The casting process can be long and involved. All of the work leading up to the auditions can be difficult, time-consuming and stressful, but I see the auditions as the pay off because I love to watch actors work. The moment when an actor comes in and really nails it is exhilarating! When I’ve been listening to the same sides all day, the actor who comes in and gives the material a new twist or a different shape really stands out from the crowd. Most casting directors are just waiting in breathless anticipation of that moment when an actor comes in and just seamlessly embodies the role in an effortless way. The actors who have the skill and confidence to perform their best in an audition don’t always get the part, but they do always make a great impression.
Here are some of the best auditions I’ve ever seen.
I was casting an international commercial, and often times casting a commercial can feel like Attack of the Clones. Everyone looks the same and after a while it starts to feel like an exercise in deja vu. Then, this actor walks in and he is friendly and pleasant and he gets right down to business. He is dressed perfectly for the character. He’s well-groomed and its clear that he has done some research on the product and the previous commercials in the campaign. He delivers the copy with a freshness and an energy that blows everyone else out of the water. He doesn’t get the part because the client wants someone a little older. I continue to call this actor for everything he’s right for and I’ve been able to cast him a few times since. It’s important that actors understand that you can have an amazing audition but still not get the part. There are factors beyond your control that impact the decisions. All you can do is give a strong audition so that even if you aren’t right for the part, the casting director will remember you fondly and call you in again.
Last year, I was casting an interesting role in a short film. It was a supporting role in the film and the actress was in several key scenes, but she had no lines. An actor who can convey thought and emotion without words can be difficult to find. Most actors have not had the in depth acting and movement training required to take on this kind of role. We saw at least 40 women for this role, but most of them just couldn’t improvise and couldn’t find the character without any lines. Then, a very young actress just out of school walked in and brought sophistication, intelligence, and spontaneity to the performance that made the director look at the role in a new light. She did get the role, and now her career is definitely on the rise.
Sometimes, it’s easier to highlight the bad because it’s so obvious, but the good can be more subtle. What makes an audition good? It’s all abut being memorable for the right reasons. Be prepared and pleasant. Be ready to improvise and take direction, and most importantly be ready to get down to business. Have you had any really great auditions? What made them stand out? I’d love to hear about it.