Top 5 Questions to Ask Before You Get There
It’s just like you learned in school. No matter what paper you write you must first answer the “Five Ws”. Who, what, when, where, why. You can modify these to apply to a film or commercial audition as well.
Basically, when your agent calls get ready to ask these five questions according to Acting Coach Frank Gerrish.
Who’s Doing the Audition?
You’re reading for a particular casting director at first but who else might be in that room? No sense in getting thrown off your game because you thought you were reading with just one person and there turns out to be five in the room. In addition, are those others the writer, director, producer and co-star? It would really suck for you if you made a crack about the script. BTW, who is the director? Get to know his other work.
Make sure you write the names down and research them. You may not book that particular gig but you might be in the same room with these people again and again. Get to know IMDB intimately if you don’t already.
Who are you reading for?
Ask your agent to read the description of the character (the breakdown) as well as whether you can read the script. Under SAG guidelines, a script must be made available to every actor. This rule is difficult to enforce (and unenforceable in non-union states like Utah) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. Most agents do have a copy of the script. Go to the office and read it. You will have a better grasp of the character, the relationships and the project.
If there is no script for you, ask them if the CD mentioned any character specifics. Ie- they want an ethnic look, the character may get written out but they’re not sure, you’re from the south. You never know until you ask.
What kind of project is this? Film, TV, Industrial? Comedy? Drama?
What should I wear? Do you need to dress a certain way for the role? The rule of thumb is to go dressed the way your character would dress for a job interview. However, sometimes your agent will tell you to go in something more specific- workout attire or coat and tie. Do it but pack a few options in your car just in case you get there and find you were given the wrong info. This also helps if you’ve got more than one audition in a day (a rarity in Utah). You may not be dressing in character but you can still have something on you that helps you get into character. For example, you are auditioning for a part as a hooker; you don’t want to dress like a slut but you can wear a naughty thong under your skirt.
When is the audition? Be on time…or early. Sometimes, castings run late but don’t make it your fault. Most casting directors will apologize for long waits. So should you, if you are late. But don’t if you’re sure there’s absolutely NO WAY they’ll know you are late. No need to draw attention to yourself and most CDs don’t want to hear your drama.
If you can’t make it, ask if there’s another time and/or if the CD is seeing people. Ask if you can record the audition and send it in if there just is no other option.
Where Do I Go?
Get the address; get the directions. If you have time, scope it out beforehand. Google Maps is not infallible. Get the phone number of the audition location in case you get lost and can’t reach your agent. Give yourself extra time to allot for traffic or misdirection. My agent sent out the wrong street number for my last audition. I spent 20 minutes driving around in circles before calling the place. Good thing I was shooting for ‘early’. I got there just in time.
If you get a callback don’t assume you are going to the same place as your original audition. The location often changes so ask your agent to confirm.
Why is this character important? This is more a question to ask yourself first. Read the breakdown, sides and script to find the answer. If you have trouble answering then ask the CD. Don’t wait until you have worked on the piece for three days only to be told-at audition-that character is completely different from what you thought. Call your agent and have them call the casting office.
Now, go out there and rock it!