With this years Oscars now done and dusted and a new batch of TV and FILM productions well underway, THE ACTORS PAD caught up with one of the UK’s top casting directors to find out the 10 worst mistakes actors make in auditions. Some are self-explanatory, others defy belief. Here’s what they came back with (you can thank us later).
Before you launch in to our countdown, have a look at arguably one of the best spoof casting videos ever!
NUMBER 10 – WINGIN’ IT.
These days, all of us lead busy lives and it can be hard to squeeze in the time to prepare for an audition as much as we’d like, but if an actor turns up with no understanding of the character and is seemingly reading the script for the first time with their heads buried deep into the page…it’s a waste of time for everyone. Do your homework – don’t try to blag it!
NUMBER 9 – BEING LATE
Film and TV productions are extremely tightly scheduled. Every minute counts and every minute costs, so if you can’t even turn up on time for the audition…forget it.
NUMBER 8 – TURNING UP DRUNK
Nerves can sometimes get the better of even the most seasoned performer and it can be tempting to reach for a stiff drink to settle yourself, but the days of rocking up like Oliver Reed with your trousers round your ankles and the muddy whiskey breath of Peter O’Toole are long gone. Stay sober.
NUMBER 7 – NOT WAITING FOR CAMERAMAN TO CALL ‘ACTION’
Enthusiasm is one thing, and it can be tricky keeping a lid on that eager-excitement, but it helps if the camera’s rolling before you launch into your schtick.
NUMBER 6 – MOVING OUT OF SHOT
Your physicality can be one of your greatest assets as an actor, and often the scene may require you to romp around the space like Jim Carrey, but for the purposes of the casting, it’s definitely worth staying within the frame of the shot. Save all the striding and rolling around for the real thing.
Poor old Chris Klein’s audition video for Mamma Mia went viral some years back.
NUMBER 5 – IGNORING DIRECTION
It goes without saying that how an actor responds to direction is one of the most crucial of skills. It’s definitely good to have a strong idea of how you think the role should be played, but refusing outright to adapt and mould to another artistic view is unlikely to score you any points.
NUMBER 4 – READING INTO THE CAMERA
The setup for a TV/Film casting can sometimes be a little confusing. In the early stages, you will find the person leading the audition assuming the role of Casting Director, Director, Cameraman and Co-Actor all at once, so it may be tricky to decide where to deliver your performance. That said…you are not reading the news! The camera ‘IS. NOT. THERE.’ so don’t deliver your lines straight down the lens. Instead, respond to the person you are speaking to in the scene…a bit like in real life! How strange.
NUMBER 3 – RECOMMENDING YOURSELF FOR A DIFFERENT ROLE
When reading a script in preparation for a casting, another character (different to the one you’re meant to be focusing on) may leap off the page at you like some fictional counterpart from another universe; “this role was written for me!”. The truth is, if they wanted to see you for that other part they’d have said so. Casting is their bag. Leave it to them. They’ve got this.
NUMBER 2 – INSULTING THE CASTING STAFF
An audition is a high pressure situation. You want to do well. You want them to like you. You want the job. But when something doesn’t quite go as planned, all that tension can sometimes come bursting out like an unopened tin of ego-beans tossed onto a naked flame. Do yourself a favour…keep a lid on it.
NUMBER 1 – LEANING ON AND FALLING THROUGH THE BACKGROUND
In a modern casting suite, you’ll often find yourself standing in front of a back drop, usually a thin white material which serves to give the Director the clearest image of you. In an effort to look casual and relaxed, some actors can mistake the delicate membrane for a solid wall and lean onto it like some James Dean dude at a bus stop. It isn’t a wall. It is paper-thin. You will break through and you will end up on the floor.
Casual = Good. On the floor in the middle of a casting having destroyed the studio = Not Good.