Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Audition tips

Thanks to Leslie K. Nelson for passing this along:

1. Don’t get cute with the slate.

This is not about you getting up and doing five at The Comedy Store. This is about you saying your name so we can match it to the coffee-stained callsheet. To put it another way, you know that obnoxious dude you auditioned with last week who made a horse’s ass of himself with some lame, Jokey McJoke in his slate? That guy you were embarrassed to be put on tape with? Don’t be that guy.

2. Don’t be a jerk to your fellow auditioners.

This includes showboating, scene-stealing, line-stepping-on and other forms of loud, selfish behavior. Remember, it is not just your acting talent that is being considered; it is your appeal in the fifteenth hour of a sixteen-hour day. Think you’re so slick? Think we can’t see it on tape?

Think again, chumley…

3. Don’t be needy.

I know—you need the job. We all need the job. Whatever. Don’t look or act like you do. If you need help with this, talk it over with your teacher or coach. Get a day job that pays enough you don’t need to rely on commercial income. But for the love of all that is holy, do NOT show us desperation. It has the loser taint we can smell a mile off, and no one wants a loser in the commercial they spent a year (yes, sometimes it takes A YEAR) getting to air.

4. Don’t improve on the copy unless you’re specifically asked to.

Remember: we are the jokesters, not you. Just because the copy is crappy by the time it’s reached your hands doesn’t mean it started out that way. Copywriters and art directors are usually pretty smart and funny people, even if we are sometimes dismissed as artsy-fartsy by suits and the client who consider themselves our mental superiors. (Does that chain of command sound familiar, actors?) So be on my side. Don’t mock the copy, even subtly. Yes, we know it (sometimes) blows. No, we don’t want to hear it from you.

And we’ll know. Oh, we’ll know.

5. Don’t look radically different from your headshot.

Not because we won't recognize you (you're on tape, right in front of me and my sandwich), but to avoid the endless scorn you will receive at our frustrated-screenwriter hands when we hold up a picture of you looking like Jessica Alba on a Maxim cover to the pudgy, middle-aged, Casual Mom-looking you on tape. Also, casting directors hate it. Frankly, this should be reason enough.

And finally…

6. Don’t sweat it.

Now that I’m on the other side of the camera, I routinely hear actors flipping out because their agent said business attire and they’ve shown up in casual business attire. Really—I SWEAR—it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are good and kick ass and have fun. We can buy you a lab coat/housecoat/fur coat; we can’t conjure up mad acting skills. If we could, we’d be actors.

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