By AC Tutor and Freelance Casting Director Annelie Powell.
It can take years of practise to perfect your audition technique,
but if you're looking for some pointers, who better to give you them than AC tutor and freelance casting director Annelie Powell? Here, she highlights some of the pitfalls that await actors before they've even started their reading.
Nerves can be a tricky thing. If you know you have them, and it'll make your audition worse, make it a priority to get to grips with them. Turning up in good time and doing your research and preparation should help you settle down.
Nerves affect everyone differently, so be aware of when your nerves can make you seem arrogant or distant in a meeting, and when they can make you feel desperate. An audition is much like a first date- do we get on, can we work together- arrogance or neediness can put a director off instantly. Relax!
Tardiness mucks my day up. And I'll hold you responsible for it. Not in a revenge death ray like way. But when I watch the tapes back the first thing that will pop into my head will be "Oh that’s that actor who was late, which had a knock on effect which meant I missed lunch, and the start of the show I was seeing last night". And of course what I should be thinking when I watch your tapes back is, “Ooh, aren't they bringing something interesting to the part?”
As above really. Read the script. Don't just read your lines. I know you think they are the most important part, but there may well be a clue in the script about the character you're going for, something that someone says about you for example. Also, I've prepared, why shouldn’t you? To the people who say that too much preparation can be a bad thing. It can't. I've never heard a brain surgeon say, “I’m really scared I'm going to muck this up because I've over prepared” -although admittedly I don’t speak to many brain surgeons on a regular basis.
You’ll embarrass me, and I won’t thank you for it. If you have concerns try and get in touch before, or raise it outside the audition room. Politely.
It's also worth keeping in mind that you have no idea if the character breakdown may have changed. It's may say black 22 year old male, but I may know that in the next draft it's changed to white 30 year old female.
I'm not saying this will get you a job, but it certainly can't harm you to know a little about the person you could be working with. It gives you a conversation starter, and the whole chat part is also the audition. If you've got something interesting to discuss you'll often forget about being nervous.
If you’re going for the part of Sister Polly Don't feel the need to come in full Nun regalia (actually happened), but don't dress like a stripper for a nun part either.
Don’t. Just don’t.
Annalie is a London-based casting director who has worked extensively in theatre, TV and film. Her two day Intensive Audition Workshop starts on monday the 18th of May. Her recent credits include the short film LIMBO and the feature film, Sons of the Morning. As an assistant casting director she worked on South Riding, The Shadow Line and Holby City. She has cast productions at Theatre 503, Trafalgar Studios, The Arcola and Jermyn Street Theatre as well as Regents Park Open Air Theatre and the Liverpool Everyman as an assistant. Please visit www.powellcasting.com for further information.