Acting : Audtion nightmare and heaven? by David Pearson

David Pearson

Audtion nightmare and heaven?

What is the worst audition experience you have had and what made for the best audition experience -even if you didn't get the part. I'm a twice BAFTA Nominated producer and director and I think that some directors and producers have no idea how to conduct these events. I'd also be interested in hearing your "best practise" thoughts too. I'm attached as director to two features currently and you can see more about one at @BlackCarHome on Twitter or facebook.com/blackcarhome

Conor Irwin

Its a tough racket as Alec Baldwin once said. I've been on both sides of the desk so i would say - Be clear. Be polite. Be fair.

David Pearson

Good

Gido Schimanski

Hey David, I just read your post and thought it was very interesting synchronicity. I am working on an audio programme to help performers with their audition routine, their own nightmares before they even go in, the nerves and blocks and self-sabotages that pop up and so on. Might be interesting to have a chat and discuss each others views on this.

David Pearson

By all means Gido and thanks Telece and Alle

David Pearson

I think insufficiently specific requests to actors is a big issue.

Dave McCrea

Let us do it the way WE see it first, don't give us any notes til after. Then don't try to mold the performance by saying things like "more energy" or "more angry". Instead, explain and sell us the situation the character is in - e.g. - "this is the happiest day of this guy's life!" or "This guy just saw his whole family wiped out". Also less is more with notes. If you say a bunch of stuff we'll try to absorb all of it and we can only absorb so much. Really you should only say a max of 2 key points as an adjustment.

David Pearson

Quite. I agree. Provide objectives and intentions, but as you say not very many!

Bryan Samson

Dave McRea has it spot on!

Ruth Kaufman

Best practices: Courtesy and organization go a long way.

Dave McCrea

David, Black Car Home sounds great! Is there a way to see it?

Mark Schaefer

Best audition was the one where I kicked ass, but didn't look right for the part. 2 weeks later, the casting director called me to say I didn't get the part, but offered me another speaking role in their TV show.

David Pearson

Dave McCrea - you can see the trail for Black Car Home and it is screened here in the UK every so often and will be available online later this year. Follow on facebook for updates. www.facebook.com/blackcarhome or twitter @blackcarhome Thanks

David Pearson

It's good if there is no sense of a power play and clear goals but a willingness to explore.

Tony Picciotti

Audition is a funny game, Constantine, would hold apple in his hand and ask "What color is this apple", of course most would say "it's Red", But in fact everyone sees the apple a little differently, The same with auditions, you’re ready, you are the only one who can put your mark on the moment, it's ok if it’s not exactly what the Director wants, but creative a character that you believe in ( for that Moment), then say thank you and forget it, If your ordinal they will call, if you’re like the rest, then it’s the look, and sometimes that all they see, Don’t believe that there are many auditions, that see true talent.

Sean C Dwyer

Best ever one for me was early on, in community theatre back in the day. I knew the Director, and I wasn't feeling any necessarily huge pressure or what, but I wanted to give it my best and have fun in the moment. I chose a monologue that I found in three parts in the game ACT ONE where it gives clues from movies and you have to guess the movie. I forget the movie, but it was Paul Newman as a lawyer. The Director really loved it and I ended up with four roles in that play, ha. Of which one lawyer. And I do lawyer-type work today as well... there may be something there... worst experience... I mean I always have fun within my own experience... that may be a bit of a problem. At National Theatre School in Montreal, I enjoyed my audition, but right after they busted out about having a coach and auditioning in English (I auditioned only in French despite just having learned the language, ha)... that upset me because it showed me their immediate cutoff points that I didnt consider to be fair. I think they missed out on me! And I roll on! Got two auditions today in Hollywood, we shall see... and the best of all in a couple weeks; DON QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA!

Bryan Samson

I agree with every word Tony says!

Sylvia Sakellaridis

I think what I start to understand about the auditioning process is that is fundamental to know what u want want, not only as the character but as a person that walks in that room, instead of thinking what they want, u not going to know that anyway! That gives me a lot more power cause I'm not focusing on them, but on what I'm trying to create on stage

Deryn Warren

As a director, I always asked a good actor to read with the actors. Give actors plenty of time with the script and NEVER tell them to "take it down" which ruins their performance. Just tell them to be more vulnerable or lower the volume. Directors should LOVE he excitement of energy and not be afraid of it. Check out How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love With You at DerynWarren.com for more tips. Best of luck.

Deryn Warren

I would not suggest molding your audition to the character. IF they ask you to do a monologue they want to see if you can act and if you fit the physical description. That goes back to Sylvia''s point that you have more power if you go into the room knowing what you will give them.

Acting-up.com Casting

You make an interesting observation concerning the best methods of conducting an audition by stating "...I think that some directors and producers have no idea how to conduct these events.". Many successful casting directors have originally trained and worked as actors thus having an empathy and understanding of the psychological effect the audition process has on an actor. This places us in a better position than a director or producer who has never had to go through this process. We can discern that a bad audition does not always equate to a bad actor. This is just one reason why producers should not be tempted to self-cast their productions.

Deryn Warren

That is very true. I teach an audition technique that all actors should know. With training they can go in and blow the room away but it is a technique that has to be learned. Some wonderful actors cannot audition. Call in my students and they will do you proud, They work a lot in LA. DerynWarren.com

Silke' Renate Lienhardt

My worst experience ever was having one of the people on the other side of the table say (loudly) "This person is obviously unsuitable for the roles we have available!" BEFORE I had a chance to even give my name. My best experience was having the director and the principal cast member sit down and discuss the project with me and explain what they wanted in detail. (Oh, and I did get the role.)

Deryn Warren

Years ago when I was directing theater (and doing my own auditions) I had an African American actor beg to audition for the part of a middle aged German. He was so stunning that the writer/producer re-wrote the part for him.

David Pearson

If an actor doesn't look physically how the director/producer/ casting agent imagined them for the part (and clearly they should be using some discernment in selecting actors to attend the audition in the first place), then however good the actor is as an actor it is difficult sometimes to get further. Tough on the actor but unavoidable. Let's face it photos can be misleading. The turn down certainly shouldn't be as rude as you encountered Silke! However if someone has been called in for audition it seems silly to me for the director and others not to get a sense of them as actors, since they may be used another time for another part- as happens.

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