Mind-Hacking the Audition Process

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The relationship between actors and the casting process can sometimes be antagonistic, and that’s super unfortunate. If you find yourself ripping your hair off over the audition/casting process, and feeling resentful toward casting directors who “always bring you in, but never cast you,” consider these 3 mind-hacks:

Casting directors want you to do your best so you can make them look good. (AKA they are on your side.)

The job of the casting director is to bring in as many viable options for every role so the director and writers can choose from the best. The decision will ultimately be a consensus, but the strongest voice in the room is rarely the casting director.

The reason the casting director is not the strongest voice in the room is because WE KNOW THEY ALREADY LIKE YOU! Otherwise they wouldn’t have brought you in (let alone brought you for the millionth time.)

It’s a chance for you to make an impression without necessarily booking the job.

On average, there are probably (at least) 10 people vying for every role in a production. Just because you don’t get the job, doesn’t mean you aren’t good. It doesn’t even necessarily mean you weren’t good for the role. It just means they went with someone else, who was also good. (That’s really all you can take away from that experience.)

But the truth is, you may have made a big impression on someone in the room, they just weren’t able to cast you in this part. That’s why acting guru Dallas Travers often says, “Don’t worry about booking the job, worry about booking the room.”

If someone in the room likes you and brings you in for something else later, chances are you’re even MORE suited for that job, and MORE likely to book it. Remember – it’s not about this job, it’s about the next job.

The casting process is also an interview opportunity for the actor.

I think this is a difficult one for actors to absorb, but it’s important to recognize at any stage of your career. Each time you audition for a director or a writer, you have to consider that they are auditioning for you, too.

Sometimes the overwhelming need to book A job overrides the consideration of whether or not you truly want to book THIS job. But there’s nothing worse than investing time and energy in a project that ultimately is not the type you want to be a part of. That goes for the quality of the content, but even more so the quality of the process.

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So often there are blog posts written to help actors better prepare for the audition process. Rarely do you see suggestions for those running it. That’s why this post from director Michael Barakiva warmed my heart as it addresses some of the usual pet peeves actors have about the audition process. My particular favorite is:

Choose short sides.
Seriously, you know in the first 30 seconds if the actor and the role are the right fit. Don’t waste their time preparing ten pages. If you need to see ten pages, you’re a horrible director. Besides, short sides allow you time to work with the actors.

I’m curious – what are your biggest concerns about the casting process?

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