How To Stand Out From A Crowd When Auditioning

Posted on

Auditioning is one of the most difficult things you can do as an actor. Memorizing lines, standing in front of strangers, and pouring your heart out is a continually stressful process. However, it is a necessary evil in order to secure your dream roles. While there is a lot of advice out there in pursuit of that goal, here are a few things you can do to ensure you make your mark:

  1. Remember your posture

Standing tall means confidence, and casting directors want to make sure their hires are sure of themselves on and off the set. Stand at your full height and keep your arms at your sides for the most part. Too much movement in general will distract your audience and make you seem nervous.

  1. Take direction well

If given notes by people in the room (casting director, director, producer etc.), take them with grace and professionalism. You are being evaluated on your degree of collaboration, and if you huff and puff you will make the room uneasy about hiring you.

  1. Make bold choices

Make a choice and stick with it. After dozens of slow moving, boring auditions, try to be a breath of fresh air for casting directors. It will make both their and your experience more enjoyable. If you’re afraid to make a choice, make sure to practice adequately with friends, loved ones, or in front of the mirror.

  1. Prepare the right amount

Both over and under preparing are a mistake when approaching an audition. Over-prepare and you can risk looking rigid. Under-prepare and you’ll be frozen in place asking for lines. However, knowing the lines but also leaving room open for some improvisation / collaboration will result in a perfect audition. Being prepared also means having your headshots and contact information ready to go. If needs be, keep extras on hand at all times.

  1. Go with the flow

If you make a mistake or are asked to do something unexpected, don’t balk at the circumstances. Instead, use this friction as an opportunity to show the audience your stuff. On a real set, you will be faced with numerous hurdles – an audition is great practice.

  1. Be polite

It might seem like an obvious suggestion, but the number of actors who forget proper manners in an audition room would shock you. Set yourself apart from the crowd by being present, polite, and thanking the individuals in the room once your audition is complete.

  1. Enjoy the moment

Regardless of how the audition turns out, this is your moment to shine, and the process by which you get closer to achieving your dreams as an actor. Relax, take a deep breath, and try to focus on the work itself –not the eventual outcome.

If you follow these tips you too can have a successful audition. Overall, the best piece of advice is that you should be true to yourself. You might be an actor, but allowing your personality to shine through the role is more important than any part you could ever play.

Whole Body Auditioning

Posted on


During a recent meeting with some casting and film director friends about what actors needed to do to book work, two words were repeated again and again: Embodied and personal.


It is no longer enough to play your idea of the role, you need to be a living, breathing embodiment of the role.

To achieve this high level it’s essential to center your preparation in the body and heart – not the mind. The mind is a literal organ that exists primarily to keep you safe. It will tell you what the piece is about and give you a few obvious ways to play it. If you prepare from the mind – and too many actors do – you won’t be showing the people in the room who you are and how you feel, only what you think.

Your brain will have an opinion about how you feel, your body will know how you feel.

Everything that we experience is taken in thorough the 3 sense doors of the mind, body and heart. The body is the least explored and also the most revealing. We have a physical reaction to everything that happens to us and that reaction is the truest one that we can have, because the body has no agenda but to show you how you feel.

Remember though, it all starts at the very beginning. How you start is how you finish and many actors start their “preparation” before they have relaxed the mind and connected with their body. You only get the first chance with the material once, so make sure that before you begin your mind is calm and focused and your body is awake and energized. This mental and physical positioning will ensure that you are operating at the full strength of your creative (not mental) powers from the very start and that you will continue to do so throughout your preparation.

Here is a way to start your process by establishing a deep connection to the body so that you have access to all of the honest, clear, compelling information that lives there.

Read the piece through out loud feeling your physical reaction to all of your character’s words and all of the other characters words. Let your body tell you how you feel by where you might be tightening or relaxing. Do certain words make your stomach clench or your breath catch in your throat? Do others relax your shoulders and open your chest? Note it all – it’s the most specific information you’ll get about how you truly feel.

Now, note the emotions that the body sensation trigger. For instance, if someone says something that scares you and you tightened the stomach and held the breath, the associated emotions could be fear, or panic or even anger. Allow your body to instruct your heart and reveal your true feelings. These feeling will become strong, connected and honest choices – choices that the brain, by the way, probably wouldn’t have allowed you access to.

Working this way you become the actor who have instills the role with all of the power and truth that results from wrapping your body and heart completely around the words on the page.

The people watching will not be able to separate you from the words and will have no choice but to hire you – they have to, you’re already are the role.

Embodiment in audition is the ability to physically manifest the words on the page. If you have prepared correctly, you arrive at the audition needing to do nothing more than speak, listen and be. You are no longer an actor acting or reading the words, trying to communicate the thoughts of the brain. You are a person being.

Personal embodiment isn’t just the new battle cry in casting, it should be the goal of every actor who is in this not just to book the occasional job, but to have a long, successful career. This is not a time for shortcuts and tricks. It’s a time for the real actors to learn how to connect to their bodies and hearts, step up to the plate and start booking. You’ll never have a better chance than right now.



Craig Wallace’s background in script development combined with his 16 years of coaching actors enables him to find the job getting moments that others miss. His expertise in breaking down text and years of coaching experience has made him “L.A.’s go to private coach.” Sign up for his group or private classes at

Awkward Auditions

Posted on

The uplifting musical love story La La Land pulled in seven Golden Globe nominations earlier this week. The film is up for consideration for best picture, best director, and best actor and actress awards for its stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The story follows the journey of two aspiring performers in Los Angeles. At one point, Stone’s character auditions for a small film role before a casting director who takes a phone call in the middle of her read.

During an interview, Gosling revealed that this scenario actually once happened to him during an audition. “Yeah, where I had to cry and this lady took a call in the middle of it. And then just told me to go on, ‘Pick up where I left off.’ That was part of what was great about making this film was [writer-director Damien Chazelle] encouraged us to bring our experiences to these characters,” Gosling recalled. Stone likewise relayed her own set of audition stories to Chazelle. Taking notes, he soon found a way to weave these experiences into the movie that’s being described as an “ode to those who dream of making it big.”

If there’s one thing for sure, when actors enter the audition room, it’s that they have to be ready for just about anything. Among the many actors who have shared their unexpected and awkward audition-room tales is Broadway’s Tracie Thoms. Here she describes something that just seemed to take over her as she auditioned before Quentin Tarantino for Death Proof.

YouTube Preview Image

And Color Purple star Heather Headley recounts the time casting seemed to pay her no notice as she sang her heart out with stunning brilliance.

YouTube Preview Image

Another singing audition came from CBS’ Two Broke Girls actress Beth Behrs. She recalls a bit of an embarrassing audition in which she sang with a mismatched style before casting. In return, she received feedback that opened her eyes as far as which kind of roles to pursue in her career.

YouTube Preview Image

And lastly, the next time you hear the Aflac duck in a commercial, you might think of Will & Grace actor Sean Hayes who did not land the role of the silly duck.

YouTube Preview Image

Have you ever had an absurd or awkward incident along these lines while auditioning? Please share!




7 Ways TV Commercials Can Help Build Your Television and Film Career

Posted on
YouTube Preview Image
  1. TV Commercials are the fastest way to get on national television, make great residual income and begin building a recognizable brand in the TV/Film casting community.
  1. The Actors Search! When you do a National Commercial, due to the hundreds of times it runs on television, the exposure can lead to a TV/Film Casting Director that is casting a project calling you in to audition because you fit the type they are looking for in one of the roles they are casting.
  1. Commercial Casting Directors that also cast films. Some Commercial Casting Directors also cast Independent and major Films. When you work well with commercial casting offices you can also get called in to audition for Films.
  1. Commercial Directors that also direct television shows. The Russo Brothers, Ridley Scott, Joe Pytka etc…are Television and Film Directors that also direct TV Commercials. When you work well on-set on a TV Commercial, you will be remembered and favored in casting offices, by Commercial Directors that also direct TV and Film.
  1. Commercials to put on your Theatrical Demo Reel! The “Slice of Life” TV commercial (the 30 second scene in a sitcom type of commercials) can be put on your Theatrical Demo Reel. Some Theatrical Agents even request it as it can help the Agent pitch you for certain TV/Film roles, especially when you don’t have a reel.
  1. On-Camera Audition Skill Building. Some of your TV/Film auditions will be recorded in the Casting Directors office and sent to the Director. Most Scene Study and Improv classes are not on-camera so the actor does not develop the skills needed to audition well at TV/Film castings when being recorded on-camera. All work in our 4 Week Course is done on-camera. Helping the actor build great audition technique skills that are necessary and helpful in TV/Film Casting Offices.
  1. The fastest way to become SAG/AFTRA and make all or most of the money back quickly to regain the dues you had to spend to join the Union (Guild). Moreover, most major TV/Film Casting Directors will not audition you for television shows and films if you are not SAG/AFTRA. Your major TV/Film career trajectory will accelerate when you become SAG/AFTRA. Commercials can help you get there faster!


Booking Coach Mike Pointer of Hey, I Saw Your Commercial! Has helped thousands of actors over the last 17 years book hundreds of national television commercials as well as television and film work. Coach Mike, a successful commercial actor for over 28 years himself, teaches outstanding, cutting edge strategies that has helped hundreds of actors quit their day jobs, and build a successful career in TV commercials. Coach Mike’s powerful on-camera techniques and outstanding business strategies has set a new standard and cutting edge approach in the on-camera commercial training industry. These classes are highly recommended by top commercial agencies as well as top Managers, and Casting Directors that also teach classes!

Casting Director David Rubin Reveals What He Looks for in Talent

Posted on
YouTube Preview Image

In this PBS interview, Casting Director and Academy Governor David Rubin shares insights into how he makes casting decisions. Rubin’s casting resume includes a long impressive list of box office hits including Gravity, Men in Black, Hairspray, and The English Patient. He’s also received an Emmy for casting HBO’s Game Change.

According to Rubin, “The most important thing for an actor to bring to the table is themselves, their own idiosyncrasy. And so many actors get preoccupied with what they thing the filmmaker is looking for. And frankly, what we’re looking for is them.”

He has expressed similar ideas about this topic last year when interviewed by the Academy. When asked the number one thing that he looks for as a casting director, he responded: “I look for compelling and, ideally, unexpected ways of portraying each character. Our choice of each actor must help tell the film’s story in a particular way and hopefully gives it a depth and a dynamic that might even go beyond what the screenwriter and other filmmakers had originally envisioned. In order to do that, I’m looking for actors who are skilled in their craft and who bring an individuality that makes them distinct from so many others.”

Rubin also addressed what actors sometimes do that stop him from considering them for roles. He said: “The most important thing for an actor to do in a casting situation is to prepare well and make clear choices for your character in the audition scene. We realize you often don’t have access to a complete script and are making guesses about the character, based on little information, but making firm choices and playing with conviction is the key. So what really turns me off is the lack of distinct choice. Even if an actor is wrong for that role, if they’re true to their instincts and are committed to their acting choices, I’ll remember them and happily have them in for a future film!”

In his quest to deliberately open up roles to actors among a diverse talent pool, Rubin has a practice of ignoring screenwriters’ character descriptions early on. “It’s not that I don’t respect the intentions of a screenwriter. But writers describe characters very specifically, NOT for the filmmakers, but really for studio executive and financiers, so they’ll read the script and see a movie in their heads which they’ll hopefully want to finance and distribute. But once a movie is in pre-production and we’re contemplating casting options, I think it’s best to forget about specifics like age, race and gender and just think about who are the actors who would be believable in a role and help drive the story forward in interesting ways.” Broadening the casting options becomes an important part of the conversation with filmmakers as they explore various ways to bring life to each of the characters in any given project.

And actors should keep in mind that when they believe they’ve  botched an audition, don’t worry about it. Any “mistake” just might be what most intrigues casting directors like Rubin. “Often those are the most illuminating auditions to me–those kind of organic moments where an actor connects with a character even though they may not even realize that they’re doing it,” he says.

Audition with Confidence Using The Wallace Audition Technique

Posted on
YouTube Preview Image

Actors who want to regard the auditioning room as a place that brings out the best in themselves as opposed to a “necessary evil” in the casting process will want to strongly consider attending Craig Wallace’s classes to learn The Wallace Audition Technique. Craig’s clear, wise, knowledgeable, and caring voice consistently shines through whether you hear him speak or read his written word. He created the technique 17 years ago to give actors the skills and confidence to audition at their highest level in pursuit of television and film work.

Wallace classes are intimate, instructing small groups of eight or nine students. A large emphasis is placed on experiential learning whereas verbal instruction takes about 20-percent of class time.

“In a TV or film audition [casting professionals] don’t want to see a character; they want to see ‘you,'” Wallace says. “They want to see the particular set of possibilities that you, and only you, have to offer. So my technique gives you a way to go inside of yourself, to discover, and then to access these specific qualities that have the strongest resonance for any role that you’re auditioning for.”

Craig believes a severely under-taught, if not ignored, portion of acting instruction is how actors present themselves in the room. For this reason, he specifically covers the subject matter of how to run a room. “You have to be a strong presence in the room. You have to give the people in there the confidence to hire you.” After all, he believes an actor’s compelling presence determines 50-percent of the reason he or she lands a role.

Classes include Fundamentals to learn strategies to discover and cultivate your unique qualities; Master classes for a more deep and highly personalized approach to auditioning; and Casting Session classes which create a “real” casting environment accompanied with in-depth playback analysis. In addition, Craig offers by-appointment private coaching classes as well as career consultations to help actors efficiently and effectively achieve their short- and long-term goals.

You might recognize Craig Wallace by his many insightful online articles discussing a wide array of topics pertaining to auditioning. He also authored a highly reviewed book entitled The Best of You–Winning Auditions Your Way. Wallace drew his knowledge from many years of leadership experience with various top entertainment companies, specifically pertaining to talent and script development.

Here are some reviews from students who completed coursework with The Wallace Audition Technique:

“Craig is an amazing teacher. You can tell he genuinely cares about the students which I feel like is really rare. You’re not just a number. He actually cares about you as a person and an actor.”

“I think because he’s such a beautiful person, and teaches in such a beautiful, personal, specific way that the people that are attracted to classes are really lovely, genuine people.”

“[The classes have] a small, intimate vibe, and very safe and very comforting.”

“You feel like you walk away with a lot every time.”

Interested actors can learn more about his classes on The Wallace Audition Technique website.


The Acting Center Helps Actors Trust Their Instincts

Posted on
YouTube Preview Image

One of the top-rated acting schools in Los Angeles is The Acting Center. It’s touted as “a new acting and improv school based on a rediscovered technique buried for the last 80 years.” Founded in 2006, the center’s television, film, and theater professors specialize in producing “uniformly confident, completely certain actors who can create any character–in any emotion, in any situation–instantly.” Regardless of an actor’s level of skill or experience, an emphasis is placed on students fully trusting their creative instincts, and honing their authentic expression.

According to the center’s website, the curriculum includes hands-on technique that is “based on learning by doing (versus watching, analyzing, overthinking) and for that reason every actor works in every class and for most of every class.” In the above video, experienced actress Erika Christensen explains how the various methods taught at the school avoid teaching an actor that his or her choices are right or wrong. Instead, she found that she was able to expand beyond what she considered to be her range which she found to be “a completely inspiring experience.”

Another student, Jason Steed, explains how he regained his confidence at The Acting Center. In previous acting classes, instructors had essentially taught the aspiring thespians to question their creative choices. This left Steed, and so many others, feeling insecure. In fact, Steed admits he came to doubt his acting abilities altogether. He contrasts those potentially damaging kinds of instruction with TAC’s approach, saying it’s “a space to create, and that’s what I love…and now I’ve got my acting chops back.” He can confidently enter the audition room doors with the conviction that he’s got something unique to offer. “There’s only one of me, and that’s what the technique is making me realize, that my ideas are unique to everybody else’s.”

Actress Rita Fiora likewise attended TAC, and describes how she used to worry she was wrong in her approach while at auditions. “And then you get in front of the casting director, and you think you’re wrong. And they pick up that you think that you’re wrong, and so obviously you’re wrong. You’re never right for the part.” Since her classwork at TAC, she no longer feels afraid of being critiqued. Instead, the now self-assured actress says, “You know that you’re doing exactly what you know you as the character would do…You’re right for what you would do.”

Most importantly, Christensen, Steed, and Fiora describe their subsequent auditions and role work going to a whole new level after taking the courses. “You think different, you move different, and you might talk different…and you’ve allowed yourself to become someone else without any stops, and it feels like magic. You feel free,” Fiora insists. And after scene study and improv classes at TAC, Christensen asserts that while working on a movie, “I noticed that I didn’t have to contrive any of the emotion or manipulate it, which is fascinating to experience.”

The Acting Center offers courses in scene study, improv for adults, teens and kids, acting for young adults, as well as private coaching.

YouTube Preview Image


Posted on

How long was your last audition – two minutes? If you were prepared with a driving intent, connected alive relationships, dynamic choices AND you started with a strong opening beat than, yes, it probably was 2 minutes.

However, if your first beat was unfocused and weak, it was probably only 10 seconds long.

You see, the first ten seconds is when you need to grab the people in the room and get them to pay attention. Right before you read everyone in the room is waiting for you to blow them away, and hoping that you’re the one. But, if you haven’t prepared your piece in a way that allows you to get out of the gate fast and engage them from the very start – you’ve lost the room.


Your opening beat will either draw people toward you or push them away. It will secure their full attention for 2 minutes or close the door after 10 seconds.

I hear actors say too often that their reading started off a bit rough, but it picked up after a few lines. Too late. They may let you continue, but you have already been dismissed from their minds and their consideration.

Remember as well that the people auditioning you, whether in the room or on tape, are logging information as to what you would do if you actually had the job. If it takes you one, two three beats to get into a piece what does that tell them? It tells them that when “Action” is called on set you won’t be able to deliver the opening of the scene. If you need warm up beats in your audition, they will assume that’s what you’ll need on set and nothing will have them looking for someone else faster than that.

Also consider that you have to earn their attention. In a performance the assumption is that if people are watching you they are paying close attention. Not so in an audition. There may be people sitting in front of you and looking in your direction, but the degree of attention they pay has everything to do with how you open the piece. When you pick your eyes up and connect to the reader and to your choices, it has to be so compelling that they can’t look anywhere else. If you aren’t fully present from the first moment, they won’t be fully present with you after that.

The beginning of a piece is a real test of your preparation skills and your confidence in the decisions that came from applying those skills. You need a way of preparing that helps you to find an overriding intent that sets you firmly and passionately on your path from moment one – a technique that allows you access to the chambers of your heart that house the most personal and resonant relationships, so that your connections are strong, revealing and captivating right off the bat – a way of working that also brings out the brightest, most dynamic and original choices that hook them immediately and make them realize they’re seeing someone special.

Actors who work have the confidence to jump into their read. They trust that the net that they have woven during their preparation will keep them a loft so they are free to take the initial leap and then continue to soar.



Craig Wallace’s background in script development combined with his 16 years of coaching actors enables him to find the job getting moments that others miss. His expertise in breaking down text and years of coaching experience has made him “L.A.’s go to private coach.” Sign up for his group or private classes at



Tips For Kids To Win Auditions

Posted on



You know the expression “kids say the darndest things”? This is where the spontaneous, organic personality of the child can win them the job. Interview questions are almost always asked when a child auditions for a commercial, TV show or film. There is no copy for them to learn, no scene to play. You’re just asked random questions by the session director, casting director or director. The goal of this is to observe the child’s personality.

I dreaded this type of audition, and for years I never booked one. I focused obsessively on the questions, and agonized over my answers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.19.17 AM

One day, a session director told me that the director and clients often watch these auditions with the volume turned completely off. Immediately, I realized the purpose and potential of the random question. It’s all about our personality—how we come across on camera.

Using this nugget of information, I changed my whole approach to this audition.

Since it’s your personality that they are looking for, I needed something to talk about that turns me on, that I am passionate about, something I can discuss fluently without worrying or running out of specific details.

Now I always talk about one of three subjects that make my eyes and face light up: hiking, my son, or my dog, Sparky. To sail through the interview question audition with ease, you must approach it the same way: The child should have three things that he or she is passionate about, subjects that they can talk about easily and effortlessly and in detail. The details let’s the child’s personality shines through. Here are some ideas:

  • Your favorite game or at home activity
  • An anecdote about a family member
  • A story about your pet
  • Foods you love or hate

When asked a question, find a quick way to segue or transition to talking about one of your favorite subjects.

Keep your answers brief, but detailed and specific. The more details and specifics the child can add, the more the personality comes out! The truth is, they are just trying to see your personality on camera.

Beware of three taboo subjects—avoid this at all cost.


They want you to be an actor and a skilled one but do not want to hear about it. They secretly think they are discovering you in the local farmers’ market and putting you in their commercial campaign.


Politics are just too controversial and should be avoided at all costs. Even if you’re running for senate, leave it alone! This should not be a problem for most kids anyway.


Anything having to do with religion is generally taboo.

Kids who can relax and just get chatting about one of their subjects or a funny anecdote always are remembered, as being memorable is the key helping you get booked for jobs

The beauty about this technique is that you never have to think about the answer because you already know it.

Practice this technique with some of these commonly asked questions and see how it works for you:

  • What was your favorite vacation?
  • Do you have any hobbies?
  • Any plans for the summer?
  • What’s your favorite subject in school?
  • What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  • What do you do when you get home?
  • What kind of foods you love?
  • What kind of foods you hate?
  • Who is the most important person in your life?
  • What is your most treasured possession?
  • Which is your favorite TV show?
  • If you had a super power, what would it be?
  • If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

The answers should never sound prepared or rehearsed, but spontaneous and honest. Why? Because kids do say the darndest things!

Judy Kain has been a full-time actress for over 35 years, appearing in over 80 television and film roles and 375 commercials. Judy teaches her successful audition technique to thousands of students at her Los Angeles studio, Keep it Real Acting. Judy has won multiple awards, including Backstage Magazine’s 2015 Readers’ Choice Award for “Favorite Audition Teacher.”  Her latest book –  I Booked It!: The Commercial Actor’s Handbook – teaches readers practical techniques for booking acting jobs.  Available now at Amazon and through her website,


Keep It Real Acting logo

Audition Tips from Casting Session Director Jeric Wilhelmsen

Posted on
YouTube Preview Image

In a series from Keep It Real Acting‘s Callback Class videos, Casting Session Director Jeric Wilhelmsen shares a number of helpful insights with aspiring actors. Experienced session directors like Wilhelmsen operate the camera and give direction to potentially hundreds of actors on any given day. In other words, they have a tremendous vantage point in the casting process. For instance, they often assist various casting directors, and support the work of commercial executives, directors, and producers. Moreover, they work with a vast quantity of auditioning actors. And specifically, they see the energy actors bring into the room, observe the creative choices they make as well as how well actors receive direction. Session runners also see which individuals ultimately land roles.

With all of this casting knowledge, Jeric asserts just how important an actor’s state of mind is when he or she enters the audition room. “I think the number one key in auditioning in callbacks is feeling comfortable and confident in the room,” he says. While it can be a challenge to feel at ease in a room with casting professionals inspecting every move you make, Wilhelmsen insists:

“[The casting professionals] are not monsters. They’re just people like us. And they’re doing their job. And their job is to look at you, and see is this the right person…You’ve got to walk into that room like you are offering them a solution. Because they’re searching, they need somebody that can be themselves, who can read this dialogue, and make it look natural, and really sell it.”

Believing you are the answer to their talent search stands in stark contrast with trying hard to please casting.“They’re not looking for someone who’s scared they’re doing something wrong,” Jeric says. And he aims to empower each actor that comes his way as he asserts, “My job is really to allow you to be yourself and show what you’ve got. And then we’ll give a direction whichever way we think it should go…and we’ll see if you follow that direction.” 

According to Jeric, if an actor’s take after direction seems stronger than the initial read, sometimes he will edit the audition tape so that the director sees that stronger read first. But he admits he never assumes he knows exactly what casting is looking for in any particular role. Sometimes his convictions don’t match those of the director; and sometimes in the fluid world of casting, the qualities that seem so important in the beginning end up not being so important after all.

“There’s been so many times where I’ve had an impression of what they’re looking for, and I’ve directed actors like that for the first call. And then we come to the callback, and the director is doing something entirely different…So I don’t fine tune people; I just allow them to be themselves,” Jeric says.

Ultimately, fitting the physical characteristics of the role at hand, feeling comfortable in your own skin, and being confident in your ability to make creative decisions are all key aspects of auditioning well in commercials.

And if Jeric looks familiar to you, it might be because he lands commercial acting roles himself!