This weekend, I went to a workshop on audition techniques taught by Ryan Glorioso, a casting director who casts a lot of movies and TV shows in Louisiana. His website has links to acting jobs in Louisiana, including gigs as extras on movies and TV shows being filmed there.
You can see some of Ryan’s videos on YouTube by clicking here.
I’ve been taping a lot of auditions lately. Usually, when you do an audition, you don’t get any feedback at all. You just walk in, do your bit, and walk out. And you never hear anything until your agent send you an email about a callback, or that you booked the part.
For this workshop, they posted some sides (excerpts from real scripts, for movies or TV shows that Ryan has cast), and we had to pick one and learn it just as if it was a real audition. Ryan talked to the group about some things, and then everyone had to go up in front of the room and do the audition they’d picked. He allowed each of us three “takes”, and then gave us a grade on how we did.
It was kind of like a report card, with scores from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest you could get. It’s the first time I ever got any kind of “grade” for an audition. Here’s what my “audition report card” said:
Name: Kameron Rie Badgers
Date: October 13, 2013
Interview Skills: 4
Audition Skills: 5
Listening Skills: 5
Understanding of Material: 4
Character Development: 4
Ready for Co-star: Yes
Ready for Guest Star: Maybe
Ready for Lead: Maybe
Words of Wisdom: Really great adjustment on the last take. Good actor, didn’t let nerves overtake!
I wish that all of my scores had been a “five” and that he thought I was ready for a lead role, but I picked up some tips I can work on, so if I get to audition for him for real one of these days, I think I’ll do better.
What I Learned
I heard two things in this workshop that I hadn’t heard before. One was that casting directors hate it when kids walk in and have some kind of prepared “bit” they do before the audition. I would never have even thought about doing that, but Ryan said he hates it when kids walk in and say, “I have a joke for you…” or “Would you like to hear a song?”
He said that you can spot those kids because they’ve been trained for pageants and contests, and that casting directors aren’t looking for people who are “instantly ‘on’ and always obviously performing”. They’re looking for people who are believable in the part. So a big mistake you can make is to try to take a single line or a very short piece and turn it into something bigger.
Nancy Chartier says almost the same thing. She says that people who hire kids want to hire kids — not robots who do things perfectly, all the same way. Each of us is different, and we get hired when our “different-ness” is what it takes to bring the role to life.
The other thing I learned is kind of obvious when you think about it. Casting directors are there to find “the one” — the one actor out of hundreds who will be what the director is looking for to fit a particular role. Whether that’s a waitress who has just one line like “Can I take your order?” or a kid who does nothing except look sad and scared, or laughing and happy, the casting director’s job is to find the right person.
It isn’t their job to give an actor a break. So actors who say that they’ll work “local hire” in Austin or New Orleans but then say they can’t be there for an audition at 7 a.m. the next day or at 2 p.m. today for a callback are really dumb when they make the casting director out to be the bad person for not making it easy for them. Ryan said, “Opportunity isn’t always convenient.”
Now I know why my grandma always says I can only travel for parts and auditions sometimes — if it’s a four-hour drive to San Antonio, there’s no way I can be there for a 4 p.m. audition if they call at 1 p.m. But if they want me the next day, I can do it. I couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t just move the appointment, but Ryan explained that casting directors have deadlines, and you have to be there when the opportunity is there — or you don’t get the opportunity.
It was a good way to spend a rainy Sunday, and after the workshop we went to Gloria’s in Frisco for Guatemalan food — the black beans and salsa were different from what you get at Mexican restaurants here, and they were very, very good!
I’m not going to post the video from the audition here, but if you want to see it, here’s an unlisted YouTube link.