Casting Directors Give Advice on Auditioning!

Casting Directors Give Advice on Auditioning


In an article that appeared in the Sunday New York Times, several casting directors were asked what they wanted to see when an actor auditioned for film, television, or theater. The answers were very clear, and if you really fully duplicated what they’re said and applied it, you could have more success in your auditions.

Casting director Bernard Telsey was asked: What’s the secret to a great audition? His answer “When somebody comes in and surprises you and takes you to an emotional place that the material is demanding but you wouldn’t have thought of. What that involves: completely prepared, making performance choices. It makes you want to be in a room with them longer.”

Mr. Telsey talked about a “performance” not a “reading.”  To deliver that kind of work means you have to be on your game and be sharp. Working in acting class can keep you alive and inspired and ready when the audition comes in. To sit and wait for something to happen and grow stale won’t put you in the shape you need to be in to win the role.

Casting Directors Give Advice on Auditioning

Casting director, Daniel Swee had this to say. “The key to preparing is spending time with a text, figuring out who this character is to you.  An actor we cast for the lead in a Broadway show came in completely prepared with the text. He had developed a great British accent already. He was completely present, which meant that he was able to listen carefully to the other actors, to take direction. You can see easily when an actor is not listening.”

Another casting director, Jim Carnahan, said this. “One of the biggest traps that actors fall into is trying to be what we want them to be, and that’s not what we’re looking for. It’s like a blind date.  You’re better off just being yourself.”

If you read and re-read what these three casting directors are saying here and work on these points until you’re able to apply what they’re saying to your auditions, you’ll stand a much better chance of getting work consistently.

By Lynette McNeill
Acting Coach & Director

Lynette McNeill - Acting Coach

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