How to Kill Your Chances in an Audition

by Kyle Dean

The title of this article pretty much explains it all. Up to now, we’ve given you plenty of tips on how to prepare for an audition, as well as how to interact with casting offices. However, in order to truly be prepared for an audition, it is essential to know exactly what pushes casting directors’ buttons, and how to immediately ruin your chances at a role. If you know what NOT to do, than you can avoid it, right?

Being a no-call-no-show. This one is kind of a no-brainer, but not showing up for your audition after originally confirming with casting is not only rude, but also unprofessional. Casting sessions are typically meticulously scheduled, so not having an actor show up often throws a wrench into their plans. Last minute cancellations and plans are a norm in this industry, but when this happens, make sure to let your rep and or casting know if you are unable to make their session. More often than not, casting is fine with last minute notices – just as long as they actually get that notice!

Not being familiar with the materials. If you are not completely comfortable and confident with the audition material, i.e. your sides, don’t audition! Many new actors think that auditions are all about quantity over quality, and will go into an audition, regardless if they even looked at the material. Nothing annoys a casting director more than an actor that isn’t prepared because they are literally just wasting that casting director’s time. Actors that aren’t familiar with the material stand out by a mile, and can be easily identified due to the fact that they spend more time looking at their lines, and when they blatantly miss important beats in the sides. If you don’t have enough time to look over the materials, just ask if you can be rescheduled. More often than not, casting will be able to.

Asking to re-do scenes over and over again. Whether you fudge a line or you just aren’t happy with a take, it is important to control the urge of wanting to re-do the scene. Yes, in an ideal world, actors should be able to re-do auditions with casting directors, but in actuality, you really only get one shot. If you feel that you royally screw up a scene, you can probably get away with asking if you can do it over again. However, constantly asking to re-do several scenes in the same audition is a serious faux pas, and also shows casting that you are indecisive and lack confidence in your acting choices.

Acting like you know more than the people in the room. Whether you are auditioning for a studio feature or a student short film, it is always important to be respectful of the other people in the room, i.e. the casting director, director, producers, etc. I have witnessed auditions where actors give the camera operator instructions, as well as trying to direct the person that they are reading with. As an actor, you are there to perform the material and be instructed by the creative team in the room, not the other way around.

Having an attitude. This one is also kind of a no-brainer, and ties in with the “acting like you know more” blurb previously mentioned.  No one likes an actor with an attitude, and regardless of your level, casting directors have little patience to put up with troublesome actors. Regardless of your mood, an audition is essentially a job interview, and the attitude that you convey should be nothing but courteous and professional. Regardless if you are having a bad day, or even if casting kept you waiting an hour extra (casting offices get backed up quite often), you need to just throw on a smile and pretend like everything is okay. You’re an actor after all!

Seeming too desperate. Los Angeles and New York are full of struggling actors chomping at the bit. Everyone is desperate for auditions and work. Everyone in the industry knows this, especially casting, so there is no need to accentuate this as an actor. Hounding the casting office for any kind of audition, role, or work on a production is just sad and borderline pitiful. Even after auditioning, constantly calling/emailing the casting office to “follow up” about your audition can become quickly annoying, and will often immediately turn them off to you. There’s nothing wrong with following up after an audition, but doing it too often and frequently just sends the wrong message.

Actors only really get one chance to nail an audition. However, even if you don’t get the part, if you show the casting office that you are courteous, dedicated, and talented, they will most likely bring you back into their office for future projects. Of course, if you do any of the things previously-mentioned faux pas, you will not only ruin your chances for a specific project, but any future opportunities you may have had with that casting office.


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