Casting Director, Mark Summers, talks to The Stage about how not to alienate yourself in an audition.
For every audition you go for there are standard things that you need to do.
First of all, leave your baggage behind; nobody wants to hear about your drama.
Arrive on time, that means arrive ten minutes beforehand. This gives you enough time to read your script, to relax, to give yourself a chance. When you arrive at the casting studio you’ll walk into the reception room, you may see a friend you’ve not seen in years, that doesn’t mean that you need to talk to them immediately or chat or your mobile phone. When you walk into a reception area give a pleasant smile to the receptionist, ask the questions that you need to ask and ask, ‘is there any script changes?’
Once you get a script find a space within the building to read the script out loud. Give yourself a chance, the Casting Director may call you in and you might not be ready to go in for the audition, so let the Casting Director know. Say ‘I need five more minutes’, most Casting Directors will respect that and see that as being professional. If you say ‘yeah’ and you’re not prepared you’re only going to look like a fool and you’re not going to be called back in for a casting.
So, you’ve learned your lines and you’re sitting outside the audition room. The door opens, the Casting Director walks out, and you walk in. Always be relaxed; always have a nice friendly persona about you. If this is the callback you may see the Director and some other people sitting in the dark. Use your common sense, only shake people’s hands if they put their hands out first of all as some clients may want to be anonymous in the dark.
The first thing you will do is an ident or a slate. This is an opportunity to show them what you are like as a person. Never do this in character, be friendly, maybe be a bit quirky, most importantly be you. Then you’ll be asked to audition [for] the role. The Casting Director will give you their way that they want to see it. Even if you disagree with it, do it their way first. If you do this correctly and you have a suggestion, then suggest it to them after you’ve done that. Remember, there are four basic shots in any casting and it’s always good to know what those shots are so we can help you deliver your performance. There’s the long shot, there’s a mid-shot, there’s a close-up shot and an extreme close-up shot. If you make a mistake don’t panic. Stop, breathe-in and breathe-out and start again, don’t over apologies. When you finish your audition don’t try and promote your latest show. Smile, leave confidently and leave the silly questions to somebody else, not in front of the clients.