Synopsis by Tracy Weisert
Last October, I was thrilled to work on one of my favorite shows ABC’s THE MIDDLE. I was very grateful to casting director G. Charles Wright, along with the show creators and director for casting me! After I shot, I “seized the day” and asked G to be our Casting Networks’ Inside the Industry guest speaker. Coupled with a terrific shoot and that he said “yes,” I drove off the Warner Bros. Studio lot giggling and over the moon!
Here is G’s bio-
Casting Director, G. Charles Wright has been involved in casting for over twelve years. In his career G has cast 14 television pilots, five TV series, and four Web series.
G started his casting career as an intern on “3rd Rock From the Sun.” He quickly moved up the ranks from assistant to associate casting director on “That ’70s Show,” and became that series’ casting director for seasons 6 through 8. G is the casting director for the PBS/Jim Henson Co. animated series “Sid the Science Kid.” He is the casting director of the WBTV/ABC comedy series “The Middle,” starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn, and the new Lions Gate/FX series “Anger Management” starring Charlie Sheen and Shawnee Smith.
A graduate of USC with a degree in communications (emphasis on television and critical studies), G has been on both sides of the camera—as an actor and as a casting director. In addition to full-time casting and part-time performing, G has been teaching actors how to audition for ten years. His weekly class is sold out months in advance and boasts a list of popular working actors.
I have admired G for many years knowing he was a great casting director and teacher. He spoke at our free member seminar April 28 to a packed house. Held mid-morning at a senior center, he cracked the audience up as he teased, “Hi everybody! I’m G. How are you? Thanks for coming out this morning. Thanks for meeting me here at the senior center. [laughter] We finished breakfast about six hours ago…..and the kitchen is just gearing up right now for dinner…. to be served at 3:00PM. That is my schedule. I do feel like I’m at home here at the senior center.” Then an older man hollered, “What did you say young fella?”. The seminar began with laughter and it was a great icebreaker!
He continued, “Welcome. My name is G. Everybody calls me G. if that’s what you were wondering. I come from a line of initials. My Dad was initials. His Father was initials, so it’s all true. Anyway, here I am. I cast a couple of different shows on TV. THE MIDDLE which some of you may have seen with Patty (Patricia) Heaton and a new series that will start airing in June called ANGER MANAGEMENT that will be on FX. That’s Charlie Sheen’s new show. You may have heard of him. [laughter] Yeah, so I’m exhausted. Basically what I’m telling you is I’m really tired.”
G went on, “As we go on today, I’ll go over some Q & A and stuff. I wasn’t really sure how to approach this other than just approach this talk the way I approach all of my classes… is to talk to you guys about how to prepare for auditions. It’s kind of what I do when I’m not casting. I spend a lot of time working with actors on how to prep their auditions, so I made you guys a small few page workbook. This is yours to take with you. This is what we’re going to go over a little bit. It’s my ‘How to Prepare for TV Comedy’ auditions packet. Does that sound good? All right! Fantastic! The first page there is a lot of my information and then some sides that we are also going to look at. If we have some time at the end, I’ll bring one or two of you up here and put you on the spot by having you run through some of the materials in this packet… and the rest of us can laugh! [laughter] Hopefully, we’ll laugh. It’s comedy!”
G said, “We’ll go through the six steps of audition material preparation at the top. I should tell you first off that I didn’t come up with these six steps. This is information that actors all know but it’s been my experience that a lot of actors forget to apply this method to their auditions. You might be used to doing a lot of theatre or maybe independent film projects where you are used to creating your own material or at least playing larger roles. Then all of the sudden you get an audition to play Customer #2 or you know, Guy or something like that, right? You have like one line and you’re looking at it wondering, how do you even start? Well, this is how you start. It’s just something that people tend to forget. Most actors tend to forget to apply to their auditions.”
G went on, “I want to go on down to the audition mantra. This is also really important. I learned this from a lecture that I attended years ago that Michael McKean gave. You know who Michael McKean is? He’s an actor who was onLAVERNE & SHIRLEY, he was Lenny (of Lenny and Squiggy in LAVERNE & SHIRLEY), and he was in Spinal Tap. He is this great character actor who is in all of the Christopher Guest movies too… a wonderful guy. I got this audition mantra from him”
The goal of your audition is not to get the job. The goal is to do the job in the audition.
G said, “If there is one thing you leave here with, I hope it’s the audition mantra. Remember that anytime you go on an audition, don’t make it your goal to book the job because you have no control over who is going to book that job. No control over who’ll book that job but you have complete control over how you behave at the audition, how you impress them with yourself and your performance. That’s all completely within your control, so the goal of the audition isn’t to get the job. It’s to do the job at the audition.”
“I have another actor friend named Michael Kostroff who works a lot. He was a series regular on THE WIRE. If you watched that show on HBO, he played the sleazy attorney to the drug dealers. Then after that show was over, he went to work on SONNY WITH A CHANCE which was the Demi Lovato show on the Disney Channel just to give you an idea of his range. He is also a big musical theatre actor and he tours the country in musicals all the time. He’s one of those actors that manages to work in a lot of different genres. He works commercially. He’s had a lot of national spots. He has worked in drama and works effortlessly in comedy as well. His psychology of auditioning is that during that couple of minutes that he is the casting room at the audition, the role is his. Nobody else has the role at that time except him because he is the only one performing that role at that time. That’s the only thing he can be sure of. During those couple of minutes, that’s his role. He really takes advantage of that time to perform. When that’s over, it’s up to them. Does that make sense? It’s a really interesting way to look at your auditions especially if you don’t get a lot of them and you start getting too caught up in booking the job. It really takes you away from everything you should be concentrating on thatcould help you book the job eventually. So if you get known as a good auditioner…. that’s how actors build careers in this town! If you go in and just approach it as an audition and doing your best work there, if you get known as a good auditioner, casting people bring you back and bring you back and that’s how you book jobs.”
G continued, “I have another actor friend of mine named Chip Chinery who had this tear for years where he was just booking National commercial spots one after the next! There was about five years running where he was on every commercial. Somebody asked him what the secret was to his success in booking all these commercials. He said that the secret to his success was that he went out on a lot of commercial auditions! [laughter] He said that he booked maybe one in every ten or twenty, which really started to put it into perspective for you because you’d think of this guy as booking everything he goes out on but because he got known as a good auditioner and you know how work begets work, he gets seen on a few commercials and that sort of steamrolls. That still means that he has to go out on a lot of auditions to book something.”
I am so grateful that G allowed me to share his handout for this article.
G. CHARLES WRIGHTS AUDITION TECHNIQUE AND PREPARATION WORKSHOP
The six steps of audition material preparation:
- Silently read through your ENTIRE set of sides without interpretation.
- Ask, what does your character want in the scene?
- Ask, what is at stake for your character, if you don’t get what you want in the scene?
- Ask, why is this the “big day” for your character in the scene? Or, what is happening to your character in the scene?
- Be specific. Make specific choices for your character BASED ON THE TEXT.
- Read your sides with someone else before your audition.
The audition mantra:
The goal of your audition is not to get the job. The goal is to do the job in the audition.
Do’s and don’ts:
Memorize your lines and memorize places on the page where you look down at your lines, so you don’t lose your pace, or place.
Beware of sharks!
Props can be difficult to control.
Dress to suggest your character.
Don’t take anything personally.
Read entire script, if available.
Do your homework I Spend a minimum of 2 hours memorizing and preparing your audition material.
Don’t be lazy when it comes to auditioning.
Light up the office with your personality. Let casting/producers/directors see the REAL you before you begin performing. Don’t enter the room in character, that’s creepy.
Thank you, G for your insights, warmth, humor and for being one of casting’s best actor advocates in Hollywood!
Contact G at-
G. Charles Wright Casting
8424 Santa Monica Blvd., #A729
West Hollywood, CA 90069