How to Audition Actors? Rules & Tips

 

Auditioning is a field that many beginner directors are taking for granted. It’s a tough and lengthy process that many directors choose not to be part of. I believe that auditioning is the most critical stage of directing actors, and it’s also an excellent opportunity for the director to hear his texts being acted for the first time, and it’s a unique opportunity to test scenes that you weren’t sure about. I also recommend you to do the castings at an early stage of production, so you’ll have the most time for readings, rehearsals and for the actors to learn their characters

This lesson is one of the most important lessons in this film direction course online.There is nothing worse than getting stuck in production with a bad actor. But when you find a good actor that can act and listen, you did 90 percent of your actor’s directing job. That’s why I’m going to give you some tips for setting up auditions. 

Use a Casting Director

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 significant. Today the casting directors, in my opinion, don’t get the respect they deserve, but I think it’s an important role.

Besides good instincts, 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 for 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 your ads, you will probably be flooded with emails from dozens of actors. That’s why you should use a specific description of the part as much as you can. You should describe: 

  • the character name
  • age
  • important characterization points
  • and two interesting sentences about it. 

If the physical description is essential, 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 vital to read their resumes.

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 a rehearsal room.

Auditions forms filling

While the actors are waiting for their turn, give them to pre-fill a form that will include:

  1. the date
  2. the name of the production, 
  3. actor information: name, address, home phone, mobile, email, and the role he is faced with.

Schedule your auditions

All the actor’s 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 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. Sometimes it is a good idea to give them a direction to see if they can follow a direction. Let them read the text for themselves first, then adjust them a little to see how they understand what you are saying, then give them a completely different direction. What is important here is how they change their acting following your instructions.

Another essential element you should check is can the actor take the lines you gave him and make them sound like they are his own.

I like to start by telling them just to do their thing. That way, I can see what they can 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.

Pay attention to the small details.

When auditioning actors, it’s tough to find in a few minutes if an actor can 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.

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.

Audition Management

Actors audition begins with an introductory interview. The actor will talk to the camera and say his name and age, preferably a phone number, in case the form gets 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 with previous productions? And so on. Sometimes you may prefer to do only the first reading of the text. At this time, the actor gets parts of the script 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). You should also ask them questions about the text they’ve just read and the characters. This is a great chance to get a different perspective on the characters from professional actors.  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. Here are 5 tips to help you manage the auditions:
  • Set a relaxed mood – You should start the auditions by telling them about yourself, your experience and how did you get that movie. Keep in mind that the actor is very nervous 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 of your call. Try to be open to ideas the actors are bringing to the role
  • 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 is 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 cameraman won’t be too noticeable because it can put pressure on the actor that way. The cameraman should take as many close-ups as possible, see facial expressions, and as many medium shots, absorb body movements. Sometimes it is advised to shoot actors when they are not aware of the camera. Suppose as the assistant director gives the actor notes between takes, He can sit where the other actor is sitting, then the cameraman will take the actor’s reactions while he listens.
  • Go for an experienced actor  – 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.
  • Don’t compromise – It is very easy to find yourself compromising the process of auditions with actors you do not feel complete within low-budget movies. Try not to let that happen. If the actor is not 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.