Earlier on this month I had a busy day of auditions with the help of Deanna and Terry for John Lennon’s Turd at the wonderful Actors Centre in London. It was a good day and we got smashing actors
Luke Stevenson to play “Ian”
Kenton Hall to play “Digby”
and Melissa de Mol to play “Carol”
It’ll all go wrong on the night.
I find though, however well planned you are, auditions always tend to go slightly awry.
For example: I like holding auditions on a Sunday as it’s easy and cheaper to get up to London and to get around. However I hadn’t planned for the maintenance work on the trains and tube. Part of my journey in was by bus replacement service and various actors found themselves battling across London to get there. Deanna and Terry got there OK in time for breakfast, before we started.
Auditioning in a group.
I personally like auditioning actors in a group, playing each role required for each scene. The other way is to audition each actors on their own with the other roles being read, which does enable you to concentrate solely on the individual actor. But I prefer the group interaction; see how actors respond to others, how they re-act. I find I can soon hone in on the person in group, who’s most suitable for the part. I also run cameras on each actor, including holding one myself. So I can see afterwards how they come over on screen.
My Personal 10 Top Tips
So here’s my personal 10 top tips on holding auditions. – as a director
1. Don’t sit behind a desk. It creates a barrier.
2. Don’t look at your script. It’s an easy mistake to make. You don’t need to check they are using the right words.
3. Concentrate. It’s really important to concentrate intensely on each performance. Walk around. Get close to each person’s eyeline.
4. Initially don’t say how you want it acted. See what they bring. It may surprise ..and delight you. When you repeat the scene, then you can give notes, advise and change.
5. Watch when they aren’t speaking. How they respond to the other actors.
6. Get to know them. ..chat.. If you’re going to spend a shoot together you want to know that you’re going to get on with each other.
7. Change the performance. Even if you love their interpretation, get each actor to adapt and change their performance.
8. Video tape it. Not just as a wide or side view. See how each person looks on camera in closeup.
9. Give yourself breaks. Schedule an hour for lunch and shorter breaks in the morning and afternoon. You’ll most probably overrun the auditions, so it gives you time to catch up. ..and maybe have some lunch.
10. Take notes as you go along. Give yourself time in between each audition to discuss each actor with your team You will forget by the end of the day. It’s surprisingly tiring. Get each person to introduce themselves on camera preferably with their name on a sheet of paper. I forgot to do this this time and it made it lot more difficult when I looked at everyone later on the edit suite.
Remember to thank everyone. They’ve given up a valuable day for chance of starring in your “baby”, be grateful. Let everyone know soon if they haven’t got the role …AFTER you have confirmed your chosen actor. It’s a tough life as an actor.