Laurieby Casting Director, Laurie Records

…feel that one “bad” audition will eliminate future audition opportunities…

I was speaking at an actor engagement, a month or two back, where a brilliant question was asked,  (and I paraphrase) “What would an actor do that would keep you from calling him/her into your office again?”  This topic has since been a reoccurring theme in my industry circles.  There is no real short and sweet answer to be given. (And really, am I ever short and sweet?… outside of my physical appearance, of course.)  Voila!  What better place to further discuss?  Let the conversation continue!

Commercial actors should never feel that a less than stellar audition would keep them from being called into the same casting office again.

The biggest concern seems to be whether one “blown audition” would keep a Casting Director from calling an actor in again.  I trust you have heard the notion that “actors should be more concerned with booking the room/office (make sure the casting office is a fan of you) than booking the job,” so this is an understandable concern.  I have to believe the answer varies to some degree from CD to CD.  My personal opinion, and likely the general thought, is no.  One poorly executed audition wouldn’t keep you from being called in again.  We all have off days.  The danger comes when the actor consistently cannot deliver in the room.  They would, then, be in jeopardy of receiving fewer to no calls.

If not a poor audition… then what?  I think my answer at the engagement was an actor getting violent, being vulgar, with grossly inappropriate behavior…  it is rare, but these things happen, and it could keep an actor from being called in again.  Sure.

**In my experience, other reasons an actor might cease to be given audition appointments:

*A report of bad behavior on set or at a wardrobe fitting (yep, wardrobe fitting).  Casting Directors don’t hear if an actor is 10 minutes late to set.  This isn’t what I am talking about.  Just like anything else, it takes a lot to drive a person to draft an email… or even take the time to make a phone call to complain.  Time is just too precious to do this frivolously.  When casting gets a scathing actor report from a Producer or Director, it’s pretty bad.  When an actor can’t behave on set, they shouldn’t (and won’t) be called in for an audition.

*An inexperienced/incompetent actor, to the extent of not being able to manage audition basics.  Every blue moon, an actor walks into an audition and is completely lost.  When faced with this actor, a CD might wait a good amount of time before calling them in again (likely not banned forever)… to give them time to gain experience and assure no more session time is wasted.  There is no time in commercial casting to “train” an actor.  Casting Directors aren’t acting teachers and they aren’t there to teach the basics of the audition process.  Actors are expected to have the basics under their belt before walking through the door.

*Actors going over the Casting Director’s head and contacting the Producer to pitch themselves.  This is a hot and much debated topic, lately.  I do have a list with a couple of names of actors who have contacted a Producer.  In my situation, I got a phone call from a highly irritated Producer, questioning how such a thing could happen.  The Producer then asked that I refrain from calling the actor in, again.

**What may cause the Casting Director to think twice?

*Being late.  If you are perpetually late to your appointments, the Casting Director may choose to bring in your commercial doppelganger who consistently arrives prepared and on time.

*No show.  I’m reluctant to admit there are times when a no show at a commercial audition is no big deal.  But, it’s true.  You should also know that there are times that it is disastrous when actors are missing in action.  The problem is, you never know which scenario you are looking at.  No show at the wrong time and it can affect you being called in again.

*Argumentative/disrespectful to staff.  I’ve seen near brawls break out between an actor and a lobby assistant.  I’ve certainly heard yelling… and I have come out of my office on more than one occasion to intervene.  In the end, it doesn’t matter who’s the instigator, don’t argue or fight with anyone in an audition setting.  Always keep your cool (aka be professional) and make a call to your agent if necessary.  Casting Directors are very loyal to their staff.  Being disrespectful could absolutely keep you from being called in again.

*Causing trouble in lobby.  Don’t be a ringleader for negative causes.  If you are feeling like a bitter and wronged actor (everyone has a day here and there), keep it to yourself.  Getting your fellow actors riled up about your bitter cause is a bad choice.  It always gets back to the Casting Director.  We have ears and eyes… everywhere.  The goal is always to have a harmonious lobby.  Be careful if you are tempted to rally others in a negative direction.

Laurie Records, Casting Director

Laurie Records, Casting Director