Check out the latest film from the ADVANCED ACTING FOR FILM CLASS Production of THE JURY!
The Island of Lost Things (Comedy/Drama)
A man facing foreclosure is haunted by painful, absurd, and comedic memories.
Shooting October 10-13, 2013 in and around Bowling Green, Ohio. This project will be shot on 16mm film. Non-union. No compensation. Travel reimbursement for leads.
Please send H/R to: email@example.com
Ezequiel (Lead Male 30-40)
Lucía (Lead Female 30-40)
Young Ezequiel (Male 7-10)
Grandpa (Male 50+)
Mom (Female 30-50, Voice Role Only)
Extras (Multiple Ages/Sexes)
Extras needed for Draft Day starring Kevin Costner
Costner stars in "Draft Day" as fictional Browns general manager Sonny Weaver Jr., a man charged with resurrecting the once proud franchise, or at least scoring a primo player in the draft.
Remember never pay to get work.
Football player types needed for filming.
Big, bulky guys, who look like football players should send an email to
Include stats, cell, date of birth, name and a PHOTO.
If you have registered with us, you will be considered.
Ever had an audition you knew you aced? The one that was a sure thing? All you had to do was wait for the call from the casting director confirming the booking. But the call never came and you were left wondering what the heck the casting director was looking for. I mean, you're a fantastic actor! Rather than leave you wondering what these crazy casting directors want, we picked the brains of a few on-camera auditioning experts: Meredith Jacobson Marciano, founder of Amerifilm Casting; Peter Kelley, long-time casting director and coach; and Breanna Benjamin, a director, industry veteran, and President of the Creative Talent Company. Here are the top ten things they think you should remember for your next on-camera audition!
Don't worry about the words
Forget memorizing lines. Casting directors don't care about that. Meredith Jacobson Marciano of Amerifilm Casting says, "If it's a first audition, we're surprised if you come in off book." What is expected is that you show the personality and bones of the character. "We know that the actor isn't going to be able to memorize the lines for an audition. We aren't worried," says Breanna Benjamin. "What we're looking for is the character. Encompass those things rather than being intent on the lines."
Ask questions -- but only if you really need to
"When we ask if you have any questions, it's only to help you get clarity if there's something in the sides that's confusing," says Peter Kelley. "Very often the best auditions come from actors who just say 'nope' and dive right in." It is your job to show up knowing all that you can possibly know about the part you are reading for. "I'm not crazy about someone who comes in and asks a million questions because often they could get the answers from their manager or agent," says Meredith Jacobson Marciano. If you're only given sides -- that should be enough. "Find out what you can ahead of time -- be prepared," says Marciano. "You don't know how many people are waiting!"
Listen and react
"The camera loves to watch you listen," says Peter Kelley. "Make the audition about the other person, even if the reader isn't giving you much. Don't check out or wait to act when it's not your line." Don't be afraid to let what is happening sink in a little. "In real life you internalize things," says Breanna Benjamin. "We like to see the actor think and respond. It isn't a matter of clipping off the lines."
Get it right the first time
You're not coming to an on-camera audition to get coached. You are there to blow them away the first time. Come prepared (know who your character is, what you want, etc.) and blow them away. "Someone who just nails it is impressive," says Meredith Jacobson Marciano. "Be on it." The guys in charge might not think you deserve a second chance. "They will think that they just saw your best the first time you did it," says Peter Kelley. "I've seen many theatre actors walk in, fire through a read and be shocked when the only response is: 'Great! Thanks.' That, in my experience, is common. Don't be a second take actor."
If you do get a second chance make the most of it. Casting directors love an actor that can take direction well. They are going to throw things at you to see how skilled you are. "If you can tell an actor to tweak something and they change it to what you want," says Meredith Jacboson Marciano, "it's great." If you don't get any direction -- don't read into it. On-camera casting takes more time than a typical theatre audition. They might be renting the equipment and paying by the hour, or they might have to change tapes, etc. There's a chance they just might be running late.
Know what you look like on the monitor
A skill that always impresses Marciano is when an actor instinctively (or by training) knows how to work the camera. "It's important to see someone who is aware of the camera and knows how to do what they need to do with the camera on them," says Meredith Jacobson Marciano, "Learn how to position your body and face so the best parts are seen in the right way and at the most important times." One actor (who wishes to remain anonymous due to extreme embarrassment) remembers being told by a casting director that she looked like a bobble head doll. In person, her subtle movements were fine, but on film the camera magnified them. She had to learn through practice that some natural movements were too much on tape. Borrow a camcorder and find out what everyone else sees. Just don't be overly critical.
Know where to look
"When you are watching a television show actors are not looking into a camera," says Marciano. You want to connect with something -- but often people in the room with you are walking around or looking at papers. You also don't want to maintain constant eye contact with your scene partner or reader. Let your eyes wander -- a little bit. "Practice finding a focus point just above your eyeline (when you look straight ahead) to drift off to," says Peter Kelly. "You needn't keep an eye-lock on the reader. We often look away while processing things in life, and a second focus, to allow us to watch you think, can be nice during an audition. Just don't look down. Lots of us look down to think."
They are paying attention to you
If you think you're going unnoticed, you are wrong. "When I'm watching an audition I tend to watch the monitor. I'm looking to see how the actor looks on-camera," says Marciano. No matter what happens -- never assume they're ignoring you. Sometimes auditions are filmed and the person who is ultimately responsible for making the final casting call isn't there. What they see might be a tape of your audition. So don't count yourself out if it seems like no one cares about your performance.
Keep the moment going
The casting director wants to see what you look like when you aren't talking. They want to know that you "can stay with it until it's over," says Meredith Jacobson Marciano. When you get on a television show you won't have the option of yelling "cut" -- out loud or internally -- so start practicing now. Stopping the action before you're told annoys everyone. "Often the reader will have the last line and the director is watching your reaction and wants to see how you move on with life at the end of the scene," says Peter Kelley. "It's a real buzz-kill when the actor just kind of stops as soon as they get to the end of their last line."
You're a person first, actor second
"People don't hire actors," says Peter Kelley. "They hire people who can act. When it's close -- and it often is -- sometimes hiring decisions have to do with the person as much as the performance." So what does that mean? "Personality. Personality. Personality," says Breanna Benjamin.
Tiny tidbits of truth from the pros:
Don't be surprised if there isn't a camera -- even if it is for TV!
Be nice to everyone -- the receptionist might be the casting director's sister. The director might look like an intern.
Never complain -- we are in the same air conditioning that you are in.
Never apologize -- we don't care if you're sorry you did a bad read.
Never blame -- the person that didn't give you the script ahead of time might be the person hiring you.
Don't schmooze -- we hate that!
Don't look at us like we're about to perform a root canal -- we're nice people.
Be professional -- after all, it is a job interview.
There are several professional ways to grab the attention of someone who opens self-submission envelopes. A complete answer would fill a book. There are three essentials before a casting office (or agent/manager) will take your self-submission seriously. Let's take a look at two of those essentials today.
First thing they see is your ENVELOPE. As an assistant to a manager I have probably opened three or four hundred headshot envelopes during the past five years.
Here are some examples of how NOT to get your envelope opened. These make a bad impression before they've even seen your cover letter and headshot.
An envelope addressed in pencil, or heavy black felt pen, handwritten illegibly or printed so fancy it looks like Louis XIV channeled it.
Addresses typed on regulation labels in black ink. Simple bold font, size 14 minimum for the larger label. For the smaller return label: Smaller, same style font. I personally like Arial. The Times New Roman is done to death. You also don't want anything too fancy. Arial makes a firm business-like impression. The letters march like little West Pointers, all spiffy and neat.
Incorrect or misspelled names (people and company).
Research everything well enough to know the correct name and spelling.
Sending a request to be considered for xyz TV show when that casting office only casts for commercials. Or sending to a commercial casting office a request to be considered for any appropriate regional theatre role. Not too many casting offices really cast for everything.
Do your homework until you know which offices cast for what. If you are interested in print work, for example, no sense in sending to a casting office that only handles feature films.
Nailing or cementing the envelope flap down so tightly that it takes a champion WWO to open it. I have thrown unopened envelopes in the trash after spending three minutes wrestling with a flap. A casting office weekly receives hundreds, sometimes thousands of submissions envelopes. The harder it is to open an envelope, the more likely it will get thrown out (unopened). Numerous requests from casting offices ask that the submission envelopes not be sealed.
A couple of pieces of Scotch tape (not covering the clip). Or a lightly pasted flap. Self-sticking flaps cause a ruckus also.
COVER LETTER-TYPED, of course. Once you have passed the self-submission envelope test, next comes the COVER LETTER. Here briefly are some simple suggestions.
1. Invest in really handsome top-of-the-line expensive business stationery. WHITE, heavy weight (32 ounces is good), with watermarks.
WHY SPEND THAT EXTRA MONEY? A fine sheet of stationery tells the reader that you have self-respect, that you care enough to want to create a good impression, and that you have good taste. Even if all this is subliminal, still their fingers feel the difference when they touch your cover letter. No, your resume need not be on expensive stationery. Just the cover letter.
Recently I saw a letter written in pencil on lined notebook paper. No headshot. Just a letter in a small plain envelope addressed in pencil. Actually I felt like crying when I read the heartfelt desire of this twelve-year-old from the Southern backwoods. (Perhaps because I too was raised there.) She wanted to be a movie star and make lots of money.
I wrote her that a manager could not represent someone who lived more than an hour from her. But I really wanted to tell her to get an education, prepare for a profession where she could earn a decent living, and to live a normal happy life. Although my sympathy went out to her, I promise you, a white typed beautiful sheet of stationery will create a better impression than a handwritten note in pencil on lined school paper.
2. Design a handsome, simple heading for your handsome stationery. Have your name, Website, e-mail and cell phone info in this heading. No personal phone numbers. No address unless it is a Post Office box.
3. The letter MUST follow the acceptable formal format for a business letter.
4. Type the letter in print large enough to be read in a hurry. I've seen letters that could be read only by an ant wearing bifocals, crawling across the page. And please print dark enough so that we don't need a flashlight to decode the alphabet.
5. Dear Mr. or Ms. is the correct salutation. If you cannot tell the gender from the name, then address the letter "Dear Mr./Ms. Smith": But it's better to call the office and ask if "Avi Smith" is male or female. And keep searching until you find a name to address the letter to. Just "To Whom It May Concern" isn't good enough. If necessary, phone the office and ask to whom the submission envelope should be addressed.
6. Do not be cute, or "hi guy" friendly. Don't even try to be clever. Be simple, be polite. Very simply, state your reason for writing. Always do a spell check. Use correct grammar.
6. KEEP YOUR LETTER SHORT. Do not compete with War and Peace. Remember a lot of information is on the resume. Tell why you are writing. If you have used 12 words in a sentence, rewrite, edit, and revise it until you give the same information in 9 words. Be courteous by recognizing the necessity not to intrude on their time. I have seen lengthy letters used as ideal examples in "How To" theatre books. This is wrong. NO ONE has that kind of time.
A one-sentence introduction [This is being submitted for consideration for an audition for etc.] is essential. Write three short sentences stating your special qualification and a one-sentence conclusion. NO MORE. Have a point and get to it! End with Sincerely, or Yours sincerely, or Very truly yours. These are professional business letters. Follow the code.
7. Do not presume anything. I really dislike "I look forward to meeting you." Do not for one minute think it is a positive upbeat ending. NO. It is presumptuous. It is much more courteous to say that you would like to be considered for an interview. Someone lost a role because, at the end of a fabulous callback, he said, "I look forward to working with you." You cannot make that statement until they have offered you the role. You cannot "look forward to meeting" someone until they have asked you to come in to see them.
People are still judged by their appearance and their language. Have the appearance of your envelope and your letter create great expectations. Have the brief content of your letter fulfill those expectations.
SUMMARY: HOW TO GET ATTENTION:
Present the best you in your envelope's appearance.
Present the best you in your cover letter's appearance and content.
The prospect of presenting an audition monologue can terrify even the most experienced actor. Very few actors look forward to giving their best shot in front of a bunch of critical strangers sitting behind a table. It is simply not natural human activity. But, as we all know, the ability to present a competitive monologue has a direct relationship to the number of times you get cast, especially in stage plays.
The correction to actor nervousness is to commit fully to playing an action in pursuit of an objective. Commit to the given circumstances of the play from which the monologue is taken. However, that is not as easy as it sounds. It is difficult to focus your mind when you are having a panic attack.
One trick that has served me well over the years is to select a monologue in which I am trying to get somebody to do something. I call this a "you-oriented" piece. An "I-oriented" piece, on the other hand, is maybe a poetic memory thing. Tom's lovely final speech in The Glass Menagerie is like that. My experience is that, when nervous, it is very calming to have a clear, almost tangible acting objective. The more obvious the objective is, the better. A monologue is really a duologue, right? And a duologue is a scene. A monologue, in other words, is a scene in which the other person is pretend. Further, a scene is a negotiation. And in any negotiation, there must be a way you can win and a way you can lose. A "you-oriented" monologue sets up a negotiation quickly and easily.
A nervous actor in an audition situation can have a lot of difficulty committing to the given circumstances of the monologue. Instead, his objective becomes: "I want to get through this audition." To understate the case, that is not a good objective. Standing up there and saying the words in the script becomes the action in pursuit of that objective. And the obstacle is fear. Acting is doing. And if what you are doing is trying to get through an audition, then you will not be doing whatever the character you are playing is supposed to be doing.
It is impossible to relax by telling yourself to relax. As soon as you tell yourself to relax, you are going to get more nervous. In order to think about relaxing, you necessarily must first think about how nervous you are. And when you think about being nervous, your brain tends to develop the actor's equivalent of white noise. Many actors go all the way through their monologue listening to white noise. This is why a "you-oriented" monologue selection might help. We all learn as children what is involved in trying to get our own way. A "you-oriented" selection, regardless of the context, feels as comfortable as a well-worn glove.
Now, I am not suggesting that you never try an "I-oriented" monologue. They can be majestic and poetic if done well. They, too, require a provable objective. It just may be a little more difficult to get in touch with that. If you are the enviable kind of actor that does not get nervous with monologues, then by all means take a look at Mary's morphine-induced Act III reverie in Long Day's Journey Into Night, or Edmund's Act IV memories of his time at sea from the same play. This is world-class material, no question about it, and I applaud you for attempting it. But if you grapple with monologue nerves, keep what I am saying here in mind. Look at Starbuck's Act I attempt in The Rainmaker to hustle a group of skeptical farmers. Or Maggie's Act II monologue from Shadow Box in which she tries to get her cancer-ridden husband to come home with her. Those are both "you-oriented".
On a whim, after I completed this newsletter, I typed into Google: "How to Give a Monologue without Being Nervous". Sure enough, there was an e-How link. (The Internet has everything in it. Somebody go tell Screen Actors Guild...) Looks to me like e-How's advice is a good recipe for louder white noise. Take a look.
Stanislavski's groundbreaking acting system, developed from his work in the Moscow Art Theater and acknowledged the world over, found its greatest success in America where its methods have been used for over fifty years by the Actor's Studio in New York. Stanislavski's acclaimed trilogy, continues the total immersion in technique and class scenarios begun in An Actor Prepares. Stanislavski's aim is to help actors fill out their roles to the proportion of whole human beings, "characters who will have the power to move the public to laughter, to tears, to unforgettable emotions."