It’s amazing how many actors shoot themselves in the foot even BEFORE they get in the room to read for casting. And when they come in for their audition, they compound it which makes things even worse.
What do I mean?
If you ever sat in the waiting room of a very busy casting office, you will be shocked at what you will see and hear. There are moms trying to psyche out each other by bragging about what their kid just booked. Then there are adult actors telling the room the latest news about the role they are all auditioning for. Others chat about the role and how to play it…as if they had a direct line to the writer and producers.
Why does this go on?
There are many reasons: insecurities, head games and the list could go on and on. But what I find most frustrating to me, is when I’m trying to listen to actors audition and I hear very loud talking or yelling or laughing in the waiting room that just doesn’t stop. I have no idea who is doing it, except when I get a new actor in the room and I don’t hear it anymore, I’ve found him! Needless to say, he’s lost before he’s even opened his mouth!
The second most aggravating moment for me is when an actor walks into the room to audition and the first thing out of his mouth is an apology for not being prepared. But weren’t they just waiting for over a half hour in the waiting room? Why didn’t they take that time to prepare then?
I guess actors think that if they say they are unprepared, that we won’t scrutinize their work as much. Actually, it’s just the opposite. What we think is that if this wasn’t important enough for them to prepare for…can we trust them to be prepared for set if they booked the job?
This last one is a true test of my patience!
The camera is rolling. The reader is feeding the actor the lines. He stops. “Sorry. Can I start again? This is really tough dialogue.” I quietly nod. He begins again. Four lines in…”Oh man. I guess I should have learned the lines better. But they really don’t sound right. Maybe this writer isn’t so good?”
At that point, a quiet, “Thank you” is all I say and eye the reader to escort him out of the room.
Bottom line. Do your homework! It’s your job as an actor to flesh out the story and bring to life the character that the writer has created. Hiding behind apologies, bragging, gossiping, creating a ruckus in the waiting room is only going to guarantee you will never get into my office again.