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Ten top tips from Casting Director, Greg Apps

Australian casting director Greg Apps shares his ten top tips for audition success.
Greg first started casting at the ABC Melbourne in 1982. He has cast more than 70 feature films, countless TV series and endless TV commercials. He was on the board of the AFI for seven years and he is the current president of the Casting Guild of Australia. He has conducted audition workshops for major drama schools in every city of Australia. In the 1970s he was an actor appearing in the films Sunday Too Far Away, Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and Mad Dog Morgan. He is the creator of – the first online training for self-taped auditions.

You are a professional actor. So you know what an audition is, how it works. What is expected.

So I am not going to say things like arrive early, or be polite. Some of the simplistic patronizing advice one can find on the internet is downright insulting in my opinion.

That said, I have a different take on auditions. So my advice can easily be scoffed at, rejected.

I offer these ideas merely to say ‘think about this’ or ‘what would happen if …?’

So by all means, reject my thoughts, after all, it is your audition.

  1. An audition studio was designed by a casting director. It is THEIR creative space. But the actor owns the moments from ‘Action’ to ‘Cut’.
  2. Find the joy. Every major screen actor does.
  3. When you arrive at the mark, take a small moment to see the setting of the scene, the location, the street, the restaurant, or wherever the scene is set.
  4. If you believe the writer owns the character, you will always deliver a faithful rendition of the page. Make decisions about the character – YOUR version of the character. If you don’t you are just like every other actor who auditions.
  5. The dialogue does not deliver the character. The character delivers the dialogue.
  6. Before you start learning the lines, take out every exclamation mark!! They indicate the characters dismay or confusion. They do not indicate volume!!!!!
  7. Prepare your audition character with images sourced on the web. The setting, the community, the people who inhabit this district. Look at those images in the waiting room. That is more important than the dialogue
  8. Never mime. Ever.
  9. We have seen these lines delivered again and again. We know what the character is thinking, you do not have to show us. And a good actor shows us every detail of what the character is thinking. A great actor gives us just enough to be fascinated.
  10. An audition is not a test of your ability. We are not seeking the best actor, we are searching for the right actor. So strive for imagination not error free delivery.

You can dissect and digest this advice or dismiss it. I understand my thinking is contrary to lots of very respected people. So, it is easy to dismiss. All I suggest, is that you think about it.