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A Guide To Fame And Fortune Through Fitness: The Audition Process.

Today I am going to explain about the process, and give you tips to getting that edge on the other actors who will compete against you to get that part or commercial. Find out more right here.

By: Kenny Kassel

You have now taken your first steps towards an exciting career in the entertainment industry by getting awesome photos taken, done your resume, gotten your head shots together, and found an agent who really believes in you, so it's time to get busy!

I hope that you have been taking acting classes, and are making progress there. It's time to start going out on auditions.


The Audition Process

This can be a daunting task, especially if you are doing so for the first time. I have had many conversations with actors who tell me that this process makes them more nervous than doing the job, even opposite a well known actor.

This makes sense, because once you have gotten the part, you have beaten out dozens or even hundreds of other actors, which should give you some confidence. When you are auditioning, you have no idea if you will get the part or not.

I spoke to a few very well known actors with long resumes who have told me that they never feel comfortable auditioning. The bottom line is that auditioning is supposed to be a challenge, and it's an important part of the entertainment industry. Today I am going to explain about the process, and give you tips to getting that edge on the other actors who will compete against you to get that part or commercial.

Once you have your head shots and have attended enough acting classes that you are competent enough to start auditioning, your agent will start submitting you for auditions.

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Breakdowns:

    Your agent will receive breakdowns for different commercials, film, and television roles each day, and he or she will send you out for those that you are appropriate for. Most breakdowns will list the age and characteristics that they are looking for in that role.

    By characteristics, I mean the looks, and personality type of the role. An example of a breakdown would be:

      Susan, late 20s, gorgeous, girl-next-door, intelligent, but a bit kooky, a fashion designer.

    If I were submitting you for that role, I would advise you to make sure you look the part, by wearing one of the most fashionable outfits you have. It should be something that is very much in style at that very moment.

    You should dress and be groomed exactly like a fashion designer would. You should also study some of the current fashion magazines to be prepared to portray a fashion designer.

    The lesson here? Look the part, and act the part! If you were auditioning for a period piece that takes place in the 1960s, then dress like that character would dress in the l960s. This is part of your preparation to do your audition.

AUDITION PROCESS
WITH BOB CICHERILLO & CHRISTINA LINDLEY
[ Q ] What is the hardest part of auditioning for a new role?
    Hardest part of auditioning is that most of the time, they leave it up to you to determine what type of character they're looking for...no direction, no guiding...just whatever spin you can put on what you THINK they want...it's a roll of the dice...it may get you the job, it may cost you the job...

    Being able to deliver the minute you walk through the door, and hit it. You only get one chance.

Standard Or Cold Reading:

    Before your agent submits you, generally you will receive a copy of the sides, which is a copy of the scene you will perform at the audition, or the copy you will perform of the commercial you are auditioning for. This means that the casting director wants you to memorize your lines and perform it to the best of your ability, as the character you are portraying would do it.

    For the most part, the role you are playing is one where you portray the character in a standard way. Some directors or casting directors would prefer to see the actor have to improvise, rather than just "playing it straight."

Commercial Work
Click Image To Enlarge.
The More You Do It, The Easier It Will Become.

    For this type of audition, you will probably not receive a copy of the sides in advance. You will receive it when you show up for the audition. In this type of audition, you will be doing what is known as a cold reading.

    If this is the case, I would take the copy and go to the bathroom. This will give you a few minutes to read the copy, rehearse it a few times, take a few deep breaths, and go in to do the audition. I would advise you not to rehearse it too much, because you might be asked to do the audition a different way.

    This type of audition is difficult, particularly for someone who is inexperienced. However, if you have been properly prepared, you should be able to handle it. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

AUDITION PROCESS
WITH BOB CICHERILLO & CHRISTINA LINDLEY
[ Q ] Do you prefer to have a standard reading (getting the script in advance) or a cold reading (getting the script and having to improvise on the spot?)
    Geting the script (or the sides, as they're called) is always a huge advantage...reading cold makes me nervous and you are unfamiliar with what your reading...often a page from the middle of the script...you don't know what the flow is, in what context the scene might be, etc..

    I prefer being able to prepare the script so I can be off the page, but I am really good at improv, because of the comedy troupe I train with, the Groundlings, so I handle that well also.


What Exactly Happens At An Audition

You will walk into the audition, and you will go up to the front of the room, sign in, so that the casting director knows you are there, and if it is a cold reading, or a commercial, you will get a copy of what you will be asked to perform.

Open Calls:

    For most auditions you will be asked to show up at a particular time, or a time range... say, between Noon and 2 PM. Some auditions will be what is known as an open call. Generally this means they will be auditioning hundreds of actors over the course of the day. It is very difficult to get the part if it's an open call. Most experienced actors avoid open calls.

Very Best From Start To Finish:

    Here is another tip, and this one parallels the same tip that I would give a fitness or figure competitor in a contest. You need to be at your very best from the time you walk in the door, until you walk out the door after you have finished performing at the audition.

    You need to be pleasant, smiling, with a great expression on your face the entire time you are there. You must be "ON" the whole time. You must take direction well if it is given to you.

Performing The Audition:

    Most of the auditions now will be video-taped. Usually you will "slate" which means state your name, mention your agency, and then state the part of the commercial or part you are auditioning for.

    You will then perform the audition. If you make a mistake or flub a line, do NOT apologize. Just start over again if it's at the very beginning, or if it is towards the end, just pick up where you flubbed the line. You then should thank the casting director for their time, and for the opportunity to audition for them. Then you will leave your head shot and resume.

    If they engage in a little conversation with you, be friendly and professional, and answer any questions honestly and directly. Even though the audition is over, it's not totally over. The casting director is still assessing qualities or reactions to questions which may tell them that you have qualities that would make you more interesting as that character. The Audition is not totally over until you walk out of their office.

    You also need to keep a pleasant, confident look on your face, even if you think you blew it.

Preparing Ahead:

    Another tip for an audition; where they want you to be prepared and the lines or commercial lines memorized. Since you have some preparation invested, I would have 2 or 3 different versions of the lines. If you can give them 2 or 3 options, you may have an advantage over other actors. This works particularly well in commercials. You can let the casting director know that you have prepared to show them a few different variations of their commercials.

    They might be impressed that you have done a bit of extra work. If they just tell you to do only one version, just do the one version. In most auditions, the casting director has time restraints. They may have to audition over one hundred actors and have only a few hours to do it.

    For commercials this is tough because you will most likely not know the director, but... If the audition is for film or television, and the director is well known, then do a little homework. Try to find out if he or she is more creative, and like their actors to be open-minded, or if the director prefers a more standard performance. Doing this kind of homework can be the difference between getting the job or not getting it.

    I have seen actors do their audition in a very creative and interesting way, and they totally sell it to the casting director, and get the part. Sometimes taking a bit of risk can pay off. As you get more experienced, your instincts will develop to the point where you will know when to take a chance and when not to. It's all about practice and working hard on your skills.

Training.
Click Image To Enlarge.
It's All About Practice & Working Hard On Your Skills.


Callbacks

After every actor has done their audition, the casting director and his or her staff must do an elimination process. They may have auditioned one hundred actors, and they will eliminate down to twenty actors. Those actors will receive what is known as a callback.

AUDITION PROCESS
WITH BOB CICHERILLO & CHRISTINA LINDLEY
[ Q ] What is the most callbacks you have received for a role you received?
    I've received 2-3 in most cases. First is a general look...second call, they break it down further...third, it's usually between you and another guy. The most I've gotten was 4... and that was for a part I DIDN'T get! A VISA commercial they debutted at last year's Superbowl featuring superheros... I got 4 callbacks for the part of Capt. America, and then called and told I got the job... scheduled for the first fiting as they were making the outfit custom, right on me...called two days later for the second fitting (final fitting before shooting) and was told they were going with someone else (suprise, surprise...the role was given to the casting agent's brother!!)

    A bitter pill to swallow as friends I know that had gotten other roles on the commercial (Gunter, Dave Hughes) earned over $40,000 from it. The reason I was given was that I was "Too Big" for the role...lol

    Two callbacks, but I have heard of people having to go in five or six times.

1st Callback:

    Generally, this means that they will come back and be asked to perform their lines with one of the actors who has already been hired. This is done for a few reasons, but the main one is to see if there is good chemistry between you and the other actor. After those twenty actors have gone through their callbacks, the casting director eliminates again, down to the top six.

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2nd Callback:

    Those six receive their 2nd callback. If the audition is for a commercial, those six will audition for the company that the commercial is for. The casting director then finally eliminates down to the top two or three.

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Final Callbacks:

    Those finalists will audition for the executive producer, director, and writer for film or television. In the case of a commercial, they will audition for the executive of the company that the commercial is for, along with the director.

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    The audition process can last anywhere from a week to much longer, depending on the project. The number of callbacks can also vary. I have known actors who have had five or six callbacks before they got the part. It's rare when there are less than three callbacks.

Commercial Work
Click Image To Enlarge.
The Audition Process Can Last
Anywhere A From Week To Much Longer.


A Few Final Comments

If you want a great career in entertainment, it's important to have good auditioning skills. It can be very exciting, but frustrating at the same time. Even if you are good at it, many times you might not get the part because someone else looks more the part.

You can be an incredible actor, but you might not look the part, or physical characteristics might make you not believable as that character. You may audition dozens of times before you get your first role. In fact, you may audition dozens of times before you get your first callback.

You must keep working hard at improving your acting skills, and keep a positive attitude. The other end of the spectrum is that you might get a great role on your first audition. This is not very likely, but it can and has happened.

Remember that most of you are very new to this field and you must learn to deal positively with rejection, because there will be a lot of it, however, even the biggest stars have to deal with rejection. In their case, they wanted the part in the newest Spielberg film, but they didn't get it because another star got it.

Finally, if you keep working hard, you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once you become a well known actor, you will start to earn parts and roles because writers, directors and producers will have you in mind as the perfect person to play a particular part.

Time Is Money.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Soon People Will Be Seeking You Out.

One thing that is interesting is that once you get to this point, you are talented enough that auditioning is a piece of cake, and at that point in your career, auditioning will not be as important.

Next Month: Getting compensated for acting and modeling jobs.

A Guide To Fame And Fortune Through Fitness: The Audition Process.
Beautifit@aol.com

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