by Casting Director, Laurie Records
…place blame for a bad read.
You finally get the audition… you finally get the callback… even if you regularly get the audition or callback, you always want to do well in the room for a multitude of reasons. Of course, booking the job would be fantastic. Hitting it out of the ballpark (“it” being your performance) for the casting director and the director/producers in a callback situation is always a great thing whether you land the job or not. It’s also flat out personally rewarding to do your best after putting the time and energy into your preparation. YOU want to be good. CASTING wants you to be good. PRODUCTION wants you to be good. And, sometimes you won’t be…
Commercial actors should never place blame for a bad read in the room.
…At least not out loud. You can rant and blame in your head or verbalize it to whomever you want in the privacy of your own home, if it makes you feel better. My philosophy: avoid the blame game altogether. But, to each his/her own. However, I will stand by my statement that placing blame in the room for your poor read is a big fat bad idea.
The good news: If you’ve given a less than stellar first go at your audition, it isn’t the end of the world. You will likely be given another chance at it. Listen carefully to the adjustment and DO IT.
I think it’s a human knee jerk reaction to blame. We channel that 5 year old kid in us, and point the finger when we are embarrassed, flustered… and in trouble. Who do actors blame?
Their agent. All too often, I’ve heard actors blame their agent for their bad audition. The agent didn’t notify them about the updated copy, the change in wardrobe, ANY important info that has caused the actor to be less than focused and “mess up”. Whether it’s true or not really doesn’t matter. No one cares why you are flustered and gave a bad audition, they just want you to do it again and be better.
The lobby assistant. The lobby assistant gave you instruction outside the room, and the director asked you for something different. Why blame the assistant? Perhaps the director was just inspired to go another way. Maybe they want to see if you can take direction. Stop wasting time blaming the assistant while looking like a jerk, and take the direction and do it again.
LA Casting. Sometimes there are technical glitches… more often (than we would like to admit) there is user error. Don’t blame LA Casting for not posting the copy, which leaves you unprepared and results in your bad audition. Just do and be your best.
Isn’t this getting monotonous?
Bad copy. No matter how bad the campaign… no matter how goofy, stilted and unnatural the copy is… it’s your job to make it sound good. A tall order? Yes. Do it anyway. And for Pete’s sake, don’t bash the copy in a callback. The copywriter could be seated in the room.
The Casting Director. When in a callback situation, the last thing you want to do is throw the Casting Director under the bus when getting an adjustment from the Director. You are (intentionally or not) making the CD look bad in front of their client. Depending on how offensive you are when making your excuse and placing blame, it could cause the CD to think LONG and HARD before having you come in again. Making a Casting Director look bad in front of their clients is a terrible idea.
One more time… don’t place blame in the room, even when it’s true. No one wants to hear it, and no one cares. There isn’t time… just be better on the next take. And, voila! Everything is better. It’s that simple.
My final thought: Perhaps, it wasn’t a bad read in the first place…