This week, we’ve invited filmmaker, screenwriter and all-round word-smith Andy Mckendry to shed some light on what filmmakers look for when they are auditioning actors.
Andy’s given us some awesome tips, which will help budding actors everywhere ace auditions and get more work.
WHAT ARE FILMMAKERS LOOKING FOR?
So you’ve got the audition but how do you get the part? We all know it’s not all about credentials or even your acting skills. Some people argue that it’s merely who you know. But what is it that we are looking for when casting actors? Here is a helpful guide to prepare you for that exciting audition you have lined up.
THE LINES AREN’T AS IMPORTANT AS YOU THINK
Of course read your lines, memorise them if you can, but remember there is more to the role than just the dialogue. Often casting directors are looking to see if you understand the personality, and the bones of the character. Make sure you encompass those elements and don’t just focus on the lines!
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY
On camera there are many ways that an actor can convey emotion. The dialogue is only one. In an audition remember to pause, listen, and then react. Don’t rush it; add your own take on the character. You’re not a machine that spouts lines – you are an actor inhabiting a character. Be that character.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
You’ve got the script and the audition but make sure you know as much about the production that you can. You don’t want to be the actor they remember for asking loads of questions. Find out what you can before hand and make sure you’re well prepared.
DO IT RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX
You’re a professional. You can’t turn up to work and not be able to do the job at hand. Practice before hand and make sure when you are there in the audition you get it right first time. They are looking to see if you are reliable. They are also looking to see if you are bothered enough to prepare. Be prepared!
SMILE, YOU’RE ON CAMERA
Often you’ll be filmed in an audition. They’ll probably have a look over the footage when they are making their final decision on a role. Know what you look like on camera before you go to an audition. The camera responds differently to an audience so make sure you are reacting to the camera. Don’t direct your acting at the casting team if they are filming you. Simply act to the camera and know what you look like on it.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF ACTING
Seems straightforward enough right? If you are in the middle of an audition and you feel that you should keep the moment going do so. They are assessing you as an actor in many ways. A real actor will know the moments that deserve some time. Don’t cut your performance short – show them what you got!
YOU’RE AN ACTOR SECOND
And a person first so allow them to see your personality when you can. Be friendly and affable. They are looking for someone to work with so they want some one that is personable. Be yourself and hopefully the role will suit you!
A COUPLE OF HELPFUL THOUGHTS…
There may not be a camera so don’t panic if there isn’t.
Always be friendly – you never know who the receptionist knows!
Don’t complain, apologise, or place blame – just do your job regardless of the conditions.
The casting team are people too so treat them as such – don’t be scared of them.
Remember it is a job interview so be professional, show up on time and do your job as well as you can.
Hopefully this list has been useful and has allowed you to consider the casting process a little more closely. Just be yourself, you got the audition so give it your all. You never know how it will go!
Good luck and happy auditioning.
I am a writer based in Falmouth studying an MA in Professional Writing. I write screenplays and moonlight as a copywriter and currently I’m developing a TV drama series. I watch all the films and TV I can get my hands on, read obscure books, and turn it all into my own stories. It’s what writers do.
You can read more about me here