Don’t stress yourself unnecessarily!
Probably the most daunting part of any acting role starts before you ever have sight of a set or script of any kind, and that is the initial casting or audition. You punch the air in joy that your agent has got you in front of the casting director and then the nerves set in. The following are a few notes of experience from someone that has done this a few times now, (not always successfully, but I will cover that later)
The first thing to remember, and I hope I am not boring you when I say this as you will have been told this countless times – don’t stress yourself unnecessarily. Literally every actor in the entire world has had to audition in person for a role, from you to Harrison Ford, Rachael Weiss, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson etc – and they weren’t always successful either!
You are being seen because the casting director wants to see YOU and YOU are the one providing an answer to the casting dilemma that they have – so half the work has been done for you. However, remember that there will be several people at the same casting call, with the same or similar look and skill set – so it isn’t cut and dried.
Be confident, but not overly so
The following three pieces of advice are vital components of the above:
1) Be confident, but not overly so, say hello and be friendly, smile and try to show that you are at ease and relax as much as possible. (number 2 will help with this) If you are immediately likeable it really helps. (Directors are under real time pressure and they need to feel a connection to whomever they cast and they want to work with happy people!)
2) Research as much as you can about who you are auditioning for, and prepare within reason, the role you are going for. If you have a script try to learn it so you don’t need it when you go into the room. Knowing that you can learn lines quickly is a bonus, and knowing the character/who you are seeing/what to say, will help you seem much more confident (Even if like me, your legs have turned to jelly)
3) Don’t take it personally if the Director doesn’t speak to you directly, or even if others seem to ignore you and you only interact with one person, they are watching you regardless and as it says in 2) they are under pressure too. If you incorporate 1) and 2) into your casting there is more likelihood that they will interact with you but it isn’t guaranteed. Do your audition as directed and say thank you at the end. Don’t try to hang it out or get an instant answer as this simply won’t happen!
Acting is a passion that requires constant hard work
Finally (the hardest advice of all) once the Audition is over and you have left – FORGET IT – you will either have got the job or not, time will tell, there will not be any other option and you cannot go back and do it again. Also you will almost never get any feedback so it can be disheartening to wonder why you failed, BUT this is important, IT WILL NOT HAVE BEEN YOUR FAULT. Everyone auditioning will have been a professional like you, everyone will have been in the same position and the overwhelming truth is this. The director will be looking for a certain something that is probably indefinable, but he/she will know what it is when they see it, probably within the first thirty seconds. That is all it takes! Move on to the next one and don’t get disheartened. This is the greatest and cruellest business at the same time, and for every successful audition there will be many failed ones.
Finally, you may not get this role, but (and this is a huge) – if you did your best, the Casting panel will remember you, and when another role comes up that you do suit they may well come to you directly.
It does seem expensive and time-consuming travelling to a five minute audition that you have sweated tears for, and then you don’t hear a thing back, but that is the nature of acting. No-one said it would be easy and if you are only doing it to be famous – try a reality game-show! Acting is a passion that requires constant hard work, investment in yourself and constant learning, not even A-list actors’ work continually (except for a very lucky few)
But if like me it is in your blood, never give up. You are never too young and you are never too old. This is the career of dreams and passion, and you just never know.