Monday, 30 March 2015

5 Easily-Fixable But Way Too Common Audition Mistakes

I know this statement won't blow anybody's minds, but auditioning is a nerve wracking process. I know because I've been on a lot of auditions myself. But that was another lifetime. Nowadays I am not the one auditioning, rather I'm the person casting, and what I didn't realize before was how often actors make the same simple mistakes in their auditions and how EASY it can be to avoid them. 

Here are a few simple mistakes that I've experienced. I can't claim that every casting director will 100% agree with these rules, but if you ever audition with Swagger, you'll want to pay attention. 

1. Don't show up too early.

Unless you know that there will be a place for you to wait, or that there may be the possibility of going early, don't show up more than 15 minutes before your audition. You may be the first one scheduled and the location isn't set up or there may only be room for 1 or 2 in the holding area and showing up too early puts a wrench in the socket. Being early is good (and too early is always better than late), but you're not going to earn any double bonus points for being super early and you risk inconveniencing the casting process.

2. Don't compliment my clothes/hair/jewelry/shoes/etc.

I know I'm a fashionable lady and you may not mean anything by it, but when an actor walks in and the first or second thing they do is compliment my clothing, then I can't help but feel like they're kissing up a bit. And then I feel kind of sad for them because it's a bit of a desperate tactic... And then I feel insulted, because did you really think that would work? 

Don't get me wrong, complimenting anyone is hardly the world's worst crime, but you're safer not risking giving that impression. Stick to the audition; we're here to be impressed by YOU.

3. Don't forget your headshot and resume.

Maybe you sent one in when you submitted, so you think we have it. Bring it anyway. Sometimes the casting director wants to be able to look at that information while you are giving your audition and you shouldn't make them have to print all that out themselves to do so. Or maybe the person you sent it into isn't the person you're seeing and they never swapped info. Better to be safe than sorry.

We may be living in the digital age but convenience and courtesy have yet to go out of style.

4. Don't make excuses!

The most successful actors are the ones who are comfortable in their own skin (or who can fake it). If you need to wear your glasses to read the sides, don't ramble on nervously apologizing for it, simply put them on and offer to do a couple lines without them if they'd like to see your look without them. If you broke rule #3 and forgot your headshot and resume, just let me know you forgot it but are happy to send one in as soon as possible. 

But these are just details. Most importantly, NEVER apologize for your audition. If you stumbled on words, take a deep breath and try again. If you skipped a line, just keep moving. It's probably not important and better to continue your flow. If you gave a weird read and you want to try it differently, ask if you can have the time to give a variation. I don't need to hear that this is your first audition, but never apologize for your performance. It makes the casting director uncomfortable, it draws more attention to the mistake, and it derails the ability to determine who you are and what you're truly capable of.

The thing is - and this is 100% true - the casting director wants you to do well. No one is rooting for you more, in fact. Mistakes are inevitable and the people we hire fumble all the time. What a director wants to see is how well you deal with it.  

5. If you're going to miss your audition appointment, call and cancel. 

It's rude to waste anyone's time and there are plenty of other people out there who want your spot. Things come up all the time, that's understandable. Even if you can't cancel ahead of time due to an unforeseen emergency, you can send a note afterward apologizing for missing the appointment. Who knows, you may be able to send in a taped audition and all is well. But I can tell you that if you make an audition appointment with Swagger, don't show up and don't call, you will not be getting another audition with us in the future. 

I hope these few tips help you feel a bit more comfortable with your next audition experience. For any actors who are interested in working with Swagger, email with your headshot, resume and contact info to get on the list to hear about our auditions first!

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