The Art of Booking:  A New Approach to Auditions


Last week we covered six areas relating to the Art of Booking.  This week we’ll pick up where we left off.  The main point that I want you to focus on is that it’s your reading and you’re in charge from the moment you arrive.

  1. How to give your best reading when you’re not getting much from the casting director


By being completely prepared for the audition, you can overcome almost anything than might come up.

Know that most people reading with you aren’t actors so don’t go into the reading expecting more.  You’re an actor and can create a good reading regardless of what the other person does.  Don’t make it about them, as that puts you at effect.  Use what you get and create the rest.  That will keep you in charge and not dependent on someone else’s reading.  Look at them and connect and remain truthful.  If you’re prepared for this situation when you walk in, you’re way ahead of the game. Take responsibility for the reading.



  1. Learn how to make the best choices with limited information


Make your choices from emotional need, it will take you the greatest distance.

Understanding the story and telling it with depth and humor beyond the printed page will give you the best reading no matter what the circumstances.

Your choices are an expression of your talent.  Take the information that’s available and trust your instincts to tell the story in the most

Imaginative way you can.

When asked “what’s the secret to a great audition?” casting director, Bernie Telsey replied, “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.”

“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.”   Jim Carnahan, casting director


“I know there are actors out there that present themselves as cool cats, but you better take your cool-cat suit off if you want to act.  You can’t otherwise.”   Phillip Seymour Hoffman


When asked about the expense of taking acting class when an actor doesn’t have much money, here’s what one casting director had to say. “Get a job or a second job so that you can afford to be in acting class.  It’s so competitive that the best actor will get the role so you must keep training until you are the BEST.  Very good is NOT good enough.”

                                    Jeff Greenberg, casting director (Modern Family)



  1. Understanding how “beats” can help you give a better audition


A beat is a unit or section of a scene that has a specific subject or activity at its core.  If we start by discussing a particular item in the news that day while at a cocktail party that would define that beat.  As the conversation changes to gossip about someone coming to the party we will have moved into a new beat.  Beats are defined by change and make a scene more interesting and varied. When a beat contains a big change that affects multiple characters it becomes an event.


Beats can be small, medium, or large and when marked as such in a script can provide a roadmap for the actor.  By defining the beats and

noting them in your script it keeps your focus narrowed to the subject at hand.  This helps you to stay connected to the moment you’re in and not

thinking about what’s to come.

If you create a strong opening beat, you will have the depth and energy

necessary to drive the scene emotionally to the end.


  1. You must start the scene with the character’s emotional state and viewpoint, coupled with what you need and want from the other character.

  1. Wrapping it up


Your best weapon is your enthusiasm! Enthusiasm for yourself, your talent and for the opportunity to be there and audition.

Oprah Auditions

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”  Goethe

Here’s to the Art of Booking! And may this new approach to auditions bring you much success!


Lynette McNeill

Any Questions, Call (310) 274-1085

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By Lynette McNeill
Acting Coach & Director

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