by Casting Director, Laurie Records
The path an actor must take on the road to stardom, or at the very least financial stability, is a tough one. We have all heard the stories of people who are “discovered”, or who move to LA on a whim and instantly get snatched up by Hollywood, as if Hollywood were waiting for their arrival. This, of course, is the exception to the rule. If you want the hard, cold truth of any rule in acting, it is that you are going to have to work very hard, sometimes with little encouragement, and plenty of discouragement to go around. The good news is that there are many seasoned and successful actors out there, whose hard work paid off. Slowly and surely they found some success, and you can too, if you don’t fall prey to some common pitfalls… that I have been addressing for months in this article. Here is another one:
Commercial actors should NEVER underestimate the memory of a casting director. Actually, this is appropriate for commercial and theatrical situations, but commercial actors seem to cross the line more often. Perhaps, it’s due to the sheer volume of auditions in the commercial world vs. the theatrical world.
When you attend multiple auditions in a week… even multiple auditions in a day, after awhile the enchantment with the process goes away, and it truly becomes your job to attend the audition. Stereotypically, commercial auditions don’t feed your artistic soul, right? Now, anything can happen in the course of a casting day. It could run smooth as silk or you could be walking into a nightmare as you step foot into the casting facility. There is equipment failure, fire alarms, personal emergencies (with the casting director, or their staff) poor scheduling, last minute changes by production, communication breakdowns of all sorts… all of which can affect your audition experience.
Whatever you do, always conduct yourself in the utmost professional manner. No matter what. Whether waiting in the lobby, auditioning in the room, or on your way out the door. There may be a few commercial actors in town that can afford to alienate themselves from a casting director, and not have it matter much. But that isn’t you. And that is exactly what you will do if you behave badly, even for a moment… or at least the potential is there!
Never underestimate the memory of a Casting Director. Know that they have eyes and ears all over the place… maybe even in the bathroom! Be nothing but lovely until you reach your car and close the door. The fact is that most CD’s are fiercely loyal to their staff. If the person taking your Polaroid ruffles your feathers, or if you are frustrated in general with how things are proceeding at your particular audition, don’t show your Polaroid-taker! Don’t complain loudly to your fellow frustrated actor, don’t blow up on the camera operator, and don’t squeal in the restroom. If word gets back to the Casting Director it is very possible they will not call you in again for a while… or ever. It is their prerogative, and let’s face it, actors are a dime a dozen in this town. I have heard actors pronounce to anyone who would listen, that they hope to never audition (name your location) again. Rest assured they won’t. But you don’t have to be that direct to be on the do not call list.
So play it safe. Be the best and most professional person you can be at an audition, and lose it over cocktails with a friend… or better yet, laugh at it (it’s good for your health!). Casting Directors have a long memory, and the old saying is true… they will remember the one bad incident over the hundred that are good. It just works that way. If you have a serious complaint, I am advocating suffering in silence. Talk to your agent, and let them take the concern to the casting office. That is the proper channel to take care of a problem you may have experienced at an audition.
Go out and be professional and lovely actors. Casting Directors have a long memory… make sure you use that to your advantage and leave a good memory in their minds every chance you get!