Here are some choices (and they are choices) to make any casting director truly happy in the room.
1. Accept the invitation with grace and enthusiasm. You were requested to be here as our guest.
2. Come to work and not to please or get our approval.
3. Enter with certainty. Don’t give up your power as soon as the door opens.
4. Play on a level playing field. We’re all figuring it out. Together.
5. Make no excuses whatsoever. Leave your baggage outside. Better yet, at home.
6. Make the room your own. It will make us so much more comfortable.
7. Ask questions only when you truly need answers. “Do you have any questions?” is usually another way of saying: “Are you ready?” You aren’t required to have one.
8. Know your words and understand what you’re talking about. You don’t have to be totally off-book, but if you’ve spent quality time with the material, you’re going to know it.
9. Do your homework on the project. This includes knowing all the players and the show or film’s tone and style. Read all the material you can get your hands on.
10. Make choices and take responsibility for the choices you make.
11. Don’t apologize. Ever. For anything.
12. Know what you want to do and do it. Then leave yourself available to make discoveries. Know that your homework is done. Now let your preparation meet the moments.
13. Don’t mime or busy yourself with props, activity, or blocking. Keep it simple.
14. Don’t expect to be directed, but if you are, take the direction, no matter what it is. Understand how to translate results-oriented direction into action.
15. Don’t blame the reader. Make the reader the star of your audition. According to my teaching partner Steve Braun, you should engage fully no matter who’s reading those lines. Likely your reader will engage – at least somewhat – if you show up.
16. Make specific, personal, bold choices. We want your unique voice to bring the script to life.
17. Stillness is powerful. Understand how to move and work in front of the camera – eliminate running in and out and getting up and down.
18. Require no stroking, coddling, or love. We’re there to work. Don’t take it personally when we’re not touchy-feely. Know that we love actors and that’s truly why we’re here.
19. Understand that you’re there to collaborate. You’re being evaluated in terms of how you serve the role and the material. It’s not a verdict on your personhood. Judgment is something you can control.
20. What you bring in reflects how you’re received so bring in joy, conviction, and ease, and our hearts will open.
21. Share your artistry above all else.
Credit: Risa Bramon Garcia runs a Studio for Actors in L.A. with partner, Steve Braun, The BGB Studio – Bramon Garcia Braun (link), dedicated to actors’ whole journey, connecting craft with career. New summer classes and workshops are starting in June. http://bramongarciabraun.com/