My Sundays are supposed to be my days off to relax and unwind, but usually end up being the busiest days of my week and this week was no exception. I woke up at six in the morning to finish a three tiered, seventy five serving cake for a 1st birthday party, deliver the cake in Brooklyn at four in the afternoon, totally missed a good friend's bridal shower and then headed to midtown Manhattan for a three and a half hours of auditions for my husband's production company. We met some great talent, some not so great talent and maybe I was just sensitive because I've had a long day but a lot of the stress of the auditions could have been avoided with a little audition etiquette. If you're not an actor, with a little tweaking these principles work the same in job interviews, business conferences & book club meetings...
1. Come prepared: Bring a copy of your headshot, resume & sides even if you're sure we have them. Also, learn as much about the project as you can before hand so you can participate in a discussion & know what you're getting into. There's nothing worse than having someone show up at an audition who knows nothing about the project, having to spend ten minutes explaining it and then finding out they're totally wrong for it.
2. Keep it positive: Don't tell us your pictures or resumes are bad. Let us decide. Don't point out how little experience you have, we can read & we're more focused on your performance. Don't ever bad mouth other productions, people or jobs. That just tells us that we're next for the hatchet job. Never say things like, "I'll blow off my job for this production." we'll think you'll blow us off if you found something you deemed better. And please don't talk incessantly and interrupt us while we're speaking, we'll assume you will do that on the shoot and not call you.
3. Dress appropriately: Do your research. If its an action project be ready to move. If its a sexy role, no sweatpants. Actually don't ever wear sweatpants anywhere. If its professional job wear a suit... You get it.
4. Don't lie on your resume: We'll call you out. If you say you're a champion tap dancer; I want to see a triple time step, you say your fluent in German; well, bust out some Deutsch, Fräulein. And it's not just to bust chops (maybe a little bit) but also to see if your special skill will bring something extra to the project and give us a better idea of who you are. And again keep it positive. If we ask you to a roundhouse kick just do it. Don't preface it with a speech about how you took one stage combat class four years ago and your kick will be "terrible" Let us judge your skill. It's our job.
5. Be nice to everyone: This should be first. You should be nice to everyone anyway but in this case be nice because you never know how large or small anyone's role is in a company. In a small company like ours the responsibility of organizing auditions, scheduling, collecting resumes and calling names usually falls to me. This leads some people to believe I'm an assistant or an intern (both difficult positions worthy of respect) and don't realize how important my opinion is when it comes to casting. I've been snapped at, not had my hand shaken and I always relish the expression of suprise and regret I get when an actor realizes that I may be the deciding factor when final casting choices are made. It's also a big indicator of your character. No one want to spend any length of time with anyone they think will be nice to them only as long as they need something from them. There are plenty of people who were talented, but didn't get called simply because they weren't nice. We have to spend a 10 hour day with you. I don't care if you're the lovechild of Meryl Streep & Denzel Washington in the way of talent. If you're a jerk, we won't call you.
6. Punctuality: If you're going to be late, call or email as soon as you realize you are going to be late.
Not ever being late for appointments should be a given but it does happen from time to time. Call, text or email immediately, even if it's 5 minutes before you're supposed to be there. The less time we spend waiting for you, the better.
And when you arrive don't breeze into room breathlessly and waste more of our time by launching into a fantastic explanation of why you were late. We've heard everything, I've used everything: Late train, sick passengers, crazy cab drivers, power outages, alien abduction & my personal favorite: "I'm in a cab right now!" as I'm searching for my left shoe under the bed. Compose yourself walk into the room calmly, smile, briefly apologize for being late and move on.
7. Show enthusiasm: we're really excited about our project we want to work with people who are too, who can at least act like they are. Make choices during your audition, unless instructed otherwise; use the room. Breathe life into the characters and show us that you've taken the time to digest the material. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
8. Help Us Focus on You: If we're seeing a ton of people in a day and we have to narrow these auditions down to 3 or 4 people help us focus on your performance and not get distracted by things like your ringing cell phone, poor hygiene, crazy outfit or ridiculous make up. You'll be memorable but not in a good way.
9. Relax, Be Yourself & Have Fun: We're a small outfit. We have a tiny crew, tinier budgets, work long hours but we have fun. We want to make sure we work with people who are professional, easy to work with and nice to be around. Making us laugh never hurts, especially during a long casting session.
10. Following up: not a necessity for us but a nice touch. But only follow up once! A simple email saying: thanks for taking the to see me. It was great to meet you" or something just as brief is sufficient. We saw you, we either liked you for the project or we didn't. We'll either call you or we won't. Sending email after email after email is one way to guarantee we won't call you...ever.
Hopefully I've provided some great tips to bring to your next audition or interview & definitely some that I wish I had 100 years ago when I was auditioning. It's always a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of anyone that you're interacting with and it's especially hard for those of us with ADHD. See you on the big screen and don't call me next Sunday because I'll be asleep... oh wait, we're doing second rounds of auditions.
That's All For Now.
Thanks for Tuning in...
Until Next Time..
Keep Adding Bliss