Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Does the Audition Room Scare Us So Much?

I acted with Joe Hernández-Kolski on a short film called Mr. President and have continued to run into him around town. He recently posted this fantastic advice for actors on his Facebook and agreed to let me re-post here. This is insight from the inside! Enjoy!

I had the good fortune of being a reader for Risa Bramon Garcia and Toby Guidry the other day. I had met Risa through one of her daylong acting workshops (I highly suggest taking her next master class). I read opposite of about thirty actors, both men and women.

Now, everything that I’m about to say, you probably already know but I’m gonna say it again because sitting on the other side of the camera is SO FREAKING INFORMATIVE.

First of all, when you walk into the room, you are walking into a room full of people who want you to do well. They want you to knock the crap out of the ball and send it screaming into the left field stands. And trust me, I get it. The insecurities, wondering if you’re good enough, the fact that this is your first audition in a while, the thought that, “This could change EVERYTHING.” But put it all away and get excited to play. Risa once said, when you walk in the door, you should demonstrate the idea that, “If I was on set right now, in this role, this is how I would play it.” No disclaimers, just stand behind your choices. That’s the most important thing – MAKE CLEAR CHOICES.

Give yourself way more time than you think you need to prepare. Yes, you’re incredibly busy between your job, your volunteer work, your late-night rehearsal and that unexpected thing that always pops up just because the universe knows that you have an audition. You say to yourself, “Okay, the audition is at 2pm tomorrow. I’ll work on it when I get home tonight and then I’ll do more work tomorrow morning. I’ll be fine.” Honestly, you might be. But I watched several actors the other day (and I’ve watched myself do it many a time) walk in and they were nowhere near prepared. They’re buried in the sides, the technical jargon trips them up, they have a great presence and delivery but they just don’t bring it.

The casting directors are dealing with a lot of different things at the same time. So if they’re not in your session, trust me, it has nothing to do with you. Just focus on your work. Be happy to be there. And use your reader. Make eye contact with them as soon as you get in the room so the connection between the two of you doesn’t surprise you when the audition starts. We’re there for you. With one actor, I could see that he was in his head. With a couple of others, we actually played. One actress came so strong that she threw me off my game and I missed my line. She was very well prepared. And last but not least...

Do not sabotage yourself. Very often, the casting directors are open to what you bring to the role. You are there for a reason. Just because you might’ve read the breakdown and said, “That’s not me,” play it with everything that you’ve got. If you're given this opportunity, know that the casting directors have already gone through a lot of submissions from actors who don't even get the chance to come in. But YOU DO. And I saw some amazing actors who just weren't right for the roles but, trust me, Risa and Toby made note and I know that they'll bring them back in. I was very impressed by the care that both of them took with their actors.

Throughout the day, I just kept coming back to the idea of living in your truth. Sure, you’ve gotta do the homework, find your beats, make your choices, etc, but, most importantly, just let them see YOU. That’s the most valuable tool that you have when you walk in the room.

Joe Hernández-Kolski is an actor, poet, and comedian. Follow him on Twitter at @pochojoe

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