how mean that came off but it's not completely what it sounds like.  If it's hot out, remember deodorant and never overdo the perfume.  Oftentimes, initial castings will be done in small rooms and smelling heavily of anything can be distracting to the casting directors and the actors who follow.

* Allow Your Personality to Come Through

Don't Try Too Hard Being What You Think We Want You to Be: We want to see the blank slate.  Acting goes beyond who your character is and how well you play it.  Since production is often a long process, we want to know that the person we're hiring is someone the rest of the cast and crew will get along with and enjoy being with.  We know you are not necessarily the character we've brought you in to audition for so don't worry about being yourself.

* Make Sure Your Headshot Actually Looks Like You

We Want to See You At Your Best, Not Photoshopped Beyond Recognition: There is nothing wrong with makeup, good lighting and minimal touch-ups on your headshot but if I hold your headshot up to your face and it looks like two different people - we've got a problem.  Oftentimes, those guilty of this are just as beautiful as their Photoshopped self but the point is that we want to see the REAL you and it's best if your headshot can capture your essence.

Also, Avoid Making your Headshot Landscape: Horizontal headshots are a major NO for me. I know you're trying to stand out but keep it right side up so when I'm filing everything together, I don't have to worry about making yours fit.

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to break into the acting business myself, and these tips actually help. Thanks a bunch India! :)