You may not have realized how difficult the casting director’s job was until now. If you have ever had to organize a large number of people for an event, you can sympathize – imagine having to do that every day!
So how can you help make the casting director’s day . . . and in turn, find favor with this person? Here are some simple pointers that never fail:
a) Be on time. One person showing up even a few minutes late can make a mess of a casting session for not only the CD, but also the talent slated for later times that day. I could spend an entire blog on all the issues that late talent create without realizing the damage they did unintentionally. I’m not going to, however. Just do it. On time means 5-10 minutes early. You should have your paperwork filled out and a few minutes to get fully into character PRIOR to the casting time you were given. That time is when you should be stepping in front of the camera to show off what you can do!
b) Don’t be too early. “Woman, what do you want from me?” I can hear you asking it even through cyberspace. It’s not difficult – get there early and don’t walk in until 5-10 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Talent who show up an hour early cause the same problems and make CDs (and their assistants) angry, which causes the talent to fall out of the good graces they were working to obtain.
c) Dress in character. “The dog ate my shirt” isn’t an excuse after you graduate from middle school. Look the part – show the client that you are naturally that character they are seeking out!
d) Know your script. Some CDs don’t mind if you have your script in hand, whereas others expect you have it memorized. Take the script in with you, but don’t use it unless the CD gives you direction that changes what you had originally prepped character-wise. Then it’s ok to rely on the script because your focus should be following their character notes/direction. (If they ask you to put it down when you enter, be gracious and accommodating – you don’t need it anyway, right?)
e) Fill out paperwork correctly. Each market will vary slightly, so consult your agent about anything you may need to know concerning paperwork before heading to your audition. You should be able to fill it out on autopilot so you can stay in character. Read the forms carefully. Talent who fill in blanks marked “office use only” open themselves up to feel the wrath of a CD or assistant who might need to find a reason to vent frustrations. That’s not the side of a conversation you want to experience prior to stepping into the casting room!
Simple direction that you were taught in elementary school will ensure a lasting relationship with this gatekeeper. You aren’t there to be the CDs friend (or have them want to be your friend). You are there to do your job as a talent. It is just that – A JOB – so to borrow a catch phrase, “just do it”.
What issues have you run into in the casting room?