8 Commercial Audition Tips From Vancouver Casting Director Deb Barnes

8 Tips To Having A Successful Audition

By Casting Workbook

From Deb Barnes, Vancouver commercial casting director.

  • Listen, please!

    By Casting Workbook

    Listen carefully to what the Casting Director or Director is asking you to do.  Surprisingly, many actors don’t listen to the direction being given them, frustrating the director and missing their golden opportunity to shine! Listening is powerful, and we love it when an actor follows direction – that means you can take direction on the shoot.

  • Be ready to improvise

    By Casting Workbook

    Improvisation to give the scene your own little twist,while staying true to the script and the writer, is very fun to watch. Try a facial expression or a well timed pause, for example.  Sure, give us a safe take or two, but then have a little fun with it…give us something different than everyone else.   Something to show us that you bring a lot to the table that we can use come shoot day.

  • Take risks!

    By Casting Workbook

    Don’t be afraid to look silly or to make a mistake… that is where your magic can shine through!  Keep your performance under control, but don't be so serious that you have no sense of play. This shows us that you will have more than one version to deliver if we shoot.

  • Be in the moment

    By Casting Workbook

    When you go into that room, have your game on! Leave whatever else is happening in your life outside the door, and bring your most focused, engaging and relaxed self to the process!

  • Get comfortable!

    By Casting Workbook

    Get comfortable with us! If you need help getting relaxed, Improv classes reign supreme… you will get comfortable getting silly. You will discover your strengths and weaknesses by trying, re-trying and enjoying brilliant moments that will astound you. Improv is an excellent building block for confidence and a less fearful approach to your audition. Remember, confidence gives you an edge.

  • Practice!

    By Casting Workbook

    In whatever way you can, you need to continually work on your craft. You need to put in the hours! Not only that, but more hours means you will have a greater arsenal of experience to pull from – workshop, theatre, whatever works. Think of every audition as a workshop; a chance to hone your craft in front of an audience. Experience is confidence!

  • Know your strengths

    By Casting Workbook

    If you're not sure, have a talk with your agent.  Do you have the Mommy or Daddy look? What age/demographic do you best represent? Are you a comedian? The professional type?  A fitness freak?  Know what types of auditions you should be going out for, make sure you and your agent agree. Make sure you are going out for roles that suit you, and you have a better chance of landing, then dress the part!

  • Your audition is your lottery ticket

    By Casting Workbook

    Get in there, give it your best shot and walk away!  You could have an amazing audition where everyone thought you were fabulous, but you just weren’t right for the part, or perhaps the specs changed. Don't attach yourself to that outcome. This ease makes your performance comfortable, and showcases a professional calmness that is wonderful to catch on camera. That, right there, is your best shot!

Deb Barnes is one of Vancouver’s commercial casting directors, and she was generous enough to provide us with eight commercial audition tips. Deb and her partner Murdine Hirsch have been casting unique, diverse and talented actors in commercial projects for over fifteen years, and are constantly on the hunt for new talent.

Since Deb has worked in film production, on set, as an actor and as a casting associate, she has a unique understanding of the industry. Using her experience in the industry, she has created commercial audition tips to help actors prepare for auditions, and have the best chance at success.

While Deb’s casting may be focussed on the commercial shoots, these tips are transferrable to film and theatre auditions, so take a look at Deb’s tips, and let us know what you think.




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