How to Hold an Audition

How to Hold an Audition 2Each year The Film School holds two open auditions. It’s a really good idea. Anyone can come in. They fill out a form with their information and acting experience, get a head shot, and act out a scene that’s recorded. This is inputted into a database and compiled in a large binder, so when it comes time to cast our films, we just go to the database and enter some parameters (male 20-30), watch the potential candidates audition video and call back anyone we’re interested in.

We’re all assigned a different job. Yesterday I directed one of the auditions. The format we use is a pretty good format for any audition.

  • Slate the beginning. Have the actor slate the beginning of the tape with their name and phone number.
  • Have the actor go through the scene. We would have the actor perform the scene however they interpreted it. Since you would be auditioning your own script, you might offer a little about the character or what you want before they start. Keep the camera fairly wide.
  • Re-direct the actor. Give them some new direction, even if the first reading was great. You want to make sure they can take direction. At the audition countless people would read exactly the same as before. Zoom in for a medium close-up.

That’s it. We would only do the scene twice for time reasons, but you might want to work with the actor a little more.

Some audition tales: One woman sang for her audition, but when I asked her if she wanted to do another song (since I don’t know how to re-direct singing) she would talk in the lowest whisper because the camera was still rolling. Another guy was making casual conversation with me before he just jumped into his monologue, throwing me off guard. A few guys did a scene from The Bourne Supremacy, but I wouldn’t trust them to take down a Macy’s security guard. The best audition was a little kid, who after reading his scene, performed a sword fighting ballet with a sword he brought.

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