Reference Point

While preparing for the actual audition, you will now have a subject word to refer to right on your page. While you're working on the scene, you can actually just glance down at your subject word to help remind yourself of the actual subject matter that you are dealing with while you are getting comfortable with the dialogue. The more times you practice, the more comfortable you will become with using the word, and the more comfortable you will become dealing with the subject that your...

Acting is a Craft

Acting is a craft one that must be studied, practiced, and developed. It is an ongoing process of learning and maturing. I believe that the actor who understands the craft is better prepared to audition than the actor who is only looking to become famous and doesn't take the craft seriously. A first audition is an opportunity to display your potential in a role, to show how you might play that character if given the opportunity to apply your craft. So, the audition becomes about an actor's...

Auditioning and Performing Are Two Different Things

You must acknowledge that the way you actually audition for a role is not necessarily the way you would perform the role, if you were lucky enough to book the role. If you can understand that concept, then you must bear that in mind as you prepare for the audition. Don't think in terms of a finished polished product. Don't visualize yourself doing the audition scene on a set. Visualize yourself doing it in a casting office. When you are preparing for your audition,...

Callback Memorization

In regards to memorization, I feel that at the callback stage you should be 90 percent off book, but still using the sides during the audition. In the best-case scenario, I envision an actor who is memorized, but is also turning the pages during the audition, almost turning the pages without looking directly at them. (The focus is on the reader.) If the actor then loses his place or his focus, I would like to think that he would be able to look down at his sides and be in the vicinity of the...

Choose Obtainable Goals

You must make choices that serve the audition sides, but that are still suitable to the environment. For example, if the scene calls for the characters to embrace, you must figure out a way to emotionally achieve the intent of that moment rather than actually achieve the physical moment. I am not going to get up for the embrace, and I shouldn't. If you have prepared the audition with the hope of the embrace taking place, then you will be thrown off when the reader does not do that. The same...

Determining the Feeling Words

In our scene, we have determined that the first subject word is food. When determining the feeling word, ask, How does my character feel overall about the subject in that beat If I am the Man, I could justify that I feel angry in the first beat because the Woman is being indecisive about where she wants to eat or what she wants to eat. This could make my character angry. Since it is your choice, you can even go the opposite way. You can determine that the Man is happy. Perhaps he is happy...

Dont Anticipate

The key to thinking and feeling on the lines is to not rush your response and to not anticipate the reader's lines coming toward you. You want to keep the energy up, but not at the expense of the scene going stale. You want to actively and emotionally keep the energy in line with listening and responding. The metaphorical ball that you are playing catch with is juggled for the split second that you are listening, then tossed back on your reaction. Listen, react. Listen, feel, and react. Listen,...

Dont Overthink the Beat Changes

Now I am going to give you an example of an actor who is thinking too much about the beats and is including many more beats than necessary. If you take the first beat the one that deals with dinner and food you could argue that every time a character introduces a new place to eat, it could be a beat change. If an actor wanted to make this choice, his sides might contain beat changes similar to those indicated below. In my opinion, this would only create a choppy and overanalyzed audition. This...

Entitled to Make a Living

As you keep your skill level new and fresh, you also accept the fact that you have a right to make a living by using your skills. Most people cannot make a living in the theatre, so if you don't come from money and most of us don't then you determine what your approach will be to achieving audition opportunities that will lead to paying jobs in television and film. It is hard to make a living as an artist, so one must take the art and try to make a living from it. Some actors do this in daytime...

Example Subject Words

For example, in the first beat, the subject word could be food. It could also be restaurant it could even be sushi. Any word that connects to that beat and what the characters are dealing with. My preference is the word food. You can choose any word mentioned or come up with your own word. That is the point this is for you to decide. The words should cover broad thoughts, but broad thoughts are just fine for the subject word and the first audition. In the second beat, my word would be bowling....

Free Yourself by Removing Expectations

If you can accept and apply this philosophy that you are not going to get the job you will actually be free to audition better. If you remove expectations, you will learn to enjoy the process and have fun. Actors who have fun in an audition are more likely to succeed and be remembered. As you continue to have more auditions, you will continue to develop without any greater expectations than to enjoy the experience, show potential, and develop the casting director-actor relationship. Now,...

High Stakes and Urgency

I love it because I think it is so vital to every audition, and it is certainly evident in the daytime television audition. Earlier, I mentioned that you probably had some teacher or director mention to you that you need to break a scene down into beats, but he or she probably never clearly explained how to do that. Well, I feel the same way about high stakes and urgency. Chances are, you have been in a scene study class or theatrical production where the...

How to Break It Down

If you find yourself in this situation, get a pencil, read the scene, and then concentrate solely on beats, the major beat change, and the major objective. You will, of course, quickly make decisions about the backstory and the relationship in the scene. By doing the beats, you will give yourself the beat change marks to drive the scene and give yourself structure. By determining the major objective, you will have made a decision as to what your character wants from the scene, and by marking...

Justify Your Choices

The key to this is that you must be able to justify your choices. All of the examples given are playable words. Every actor has the ability to play the feelings of being angry, frustrated, or happy. To reiterate, the actors wouldn't necessarily play being happy for the entire beat, because the dialogue may not support those feelings, but you certainly can start being happy at the beginning of the beat, and let the feeling of being happy slowly dissipate as you realize there is indecision in...

Keep It Simple

The trick to the major objective is to realize the answers are in the script. You just have to find the right questions. Since the major beat change and the major objective are connected, and you have already determined what the major beat change is, just ask yourself, What could my character want, based on the major beat change moment Keep it simple and direct. Do not make it complicated by including things that are not in the script. If, while preparing an audition for either of these...

Literal Sincere Feeling Lines

This does lead me to talk about something I call literal sincere-feeling lines. Every audition scene will have dialogue that has sincere-feeling words in it. My direction for those lines is for you to play them for the literal meaning. Most actors just tend to throw these lines away and make them insignificant. Sometimes the actor is not making this mistake by choice, but rather out of ignorance. The following beat will give some obvious examples to work with. A Guy and a Girl who recently...

Look Yourself in the Mirror

One of the last bits of advice I can give you about being an actor in this industry is to encourage you to look yourself in the mirror. Not only at yourself, physically, on the outside, but internally, both spiritually and mentally. Look at yourself and ask, What kind of an actor am I This is a great question if you can answer it honestly. Every young actor wants to be the next Julia Roberts, or Tom Cruise, or Brad Pitt, but, for most, that will not be the case. Everyone wants to be the...

Major Objective

Now that you have the beats broken down, and you've chosen the subject and feeling words, and you've found the major beat change, you must now determine the major objective. The major objective is simple and vital to a successful audition. The major objective is what your character wants to achieve from the audition scene. It is what your character determines she wants before the scene starts. The major objective is the thing that propels the character's journey. That objective and that need to...

Make Specific Choices and Fill in All the Blanks

This section could also be called Asking Yourself the Right Questions and Finding the Answers. The first thing you should do after reading the audition sides is to answer any questions that are not answered through the dialogue of the scene. Most audition scenes don't give much more information than a setting. I honestly feel like the actor should just create the backstory of the characters in the scene. There is no right answer here. Ask yourself, Who are these people Ask yourself what has...

Natural and Conversational Tone

In an audition, you should always be speaking in a natural and conversational tone. You never want to project your voice in a television audition, or speak at a volume that is not natural to the space that you are in. Many theatre actors who are not used to the television audition will have a hard time making this adjustment, because they are used to performing on a stage where projection is required. Singers will have the same challenge, as sometimes their voices are naturally much louder and...

No Word Is More Important than Any Other Word

Also, when you are speaking in a conversational and natural tone, you want to make sure that you do not stress any words. What I mean by this is that in any sentence of dialogue, you must give equal emphasis to all the words of a sentence, and not indicate that any one word is the most important. Your acting and feeling choices should imbue what you are saying with your feelings, rather than you as an actor forcing that. For example, a line of dialogue, such as, I love you, should just be said...

On the Clock

Now I want to start getting you ready for your first audition for a role by getting you disciplined in your preparation time and your technique. I like to use the term On the Clock in reference to the amount of time you have to apply your audition technique while preparing for the audition. If you are informed that you have an audition at my office at 12 00 P.M. tomorrow and it is 12 00 p.m. today, you are On the Clock for twenty-four hours. If you received the same call at 6 00 p.m., you would...

Opening Line

The opening line of an audition is very important, and as an actor you should remind yourself of this. In a play, the first time a character is seen is very important for the audience. In a play, the character's first entrance is vital to the audience for getting a sense of who the character is, whether he enters with dialogue or in silence. In an audition, the first line is your entrance. Your first line of an audition is just as good as an entrance in a play. Now that you know that the first...

Passion

A note on passion You must be aware of your level of passion, both as a character and as an actor. As an actor, you must find the strength to persevere in your career as a character, you must find the strength to pursue your major objective. Passion is a very appealing characteristic for actors to have. That passion comes from the work, and you must bring it to the work. In your career, you will audition more than you will act, so be passionate about the process. Be excited for the opportunity,...

Remind Yourself of the Major Objective before You Begin

The major objective is a wonderful preparation tool for the actual audition. When you are in the waiting room, or right before you start your audition, you should remind yourself of what your major objective is. If you remind yourself of what your major objective is, and then see your first subject word and feeling word, you will be ready to start your audition. If you have fully embodied your choices when you were rehearsing, then they will come back to you the moment before you start reading.

Screen Test Memorization

I hope this does not need to be written, but you should be completely memorized for the screen test. This should be letter-perfect. You should not change any dialogue or improvise in the scene. Remember that the writers will see the test. I don't think you want to give them the impression that you are an actor who freely changes the lines of a scene to suit your own needs. Also, you must be able to project to the decision-makers that you are someone who handles memorization easily, because in...

Spatial Relationship

In an audition, your volume should only be loud enough to be heard by the reader and by anyone else who is in the room observing you. You should judge your volume and projection by realizing the relationship you and the reader have as it relates to space. I call this the spatial relationship. This is very simple. If you are two feet away from the reader, then you speak in a volume that is loud enough to be heard by someone two feet away no more and no less. If the reader is seven feet away from...

Summary So

If you look at my sides, they are completely written on and marked up. This is certainly done on purpose, with many objectives. What I am trying to create is a work-study sheet, perhaps even a cheat sheet the CliffsNotes of auditioning. My sides now tell me how I, as an actor, should act when auditioning for this role. I know this just by looking at my sides. I have subject words that tell me what I am talking about in every beat. I have feeling words that tell me how I feel in every beat. I...

Take the Work and Get the Experience

Without any doubt or hesitation, I recommend that any young actor who wants to break into television should do background and under-5 work on a daytime television show. Let me explain. There are four daytime shows in New York, and five in Los Angeles. The sets on a daytime television program are intimate and small. If you are a smart actor, you will take advantage of the opportunity to learn on the set while doing background work. You may be a patron in our restaurant scene, and sitting at the...

Talent Is a Guarantee of Nothing

Unfortunately, in this business, talent is a guarantee of nothing. If you divide all of the people who want to be actors into three groups, you would have the most talented people in one group (this would include actors whose skill comes naturally and have now honed their skill by studying), the middle group would include actors who have average talent and skill and have to work that much harder at it to stay fresh, and the third group would include people who lack talent completely (no matter...

The Audition Scene Is Important

What high stakes and urgency means to me is that you must recognize that the audition scene is the most important moment in your character's life, and you must recognize that the moment is happening right now. (When I say moment, I mean the scene.) Three pages, five pages, ten pages, it doesn't matter this event is the most important event that your character is going through. If you recognize the importance of it, it will help you have a better understanding of the level of passion and urgency...

The Business Side

There are some business specifics that must be worked out before the test. Once I have contacted the actors we have decided to screen test for the role, our business affairs department negotiates a contract with their agents. Their salary over the course of their contract is determined before the test. At Guiding Light, we have a three-year contract commitment. This basically means that the actor is committed to the program for three years and is not allowed to do any other projects without the...

The Core Truth

All people have inside them what I like to call a core truth. The core truth is the internal emotional connection you have to life. It is the morality that guides you through life. It is what dictates your own behavior. Some people are ambitious people by nature. Others are caring, and still others are mean. When I was a theatre director, I would instruct the ensemble to try to determine what the core truth of their character was. If you can get a grasp of the drive behind your characters, you...

The Decision Makers

Once the screen test is complete, a decision has to be made. That decision is made by the executives of all of the companies involved with the production. You, the actor, have no control over their decision-making process, except for the work that you did, which is now being presented to them by videotape. Several video copies of the test scene are made and distributed to the executives who make this ultimate decision. Guiding Light is produced by Procter & Gamble Productions. There is an...

The Role is Up for Grabs

If Bill R. wasn't in the screen test, I am sure someone else would have gotten the role. This is just the way it is and how it works. If this role was truly meant for Bill R., we would have had the original screen test without him and perhaps not made a decision on any of the actors in that first group. This would have initiated a second screen test. That second screen test would be comprised of new actors whom I would have auditioned, and certainly would have included the Los Angeles-based...

The Screen Test

The hope of being in any callback situation is that you will make it to the next level and be chosen for a screen test for that role. As you get closer to the ultimate achievement of booking the job, there is more pressure on you to succeed and display yourself as an actor. If you are fortunate enough to be chosen for a screen test, you must work even harder to present yourself as a more complete actor. If the first audition is about showing your potential for the role, and the callback is...

Theatrical Preparation versus Audition Preparation

The rehearsal of a play is where the choices are made, worked on, developed, and changed. The performances are where the cast can let it happen, to let themselves be available to the unknown, relying on the structure of the show's blocking, its technical aspects, and the acting collaboration they worked through in rehearsals. They are prepared for it, but are still looking for something new to happen every night. In the audition, you must know what you want to happen and try to make those...

Think and Feel on the Lines

This chapter should really be called Think and Feel on the Lines, Not Around Them. This is because the around part is the trap that the most actors fall into. To clarify The things I want you to concentrate on are thinking about what the other character is saying to you, expressing feelings about what is being said, and reacting to what is being said while saying your lines to the reader. The key to this is tempo. This is a wonderful accompaniment to Dictate the Pace. The ability to think and...

Under Work

I have the same feeling toward doing under-5 roles. You should only be so lucky to have five lines on a television show. You get paid, you get the experience, and you start building a career. I am not saying that this is a career, but it is the start of a career. Many actors think there is some stigma attached to doing an under-5, and I think this is strictly because it has the term under-5 connected to it. There isn't a young actor out there who would turn down a line or two on Law & Order...

Use the Beat Changes

The moments where you can take a bit longer to think and feel before reacting are at the beat changes. As mentioned earlier, the beat changes are like gates at a tollbooth. Let the moment actively pass, then react to the new topic that was introduced or change the subject yourself, if that is how the scene is written. The major beat change would represent the longest active pause, the deepest place of thoughts and feelings without dialogue. This would be the most important exchange of...

You Are Protecting a Career You Do Not Have

Now, I know what you are thinking, because I have heard it a hundred times before. You are saying to yourself that if you do background and under-5 work, you will not be considered for bigger parts. My answer to Under-5 and Background Work in Daytime Television 159 that line of thinking is that you are protecting a career you do not have yet. Don't worry about the what-ifs deal with the now. The truth of the matter is that you are not being considered for those roles because you are not ready...

You Have to Pop off the Screen

One trick to doing an on-camera audition is to remember to drive the audition scene. For some reason, and some people disagree with me on this, I find that an actor reading on tape actually plays back slower than it seemed to play in real time in the room. Technology actually gets in the way of pacing. You always want to pop off the screen for those who are watching you, so driving the scene is a suitable way to fight the technical playback. This could be my perception of things, but it still...

You Never Know What Can Happen

I am also a strong believer that you have to be involved to make things happen. You never know what other actors you meet in the dressing rooms are doing in their own careers. Perhaps some actor is starting a theatre company and asks you to be a part of it. Another tells you about an open call for a student film, and perhaps another is directing a play reading and wants you involved. The point is, those things can't happen if you are not there. It is very simple to me Would you rather be on a...

Dictate the Pace

As an actor, you believe that you are powerless and helpless when you enter the audition room. However, there is a very simple way for you to empower yourself, and that is through the pacing of the scene. Yes, you are powerless to make decisions for the decision-makers, but you can control two key factors. One, you can control the On the Clock time your own discipline to prepare and two, you can dictate the pace of the actual audition. From the moment the casting director says, Whenever you are...

The Art of Auditioning

Copyright under Berne Copyright Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, and Pan-American Copyright Convention. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher. An imprint of Allworth Communications, Inc. 10 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010 Cover design by Derek Bacchus Page composition typography...

Audition Philosophy

Here's my thinking, my audition philosophy. It is very simple. As actors, you must accept the fact that you are not going to book the job that you are auditioning for. Your actual chances of getting that particular role are slim to none. Now, I am not trying to set up a defeatist attitude, but rather a realistic one. What I would really like to accomplish with this philosophy is to help you avoid expectations for positive results and feedback. Actors put too much pressure on themselves...

Feeling Word

Now that you have one subject word per beat, you must determine the feeling word per beat. What is the feeling word Like the subject word, the feeling word is the word that gives you an association for the beat, but in this case, it states the overall emotions of the beat. It is the word that best describes the character's feelings on the subject during the beat. Once again, there are no right or wrong answers, just choices. I can't stress this enough. This is not a test or a scavenger hunt for...

Avoid Subtext

There is a place for subtext in an audition, but I believe that actors need to be careful of overusing it. Because I am fearful of overuse, my advice for all actors is to avoid subtext during their first audition for a specific role. In the chapter about the major objective, I explained that one of the advantages of the major objective is that it creates a natural level of subtext. However, that subtext is directly related to what the character wants, and its use is subtle. Sometimes even the...

Your Callback Audition for a New Role

Earlier, I mentioned that the key to a successful career and auditioning is the recognition that it is a long, ongoing process. You need to remember this as a motto for enduring success. Most actors do not receive a callback for the first role they audition for with a specific casting director, but instead receive one in the form of a new opportunity for a completely different role. When the casting director has a new role two weeks, two months, two years down the...

How to Remind Yourself

There are two pieces of advice that I have for dealing with breathing. One is to arrive at your audition at least twenty minutes before you're scheduled to actually audition. If you arrive early, you can sit, relax, refresh yourself on your choices, and take the time to acknowledge where your breathing is. Life is hard enough, and it makes us put up natural defense mechanisms to close off the outside world. Actors rushing around New York City are rushing around not breathing because if they...

Major Objective Creates a Natural Level of Subtext

This is a little advanced, but I am going to write it here anyway. An additional benefit to the major objective is that it creates a natural level of subtext. If the Woman acknowledges that her major objective is to confront her husband, then all of the beats will be flavored with that understanding. For example, the Man wants to go to dinner and his wife does not. Perhaps she does not want to go to dinner because she feels she may not be able to achieve her major objective at dinner...

Spontaneity and Listening

After the application of an audition technique, after all the work during the On the Clock phase of preparation, after all the memorization, and after the choices you have embodied, you still need your audition to be fresh. This is difficult. If you have worked on a play, you will know that it is almost inevitable that, at some point during the rehearsal process, the company hits a wall everyone's choices seem stale, and the energy of the work seems to be dulled. This is natural, and easily...

Sample Workbook Submission

Below, please find an example of how an actress could fill out the workbook forms if she had an audition for the woman in the audition scene used throughout this book ADDRESS OF AUDITION 44th Street, New York, NY 1. Did you break the scene down into beats Yes. 2. How many beat changes did you have Three. 3. Do you feel like you identified all of the beat changes Yes. 4. Do you feel like you inserted too many beat changes No. I feel confident that I identified all of the beat changes. If I had...

Pick up Your Cues

A technical answer to how to dictate the scene's pace would be that you must drive the scene by picking up your cues. Don't allow a significant amount of dead air between the reader's line and your own. A great metaphor for this is playing catch with the reader. This is a basic acting exercise done in most beginning acting classes, where the person who has the first line in the scene begins with a ball in her hand. When she says her line, she tosses the ball to her scene partner. The same game...

Significance of the Major Beat Change

There are several significant reasons for locating the major beat change. The first, and most important, is how it affects the acting component. Typically, in the real world at my office, an audition would not be going well, when all of a sudden something special would happen. There would be a very clear moment that would stand out and grab my attention. This was usually a very subtle moment. However, in the subtleness of the moment, I would be moved, and the actor would suddenly be extremely...

Dont Forget to Breathe

Many young actors make the mistake of forgetting to do something in their auditions that we do every minute of every day breathe. Many actors forget to breathe. They don't pass out from this, but many simply do not regulate their breathing properly for an audition. This is directly related to nerves and vulnerability. Oxygen carries emotions in it. If you ever watch anyone who is very emotional, weeping and sobbing, she does not really crescendo her emotions until she starts to take deep...

An Audition is Not a Performance

It is not a mini-performance, either. A performance is the furthest thing from what an audition should be. It is also not a scene or a workshop opportunity. It is not class. It is a business interview where actors are going to be evaluated for their acting talent and their appropriateness for a given character. In my opinion, most actors come to an audition with the idea that they have to put on a performance. This is not the best approach, because it is nearly...

Building a Relationship with the Casting Director

As a professional actor, you must develop relationships with the casting directors who give you your auditions. The relationship with a casting director begins with your first audition and is then measured by the amount of actual return auditions you have for that same casting director. This relationship is strictly a business relationship. It is vital for an actor, no matter what coast he is on, to learn which casting directors are working at which offices on that coast. You must then start to...

Daniel Cosgrove

Daniel Cosgrove (DC) plays the role ofBill Lewis on Guiding Light. Previous credits include Matt Durning on Beverly Hills, 90210, Scott Chandler on All My Children, and Richard Bagg in National Lampoon's Van Wilder. RD How did you get started as an actor DC At the end of high school, I started looking into colleges that had good theatre programs, and in my second semester I took an improvisational technique class, and that is when I knew I fell in love with it. After that, I did a one-act play,...

Charm Personality and Passion

I mentioned earlier that at the basic level in auditioning, regardless of technique and acting ability, casting directors are looking for charming, personable, and passionate people. I would simply like to add that this too is part of your technique. When you enter an audition, I stress that you should have a plan. Part of your plan is to display the choices you made in your preparation time. In addition to that, you must remind yourself of your own level of charm and passion. Everyone has a...

Truth in Numbers

The basis for this philosophy is rooted in a numbers game. Here is some reality for you to better understand my thinking. When I have a contract role to fill on Guiding Light, I personally audition between three hundred and five hundred actors for that role. As many as five hundred Only one actor can actually book that job just one. What are the odds that you will be the one actor out of the five hundred that auditions to actually get the job What are the odds that you are physically what I am...

Casting Directors Process

My process begins when the executive producer tells me we are adding a new character to the show. Sometimes it isn't a new character, but a character who has been on the show before, who is now coming back played by a different actor. Sometimes a plot line in a daytime television show will require that a young character become older, and we need to cast a new, older actor to play that role. Regardless of the scenario, the process for me as a casting director is the same. I receive a character...

Agent and Manager Interviews

Although this book is about auditioning and the relationship to the casting director, I thought it might be interesting for you to hear the opinions of some talent agents and managers and learn what their take is on the subject of auditioning and on the relationship with the casting director. I am also assuming that many young actors reading this book might be without representation, and it has been my experience that those actors without representation are consumed with the notion of trying to...

Beats and Beat Changes

The first thing you do once you get your sides is read the sides. Sound pretty simple Next thing you do is break the scene into beats. What are beats I mean, what really are the beats of a scene If you have taken any acting class, enrolled in any Acting 101 in college, or performed in a play, you had some teacher or director somewhere say, Break the scene down into beats. You nodded your head like you knew what the teacher was talking about, but you really didn't. This isn't your fault, though....

Asking Questions

Before I start this section, I want to be clear Every actor who has an audition should and must feel confident that he has enough answers to any lingering questions he may have about the sides and the character. I like to make the actors feel comfortable before their audition and will usually ask a few conversational questions to relax the actor and to get to know him. However, as a casting director in the middle of hundreds of auditions, I prefer that actors not have any questions to ask about...

Beat Changes Are in the Script

Now, something that is very important in understanding and determining the beats of a scene is to acknowledge that the beat changes are in the script. The beat changes are not about your character. What I mean by that is, your character in your audition does not always change the beat. Yes, your character can change a beat, but the other character in the audition scene can change the subject too. In essence, the writer has determined the beats you just have to identify them. This is one of the...

Major Objective and Major Beat Change Are Connected

The major beat change is the introduction of the most important information in the scene. The major objective is of equal importance. Knowing this will help you create a wonderful acting moment at the major beat change. The major beat change is the moment where the character either achieves or does not achieve her major objective. I mentioned earlier that the major beat change was the place where the information that most affects your character is introduced. It would stand to reason that, if...

Mary Clay Boland

Mary Clay Boland MCB is the Emmy-nominated casting director for the daytime television program As the World Turns. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in actors when they are auditioning MCB I am looking for a great look, someone appealing and charismatic and charming. I also look for intelligence and training. The look varies with the role. I also want an actor who makes choices and understands the character and what his motivations are. RD How important is it...

Marnie Saitta

Marnie Saitta MS is the casting director for the daytime television program The Young and the Restless. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in an actor when he is auditioning MS Confidence and commitment. The ability to be confident in the choices and the work he has done in the development of his character, and the commitment to follow through on those choices, really set actors apart. RD How important is it for you to see that an actor has clearly prepared for...

Jordi Vilasuso

Jordi Vilasuso JV received an Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Daytime Drama Series for his role as Tony Santos on Guiding Light. His other credits include the pilot No Place Like Home for the Fox Network. RD How did you get started as an actor JV In the theatre. I started when I was young. It was my dream to see myself on stage or on the screen. I started with my junior high school drama club. My background is strong in the theatre but I eventually got my headshots done and started...

Sit or Stand Its Your Choice

I feel that the best auditions are when the actor sits or stands. It doesn't matter which one. My preference is that the actor chooses whatever makes her feel the most comfortable. Actors constantly ask me what my preference is. My preference is that you feel comfortable in the audition, and unless I have some specific reason why I would want you to sit or stand, you should just do the one you want. I certainly will ask an actor to do it the opposite way if I like her first...

Negative Use of Subtext

The trap that most actors will fall into with the use of subtext is on specific lines. In beat number one, the Woman has a line that reads, I am not in the mood for Italian food. That is a simple line in response to a direct question asked by the Man Do you want Italian food Actors should always play the literal meaning of the line and no more. When the Woman responds, I am not in the mood for Italian food, it is an honest evaluation of her hunger. It should not be interpreted as a loaded,...

Dont Project

You never want to project above the reader's head and ignore the distance that you are from the reader. So, if the reader is two feet away from you and you are projecting to someone who is seven feet away, then you are really projecting the dialogue of the scene over and beyond what is required in that space. This is when an actor will be accused of being theatrical, since the casting director will envision him on a stage because he is not making any adjustments to the person in front of him in...

Dont Blame the Reader

The hope is that the reader will follow your lead. If the reader is a good reader or casting director, then she will instinctively do this. If she is not, you will have to work harder in the actual reading, but can still accomplish this goal. I promise you that it will be different from your preparation at home, but that is why I stressed earlier that this is an audition and not a performance. You cannot possibly know in advance the tempo that the reader will take on. So, don't leave yourself...

Rhonda Price

Rhonda Price RP is the Senior Vice President of Talent at the Gersh Agency in New York. RD How important do you feel it is for your clients to have a solid audition technique RP For the most part, I find this is extremely important. An actor has to be able to perform at a certain level in a room to get the job, especially as the stakes get higher with major feature film parts, television leads, and coveted theatre parts. If one is nervous or feeling blocked, technique gives one the added...

Major Beat Change

You've broken the sides into beats and have indicated all of your beat changes. You now have to determine what the major beat change is. The major beat change is the most important introduction of information in a scene. It is this information that has the greatest effect upon your character. There is only one major beat change in an audition scene. It is your job to determine which beat change is the major beat change. There are two basic principles to determining...

Aubrey Dollar

Aubrey Dollar AD , until recently, played the role of Marina Cooper on Guiding Light. Her other credits include the pilot Point Pleasant for the Fox Network. RD How did you get started as an actor AD My mom was an actor when I was growing up, so I would go to auditions with her, and then I started doing theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I grew up. RD How do you prepare for your auditions AD I think 95 percent of auditioning, because auditioning is very different from actually doing the...

Jill McGrath

Jill McGrath JM is a talent agent in the theatrical division at the Abrams Artists Agency in New York. RD How important do you feel it is for your clients to have a solid audition technique JM I think it is very important for my clients to have a solid audition technique. Often, an actor is only given five minutes when auditioning for a role. Technique creates focus and the ability to combat nerves, which makes your chances of booking the job that much greater. RD What is the single most...

Andra Reeve Rabb

Andra Reeve-Rabb ARR is the Director of Primetime Casting at CBS in New York. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in an actor when he is auditioning ARR The ability to come in with choices made for the character, but then being ready to throw the homework out and being able to take direction on the spot. RD How important is it for you to see that an actor has clearly prepared for his audition ARR It's everything I feel that it is incredibly important for an...

No Indecisive Feelings

What I really like about the activeness of the feeling word is that it forces you to play some decisive feelings. By finding the word that works best for you, you force yourself not to play anything nonchalant or middle-of-the-road. You cannot go into an audition with the attitude that your character does not know how she feels about the subject in any given beat. The technique forces you to make choices once you absorb those choices, you have something to do, and feel, and be. You are not in...