I held auditions at the beginning of the week. I am the best person to audition for (I think) because I really understand how it feels; how agonising and hideous it is, and how ridiculous a thing it is to do. I really try hard to make people feel comfortable enough to give their best shot, and to leave feeling like they did well. I also try and tell people that if they don’t get the job it isn’t because they weren’t good. There are so many factors to take into account.
This week I saw the best and the worst, the bravado, the nerves, the talent, the need, the disappointment, the energy, the hope and excitement, the expectation and the fear. And I am grateful and full of appreciation for every single last person I saw.
Now, I’d love to send a few little hints out to actors who will spend many more hours in front of many more directors, auditioning for stuff they may or may not get. 1. Always be open. Listen before you do anything. Instructions are there to help you be safe. Sometimes actors are so nervous about the impression they create that they completely forget to listen to what is needed of them. Listening to those first bits are very useful and can even help the whole thing slow down to a more manageable speed. 2. Take notes from the director. Remember, they want you to be good too. 3. Ask questions if you are unsure, but don’t get too complicated. 4. Ask to do it again if the way you did it the first time made you feel horrible. 4. Know that there is the possibility that even if you do your best you might not get it, but don’t decide that until you have tried your best. 5. Be honest. If you are not available for the dates, don’t audition. 6. Don’t harass the director afterwards. You will always be contacted if you got the part, and mostly, the director will say by when. 7. The industry in Cape Town is very small. Make sure you have a good reputation, and people enjoy working with you. Talent is only part of the package. 8. And finally, remember, the director has a big picture.
In my experience these are the things that count as much as talent when I am casting. 1. Reliability. When I am directing something for a corporate client I need to take it for granted that you will be at rehearsals on time, not miss any of them, be at the airport very early, and be constantly available to me by phone. If you aren’t there is a problem. 2. Team work. You have to get on with the rest of the cast, on and off stage. If I am casting for new characters to join an existing group of people I will always check in with the other cast members to see if they like the idea of working with you. I will always listen to them. 3. Reputation. What do other people in the industry say about you? Recently, I had my eye on someone who I thought was really talented and suited to a part. I asked around. People shared some interesting feedback and I realised that using her might be more work than I was prepared to take on. I trust my instincts. There are projects where I am completely prepared to take the risk and those where I am not. 4. Social behaviour. What are you like when I bump into you at a function or party? 5. I know this one might sound silly, but, do you know who I am and what I do? This is not about flattery. If I have done my homework on you, you can just as easily have done yours on me. Have you googled me? Checked me out on facebook? Do you understand the work?
I really hope this rambling post helps.