THEY are casting directors, directors, producers, the networks, and, yes, even you.
IT is the script.
In an audition, how do you bring the script to life while giving them what they want?
You don’t. It’s a myth.
The myth has you squeeze, contort and bend yourself into something that you think – they think – they want for the part. How is this going so far? Surprise, you were right! And so were the other 25 actors who did the exact same thing as you. A year later you see the movie and they cast a guy if you’re a girl, a girl if you’re a guy, a white actor if you’re black, a black actor if you’re white, someone old if you’re young, someone old if you’re young, a comedian if you were a dramatic actor, a dramatic actor if you were a comic, a fat actor if you’re skinny, a skinny actor if you’re fat. The truth is they have no idea who or what they want.
Many actors go into an audition having judged the character and attempt to fill a void of what they think they want. In reality, this void is impossible to fill. Instead of thinking about what they want, think about who you are. What do you bring to the part? Moreover, instead of latching onto a character description or any other obscure thing that you may use to help decipher what you think they want you should, instead, interpret the story, the circumstances and the characters journey. Make yourself vulnerable to those things as opposed to being vulnerable to something that you have no control over. I guarantee that someone will walk into that audition and be the character in a way that will make them reevaluate what they think they wanted. Why? Because that’s what acting is. What makes the character is you, and they never saw that coming. So fuck what they want. You bring you, and by doing so, maybe you’ll be the thing that they didn’t know they were looking for.
Another myth floating around is that some casting directors do things in the room to throw you off, that they don’t want you to succeed and that there is some kind of litmus test you must pass before they are nice to you. This is false! For many actors, especially beginners, when they go into the casting room they are so focused on being liked that any perceived slight gets blown out of proportion, real or imagined. Not to mention, coincidentally, this slight will then give the actor a reason for why they didn’t get the part. The truth is that the way the casting director is behaving isn’t your responsibility. If the casting director is nice. that’s great, do your job. If they’re mean, alright, do your job. Think about it, if you’re the 30th person the casting director has seen that day then you might not perceive them to be in a good mood. but does that mean that they don’t want you to succeed? No. Not at all. They want you to do your job, efficiently, as they do theirs.
There is no benefit in trying to psychoanalyze the audition room. It will only lead you down the wrong path. Even if that path is “WOW they loved me, I’m definitely getting a call back!” Two weeks later and you haven’t received a call back, you’re analyzing your previous analysis and questioning your previous questions until that one WOW audition haunt you more than shit ones do. I see it happen all the time.
In reality, casting directors want you to be good, want you to succeed and want you to enjoy yourself. Moreover, they want you to do your job well so that they can do their job well and move on to casting the next person. Their job is to help find and corral the best actors for the part. From there, depending on how that office works, your tape will be passed onto the director or the network. When they turn on that tape all they look at is you. There is no consideration how the casting director is reading their lines or the bad mood they may or may not have been in. That’s not their job. All they see is the character they are trying to cast. And so should you.
My blog posts over the next few months will navigate and work through the audition, debunking myths along the way. So check back here from time to time to get the answers to these questions, or follow me on twitter (@randallwstudio) to know when my next blog post is out and to help you work through this long and complicated answer in order to help you as an actor!