Monday Prescriptions – Audition Audit

Hi Film Folk!

This week The Film Doctor Team have chosen to hone in one of the most important parts of moviemaking. That’s right, this week’s Monday Prescription  focuses on auditions.

In this article we will go over both sides of the coin: mistakes that actors should avoid making and, for producers and directors, what might just be a tell-tale sign of problems to come.

Producers and Directors: We’re assuming you’ve considered the market value of your cast and have chosen to go with unknown talent.

Actors: We’re assuming you have trained (either via an official academy of sorts or deep life experience) and want to do the best you can at auditions.


Be On Time

Actors – You’ve got your audition and you’re late. You’ll be very lucky to salvage this. Even if you have a genuine (and good/upsetting) reason for your tardiness, it won’t wash. Unfortunately too many people have misused genuine excuses in the past. Will people want to take the risk that this was a one-off? They are going to be in charge of a whole set. You do not want to add ANY problems to the list. Arrive in the area early with a book and have coffee.

Directors/Producers – Do you want to hire somebody who could potentially hold up production? If an actor shows up late and gives the perfect audition then you’ll have to think long and hard (and perhaps question them at round 2/see if they’re late to that) to see if it’s going to work for you in the long run. You don’t want production any more stressful than it already is.


Don’t Squeeze

Actors – You might have read the above ‘go early with a book and have coffee’ and laughed your little cotton socks off. ‘How on EARTH can I do THAT?!’ you probably thought, ‘have you SEEN the amount of auditions I have to do in one day sometimes?!?!’

Sorry, that’s your fault. You took too much on. You have to know when to say no to auditions or when to cancel one in favour of a better sounding one (or better ask if you can send in a tape). You’ve chosen a risky business in the first place – you’ll have to take risks in selecting the jobs you really want. If you spread yourself too thin and don’t learn your parts you’ll end up with nothing.

Directors/Producers – Sure the actor might commit to your project once they’ve got the part – but if they really wanted it in the first place then they’d have done what you asked in preparation. Be wary of the ‘I didn’t have time to look at your script’ actor. Most likely they are overcommitting to various opportunities rather than being excellent at a few.


Take Direction

Actors – This is really quite simple (and very tough too). Some casting directors/directors/producers will expect you to be ‘off book’ BUT simultaneously want your performance to be loose enough to be shaped. You need to learn the words, not the notes or a fixed character. The director will most likely not want to work with somebody whose performance is the same after direction as it was before.

Directors/Producers – Even if they give the PERFECT audition, do give them direction for a second take. This could have been fluke. You need to see if they can take direction for scenes where perhaps they aren’t perfect!


It’s the 21st Century – Get in it

Actors – You can call it a ‘sad state of affairs’ if you like. You can cuss and cry about it too but that’s all you’ll do. To an audience of one. Casting and auditioning isn’t done the same way as it was used to – so get with it.

You need a good camera – almost everyone is casting/shortlisting through online showreels and if you can’t make an audition the majority of Casting Directors will take an online audition – you shoot it, you send it to them.

In fact, Victor Jenkins and Kelly Valentine Hendry (VHJ casting) who have cast Slumdog Millionaire, Adulthood and Episodes Series 2, say it is one of THE most important things you can do as an actor in this day and age!!!

Listen to Victor Jenkins and Kelly Valentine Hendry’s Spotlight podcast here.

Skyfall casting director Debbie McWilliams even says she keeps all her auditions online – this is a part of the game that you do NOT want to miss out on. Listen to Debbie McWilliams Spotlight podcast here.

Producers/Directors – Is your workflow the most time and cost efficient. You can save hundreds of man hours and pounds by viewing showreels online and only seeing an elite selection in person!


Get Life Experience – Get Chops

No matter what you do and don’t get now, it’s life experience and hard work that will get you where you want and keep you there. Listen to Denzel Washington. Keep learning.


Monday Prescription No. 39 – Actors/Producers/Directors make sure your processes are in perfect order so you get what you want from auditions.

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Have a great week!
The Film Doctor Team
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