Auditioning Actors – Rules & Tips
Auditioning actors is a field that many beginners at film directing are taking for granted, It’s a very hard and long process that many directors choose to not be part of. I think the reason is because this is a stage where you have to make great decisions. You don’t want to do a mistake at this stage. In these days you have more options than ever, so making a mistake is even more scary.
Auditioning actors is also a great chance for the director to hear his texts being played for the first time and it’s a great opportunity to test scenes that you weren’t sure about them. That’s why I’m going to give you some tips for setting up auditions. I think that there is nothing worse than getting stuck in production. When you find a good actor that can act and listen, you did 90 percent of your actor’s directing job.
The main idea is to play with the actor. Try different approaches to him. For example, you can let a guy play a female role in the script and vice versa and see what happens.
The auditioning of actors is a complete field we can talk about for hours. That’s why, if you have the option, use a casting director, It can be great. Today the casting directors, in my opinion, don’t get the respect they deserve, but I really think it’s an important role.
These are the skills needed for a casting director: good communication, better identification of talent, good management ability, the ability to direct and paying attention to detail.
The director needs to explain to the casting director what he wants what his vision for the film is and the specific role
Advertising the audition
The possibilities for advertising your auditions are diverse. You can advertise on Facebook, acting groups, industrial sites, acting schools and so on. Once you post you are looking for actors, you will probably be flooded with e-mails from dozens of actors. That’s why you should try to a specific description of the part as you can. You should describe the character name, age, important characterization points and two interesting sentences about it. If the physical description is important, you can add that one too.
Most actors will send you photos and resumes. Often there is a temptation to check only the images, but it is very important to read their resumes too.
Rent a room for auditions
Do not audition actors in your home or your friend’s home. It shows the lack of professionalism and can be a little intimidating for actresses. It is worth investing a few dollars renting rehearsal room.
Auditions forms filling
While the actors are waiting for their turn, give them to pre-fill a form that will include date, the name of the production, below that, make room for actor information: name, address, home phone and mobile, email and the role he is faced.
Schedule your auditions
All the actors auditions should be between 10 and 20 minutes, tops! You should have someone to be with the actors that are waiting in the hallway. There should also be refreshments.
What are you looking for when you cast an actor
You really should know what it is you are looking for when you are auditioning actors. Maybe the role you are casting is one that demands the actor to give parts from his life outside. Does the actor ready for that kind of vulnerability? I will talk about it later on this post and will explain how to do that, but I will mention it now too – you need to check if your actor can listen – not only to you but also to the actor he is playing with. The important element you should check is can the actor take the lines you gave him and make them sound like they are his own.
Pay attention to the small details
When auditioning actors it’s very hard to find in a few minutes if an actor can really act, so what you have to look mainly is his charisma and screen presence. Note the actor immediately as he enters the room. Pay attention to his body language, is it conveys security or insecurity? note his walking style, the way he sits, does he talk too much? Did he come unprepared? If the actor got some information about the character he is faced, pay attention to what he wore in honor of the audition.
Actors audition begin with an introductory interview. The actor will talk to the camera and say his name and age and preferably also a phone number, in case the form get lost. You can ask questions like, what have you done lately? What was the most enjoyable role he played so far? What were your experiences of previous productions? and so on.
“The most important job of the director is casting. If you can cast your film in an interesting way, then you’re 50 percent there.”
You should also tell them about yourself. Your experience and how did you get that movie. Explain how many days of filming are ahead, and how many days of rehearsals are needed. note their responses. If they are too hesitant, you might want to give them up.
Sometimes you may prefer to do only the first reading of the text. At this time, the actor gets the text for the first time at the audition. He will probably ask questions about the text (you can learn a lot about the actors from these questions). I like to start by just telling them to just do their thing. That way I can see what they are able to bring without my direction. When they start acting, note his acting and the character he brings you. Does he have something good you have not thought of before? If something does not work for him, try to let him do the part standing up. Sometimes it is a good idea to give them a direction just to see if they can follow a direction, so it’s a good thing to bring one even if you don’t feel it is needed. Let them read the text for themselves first, then adjust them a little in order to see how they understand what you are saying, then give them a completely different direction. What is important here than the way the actors act, is how they change their acting in accordance with your instructions.
Set a relaxed mood
Keep in mind that the actor is very tight and probably you will be stressed too. Try to calm him down with respect. If the actor does not fit, you may want to tell him gently in place, instead of having him sitting on the phone days in anticipation for your call.
Working in pairs
If there’re roles such as lovers couples, mother, and son, etc., you should invite them to audition together and see the chemistry.
Generally, you should let the actor act with another actor so that it is easy to produce emotional responses.
Shoot the audition
If it possible, shoot the audition and if possible, let someone else do it and tell him to shoot it from several angles. On the other hand, it is advised that the camera man won’t be too noticeable because it can put pressure on the actor that way.
The camera man should take as many close-ups as he can, to see facial expressions and as many medium shots, to absorb body movements.
Sometimes it is advised to shoot actors when they are not aware of the camera. Suppose as assistant director gives the actor notes between takes, He can sit where the other actor is sitting then the camera man will take the actors reactions while he listens.
Decision-making and Last tips
If you’re debating between two actors on one character, it is better to go for the actor with more experience and talent than the one that looks better.
In low budget movies, it is very easy to find yourself compromising the process of auditions with actors you do not feel complete with them. Try not to let that happen. If the actor is not really enthusiastic about the part, the audience will feel it.
Just remember, as Jack Nicolson once said, Once you cast someone for a movie, that person is perfect for the role.