Advice from Casting Professionals

Right as you walk in the door to Sarah Finn’s casting office you are greeted not only by the relaxing yellow walls and plenty of reading material, but also by a friendly note towards the ceiling to “Just Breathe”. It’s a simple reminder, but one that she is complimented on regularly because actors know that it is at our most nervous that we forget even the basics. In that vein, most of the advice people give to actors about their process, their craft, their audition techniques, is all very basic. It’s things like: “Be in the Moment”, “Be yourself”, and “Don’t think too much”.

“Just Breathe” may not be of very much help on the average days, but on the big ones, it’s easy to forget that it’s all you need. I asked some casting professionals what their greatest advice is to working actors. Not surprisingly, it’s all simple stuff that’s easy to forget but all you need. Here is what a few casting directors would tell you if you took them out to lunch:

“In an audition, know the casting person is on your side, and wants you to do well! So ask specific, character-feeding questions that will help you and enhance the work you’ve already put in – and take the time you need so you leave the audition feeling confident!”
-Tamara Hunter, Casting Associate

“Don’t talk about your audition on Twitter! Not only are you probably jinxing yourself, but if we find it, we won’t appreciate you telling the entire world about what we’re working on at the moment.”
-Molly Green, Casting Assistant

“Find something you are passionate about, and don’t spend too much time worrying about what you think we want, and trying to do it to please us. When you are creatively engaged, we are likely to be too, and doing a role you love, or having a ‘take’ on something that is your own, is what you bring, and that is much more likely to get you work.”
-Richard Hicks, Casting Director

“Be prepared. Do your homework, use the audition as an acting experience and show up for it prepared. Same thing when you walk on set. You’re an actor so do your job.

You can’t act alone. You’re always in relationship when you work so make sure you understand who your character is in the scene with and engage. All the time. Even if it’s a tired, hungry, bored reader. Your job is to engage.

And finally, do something while you wait for auditions and bookings. Write, create, act wherever you can do. Be an artist. It’ll free you and give you the confidence and artistic growth you need to be sane!”
-Risa Bramon Garcia, Casting Director

And, obviously, breathe.

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Taylor Reid

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