11 Rules for Stupid Auditionees
So in case I didn’t mention earlier, I like to act. I often go to auditions, and because money is a necessary evil, I end up in a lot of auditions for commercials. Commercials are awesome, and have given me lots of money…but I always hate the inevitable question from everyone.
“How did it go?”
Oh, thanks guys. I clearly wasn’t self-conscious enough about being filmed and judged for my beauty and talent by others, let’s make sure I can do the same for me too! The reality is that for commercial auditions…you have no idea. Unless the casting director offers you the role on the spot, you’ll never know how you did. (Actually, that DID happen for my very first commercial, but that’s a freak occurrence…and I happen to be a freak, so it worked.
Forget what your parents told you, you’re not special. Not when it comes to commercials anyways. There are about 100 people behind you, who will happily stab you from behind, sleep with the director, or both depending on your sexual punniness, to get that role. Even if you do perfect in your audition, there’s still a good chance they won’t take you.
You’re taller/shorter than someone else in the commercial. You don’t look old/young enough. You’re just not the right look. You look too much like someone in a commercial from the competitors. You remind the directors/producers of someone they don’t like. Your clothes clashed with the colours in the room. It was too late in the day and the director stopped caring. The list goes on and on.
The only time you really know how you did in an audition is when you F&$% IT UP badly. So, here’s my advice to fellow tumblrs on how to not dig your own grave for commercial auditions.
- Never EVER ask someone if they’re pregnant. I don’t care how fat she is, or how big the lettering is on her BUN IN THE OVEN t-shirt. The second you ask your casting director when she’s due, she will magically cease to be pregnant, and the only thing in danger of being aborted is your career.
- Never share stories. They don’t care why you’re late, or what you’re doing tonight. No one will ever care what this commercial reminds you of. Just do your job, and get out. You are nothing more than a moving prop that eats. You are insignificant, accept this.
- Commercials are barely acting. Don’t give your character a backstory, don’t ask the director a billion questions about how he wants the character. Ask one question maximum per take. You are doing this for exposure and money, this is not the time to reflect on your six year Shakesperean degree in Guadalawhogivesadamn.
- Don’t mess with the script. You were called in to sit there and look pretty. You were not hired to write. Don’t change the script. Don’t add to it. Don’t think you know a better way to say this. Directors will remember it, and loathe you for it. Oh, also, learn how to pronounce things. Film people are a picky bunch, and you don’t want to remembered as the ditz actress who couldn’t pronounce “hor d’ouevres”. You will be remembered as “Whore durrrr”
- You can mess up the script. So going back against what I just said, if you’re an idiot and couldn’t remember your two lines…fine. It’s not the end of the world. Don’t freak out, make huge apologies, and promises to God and the directors that you will do better next time. If you, or some other actor in the audition screws it up then just keep going. Don’t demand they correct themselves, or blame them for throwing you off. Just deal with it.
- Turn off your phone. I shouldn’t have to say this, it’s so obvious. But I’ve seen SO many actors have their phones go off in the middle of auditions. On a few horrifying occasions, they’ve actually gone and answered it. And if you’re an actor, you probably have some terribly embarassing Wicked ringtone. Your phone may be Defying Gravity, but your audition will be known as No One Mourns the Wicked.
- NEVER MOCK YOUR PRODUCT. Speaking of ditz actresses, I know that many of us in the arts community and political and opinionated. This is so not the time. I once did an audition where my partner was some vegan girl who only came into the KFC commercial audition just to bitch everyone else out about how the chickens were given boob-growing hormones or something. The AD then made a comment about how she was just jealous. It was not pretty…and neither was she…but that’s most hipsters.
- Listen to your director. If he asks you to do something, do it. He’s in charge, not you. Don’t stick your set idea of what the character or commercial should be. Be fluid and adaptable. Directors are dicks, and will often throw you stupid curveballs that have NOTHING to do with your prospective character, but they want to know that you will submit to their will. They are dominatrixes, and you better love it. *whips*
- Don’t do an accent. Unless there are flashing neon lights around your call sheet that are asking for them…for the love of god, don’t do it. In fact, if you think randomly adding accents to a character is a good idea, you can just go ahead and start applying for Welfare right not. You’re going nowhere.
- Never ask for a do-over. This is the most pathetic and desperate request an actor can ever ask for…it will be met only with contempt, never sympathy. Your time is over, your chance is gone, so try to walk away with some shred of dignity. If you ask for one more take, you are the acting equivalent of a rejected suitor who says “Okay fine, if we can’t date, can we at least have sex….please?”
- Don’t be an asshole. Such a simple thing, and yet so easily ignored. Say hello, take off your hat, thank them when you’re done. If other actors ask you questions, answer them. These people might be your devious competition, but you will see them again, and you don’t want to have that hanging over your head. Whenever I walk into an audition, I always see the same half dozen actors in this city who look like me. Tall, redheaded, lanky teenagers. I always say hi and ask how they’re doing…I know not to incur the wrath of the ginger clone army.