10 THINGS TO NEVER SAY IN A CASTING ROOM- By Risa Bramon Garcia and Steve Braun
Everyone at one point or another will put their own foot in their mouths a few times, but somehow, in the casting room, actors tend to do it more often then they would like. Factors such as nerves, insecurity, neediness and self-doubt set in and then there’s no stopping you. You say things that you aren’t aware of, feeding the narcissism, looking for connection and reassurance, but sometimes those few little words can stop your audition immediately. So here is a list of things you definitely don’t want to say in an audition:
1. “I just got this last night”
No excuse. Odds are, everyone else who is auditioning for this role got it last night too and someone is making it work. Do your work as best as you can in the time you have. If you must, work on it till 2am. Alternatively, do the work that’s necessary so you can get a good night’s sleep.
2. “Should I sit or stand?”
This is for you to decide. Confidently walk into the room, ready to go, putting the casting directors at ease.
3. “I’m going to enter, sit, then stand on this line, then exit…”
Keep it physically simple. In this abstracted and often confined space, make it about the relationship you have with the other person or people in the scene-the reader. What you’re doing actively, not physically is what matters.
4. “Where are the producers?”
Not there. The casting directors are there and they are there to work with you. Collaborate with you. Producers will view your best work if you bring it. Enjoy the intimacy of the relationship with whatever casting directors or associates are in the room. They are your audience.
5. “Is there something everything’s doing wrong that I should know. What mistakes are everyone else making?”
This is very self-explanatory. It’s a question that can be asked but the answer is straight up, do not ask this.
6. “Let me do it once and then you can tell me what you want”
If you ask this, the casting director will assume that you have no point of view and that you can’t decide for yourself. Is that how you really want them to think of you?
7. “Wow, that was a good one to get out of the way. Now can we do it for real?
The casting director will not be impressed with this. Are they supposed to sit there while you get it out of the way? How does that serve anyone? Don’t wait to get into the room to say it out loud, or do it for the first time with someone. Make sure you do your scene with someone else. Even your dog. Engage. It cannot live in your head or as you talk to the air in your shower. Feel what it’s like to engage with someone, know what you’re feeling, have a point of view and then come into the room to explore.
8. “So many words”
Find ways to learn your lines; it’s part of your craft. Different methods work but they all require commitment, certainty and connection to what you’re actually talking about. Nobody gets the job because they got every line right, but you do have to decide you know it, and be completely engaged. The words will come.
9. The scene is finished so you don’t say anything. You just pull a nervous look and stare
It’s very important not to do this. Casting directors want to see how you are going to end a scene. Don’t just say the words and stop acting once you’ve finished the lines. Remain in character. You can look hopeful, scared, angry, blissful, whatever the scene calls for. Whatever you believe you need to do in that moment.
10. “Well that sucked”
And they will be done. As an actor, you need to be able to walk into the room ready to work with conviction and sureness, happy to be there. Only then can you work together with them. Then you can create something that is in service of the script. Then they can take your unique interpretation to the next level.