5 Tips Your Audition Reader DESPERATELY Wants You to Know

Guys…I gotta tell you about last week. I had my first stint as an audition reader, and honestly, it kind of blew my mind. I highly encourage you to find a way to do it sometime because it is an EDUCATION. I could probably write about 5 separate blog posts about what I experienced, but I’m short on time so I’m going to distill it into the the 5 lessons that hit me the hardest.

1. ANSWER THE QUESTION YOU’RE ASKED.  NOT THE QUESTION YOU THINK THEY MEANT TO ASK.

I know—when you’ve got that adrenaline pumping it can be really hard to take a breath and listen. But fight the urge to game out why the creative team is asking you a question and just answer the question.  Almost every person who got asked, “What else is in your book?” provided one option.  They answered, “I have song A? That’s contemporary. Does that work?” The CD would cheerfully repeat, “What else is in your book? I want to know my options.” 9 times out of 10 they were given another single song option.

It was like pulling teeth. The actors were working waaaaay too hard.  The casting director simply wanted to know what else was in their book.  Sometimes because they needed to hear something else for the specific show “Actor A” had been called in for, sometimes because they realized “Actor A” might be good for a totally separate project, sometimes just because they were curious about “Actor A” and figured that question was a good conversation starter.

Watching this happen over and over and over again was painful.  (And it was particularly painful because I know I’ve done it myself.)

Trust that the casting director knows what they’re doing.

If they ask what’s in your book, just tell them what’s in your book.

Which leads me to the next tip…

2. YOUR AUDITION BOOK NEEDS A TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Even better than listing off what’s in your book, show them a copy of your table of contents. Your time in the room is so precious, don’t spend it behind the piano frantically flipping though your book and explaining what everything is.

Hand them your table of contents, get out of your own way, and let them decide.

**IMPORTANT CAVEAT**

If it’s in your book, it’s fair game at an audition.  If it’s a “work-in-progress” it belongs in a different binder. If you only have 3 songs you truly feel comfortable delivering in an audition room, it might be time to overhaul your audition book.

(Psssst! You can do that by booking a rep coaching here!)

3. IT’S TOTALLY COOL TO ASK A QUESTION ABOUT THE SIDES! BUT MAKE IT SPECIFIC.

When you ask an intelligent question about the sides, you look like a smart actor who knows how to set themselves up for success! Casting directors will never mind you asking a specific question like: “This scene feels like it’s written in a heightened melodramatic style. Is that right, or are you looking for a naturalistic take?”

But don’t ask a question just for the sake of asking a question.  Asking, “Anything I need to know about this scene?” isn’t particularly helpful.  And from a casting perspective, if there was anything they thought you needed to know, they would have already told you.

Ask your questions, but keep it specific.

4. FIGHT THE URGE TO TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER.

If it’s super hot out, or it’s raining cats and dogs, they’ve heard about it.

This isn’t a big deal, but it was definitely noticeable by the end of the day. Don’t panic.  No one’s going to dock you points for mentioning the weather—just be aware that the thirty people before you probably did as well.  As far as small talk goes, you can probably do better. 

5. APPLY THE ADJUSTMENT ROUGHLY 30% MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED TO.

Getting an adjustment in the room is always a good thing! You would not be getting a redirect if the person behind the table didn’t see potential.  But it’s such a disappointment when an actor is given an adjustment and then they don’t take it. Or when it takes 3 adjustments for them to implement the note all the way.

And the thing that really kills me—I can tell, most the time, the actors think they are taking the note!

Make a bigger adjustment. I promise you can go at least 30% further with it. I didn’t ONCE see an actor take an adjustment too much.

And, consider this: half the time you’re asked to do a scene differently, it’s not because you did it wrong the first time, it’s just because casting wants to see if you can take direction.

They want to hand you over to the director knowing that you can take a note!

So go ahead, and TAKE THE DARN NOTE.

...Too harsh?

Look, I get it. I know this is all waaaaaaaay easier said than done.  I’m sure I have personally made all five of these mistakes. (Some multiple times.) All we can do is try to up our awareness and do better next time.

Wishing you many broken legs as always!

Much love,

Sara

 


Sara Glancy is an NYC actor and the founder of Audition Rep Matchmaker, a service that helps match actors with the audition materials that will book them jobs.

Have a hole in your audition book?!

Download your free copy of Audition Rep Matchmaker's ULTIMATE Audition book checklist here!

Originally published on saraglancy.wordpress.com on July 23rd, 2018.  Bio photo by Jessica Osber.

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