Inside a Casting Session

Casting SessionRecently we’ve been sitting in on a few Casting Sessions with different Casting Directors; a commercial, a MOW and a TV series episode. Two of these sessions had Directors in attendance, and one session was only with Casting. We sat in from start to finish and saw first hand a few of the things that can come up, and decided to share with you what we learned.

In no particular order, here are 14 things that came up during Casting Sessions. Hopefully these points can help you prepare just that little bit more for walking into the audition room.

1.) The actors that looked the part were considered more than those who didn’t. If you’re playing a business professional, don’t wear a Metallica t-shit. It’s visual. If they can imagine you in the part, you’ll have a leg up.

2.) Headshots are sorted on the go; one pile for yes, one pile for no, and sometimes another pile for maybe. And sometimes notes will be written directly on your resume for future reference.

3.) This is rare, but a Casting Director will push for an actor they believe in, even if the audition isn’t great. This only happens if they’re sure about that actor for the part. Remember this is not a regular occurrence, so don’t count on it happening.

4.) Directors consider physical matches. You might have the best audition of the day, but you’re almost two full feet taller than the female lead already cast. We’re not really sure how you can prepare for this, but keep in mind that an amazing audition will stand out, even if you don’t get the part. One Director liked an actor so much he tried to figure out what other part in the film they could play.

5.) They will stop a Casting Session to call and put someone on hold right away. If this happens to you, then an epic congratulations too you. It means you wow’d them like crazy!

6.) You may be asked to read a different role on the spot. ‘We don’t think you’re right for this role, but can you read for this other one?’ , so practice cold reads. You may be put on the spot.

7.) They look through the headshots directly after the session while the auditions are still fresh in their minds. If they can’t remember you based on your headshots, you’re a no. You should always look like your headshot.

8.) What happens if you don’t have a headshot? When they’re sorting through headshots at the end re-considering actors, your face isn’t there to consider. You might lose the roll just because you’re not in the pile of faces at the end.

9.) It’s painfully obvious if you’re unprepared. If ten actors came in before you and rocked the scene, and you come in and stumble a few times, it’s obvious.

10.) If you don’t need your sides, don’t have them in your hand. So many actors fiddled with the paper in their hands. It can be very distracting. If you don’t need them, put them down.

11.) A common question from directors; tell me about yourself? How do you answer this? This is an opportunity to show that you’re not only talented, but you’d be great to work with on a personal level. Stay professional, but show off your personality. If it comes down to you and another actor (both equally talented), you could be chosen because the director liked your attitude.

12.) In every single session we attended, a Casting Director said ‘relax’ at some point in the session. It’s obvious when you’re nervous. Take a few deep breaths, be prepared and try to seem calm.

13.) All the sessions were filmed. If you’re going to move around a lot in your scene, make sure the camera operator knows to be ready. If your tape is really hard to watch, your really powerful scene won’t translate when it’s reviewed later.

14.) Actors who said ‘I can do better than that, can I try again?’ were never turned down. If you totally screwed up, take a breath and start again. If you knock it out of the park your second take, they won’t remember your first take.

 

We would love to hear your stories about being in the casting room. Has anything strange or random come up? Have you noticed anything that comes up time and time again? If you have anything, write it in the comments below.




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