This post is rewritten from an excerpt of a reply to a reader about one of my audition monologues.
If I may offer my own experience from the other side of the table… The last thing we’re trying to do is intimidate or make you nervous.
Frankly we want you to get the part. Yes, you. Right now. Because if you do, it means we can finally stop worrying about whether we’ll ever find the right person to make this work really shine. And man, if that person could be you, that would be so excellent. Because we’ve watched so many people come in and do a bad job. Or, even worse, a just okay job. (Worse, because must second-guess whether we’re being too picky.) So if you could come in and blow the doors off of your monologue or song, that would be DIVINE. Show off your particular skills, make us laugh, or move us somehow, so that you stand out from the boring afternoon of hearing people do the same monologue over and over. (You’d be surprised how many repeats there are in an afternoon.)
Meanwhile, we’re looking for someone with whom we can imagine spending all those hours it takes to put up a play or shoot a film or whatever. If you’re going to be annoying at every rehearsal, we don’t want you around, no matter how talented you may be. So be normal. Seriously, stuff-I-learned-in-kindergarten normal. You’d be surprised. As you saw above, we’re on your side in terms of wanting you to be the talented winner of the day. So you don’t have to impresses us.
Just be good and be normal.
My final word of advice would be to remember that there can be a million factors in a casting decision, some of which may not have anything to do with you. Maybe you’re perfect, but you don’t feel right with the person they’re casting as the leading man. Maybe the person who WOULD match well with you has a scheduling conflict, so we select a different pair entirely. Maybe you look too much like the producer’s recently estranged wife. I’m not kidding.
I was on a project where two women were the final choice for the leading role, and it was a complete, 100% tie for who would get it. But the assistant director’s name was Faith. The costume designer’s name was Hope. And one of the two potential leading ladies was, no lie, named Charity. So we broke the tie based on the NAME of the actor. (Incidentally, Charity turned the role down, so we went with Faith, Hope, and Melissa.)
Anyway, the point is that if you get the role, great, it’s all about how talented you are. If you don’t get the role, oh well, it probably had nothing to do with you. Keep auditioning and eventually things will line up your way.
Break a leg!