Does the size of the casting office play a role in your audition? I’ve had actors travel the room—behind us, around us—even when the camera’s been rolling! Misusing the space can be a disaster in an audition.

Every casting office is a little different, and most casting directors move offices at some point. I’m an indie casting director, so I move all the time. Sometimes I’m on a studio lot in an office provided for me, and sometimes I’m in a theater I rented for the week. Would you audition the same in a tiny office as you would on a theater’s stage? I hope not.

You will be most comfortable in your average-sized casting space because this is the most common space—a comfortable office or meeting room where an actor has plenty of room for movement. Not that you’re going to perform a full choreographed scene. It’s always best to keep it simple, but actors should have a plan for their physicality and their blocking. If you’ve never been to a specific office before, you have to be ready for anything. 

Sometimes it’s a tiny office. In close quarters you are going to be limited by the space, and you do not want to act like this is a problem. The space is the space. It’s not personal. I don’t like it any better than you do. Bringing it up doesn’t make the room bigger. If I could move us to a bigger room, I would. 

When I first began my casting career on non-union films at Roger Corman’s office, the only room available to me was the tiny intern’s office, which was not even an office, but a large closet they had converted. So, I’m auditioning actors in a room that allowed them almost no movement. The room was 12 x 14, and it had furniture in it!

Consider your scene and minimize any blocking you were planning to do in advance so you don’t get thrown during the read. I would go so far as to say practice the scene the night before with no movement so you are prepared for anything.

You may find yourself in a very large room. Just mark where the camera is (if there is one), and clarify who is your reader, and do the scene as you rehearsed it. Don’t feel that it is your job to fill up the space. Bigger is not better.

I’ve held auditions in theaters a couple of times. It’s far from ideal, so I don’t make a habit of it, but it was a learning experience. If you find yourself auditioning for a film in a theatrical setting, simply remember that similar to a large office, we don’t need to see you run around the stage. All your stage experience can work against you here because we’re not judging you based on your projection. Also, keep the level true to the material. We had to direct a lot of actors to perform smaller because they acted as if they were in front of a live theater audience. 

And then there are the self-taped auditions. These are becoming the norm for many projects. Even before 2020. Actors are in control of these, so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. A small space is best. The average room in the average house is great. Avoid kitchens. Too many distracting things in the background. Against a door works fine. 

There’s never a need, or even expectation that actors are going to pay for a space or taping in order to audition. Much of the time the self-tapes are the equivalent of the pre-reading phase of casting. We are trying to get a current look at you and see what you do with the scene. If we want to see how you take direction, we will schedule a time for you to come in and read for our director and producers. So, spending money on the pre-read is rarely going to make a big difference. 

It’s important to never let the space, big or small, get in the way of a great audition. No matter what, do the scene you prepared. It’s always better to focus on the work, not the square footage.

Interested in submitting a self-tape for your next audition? With Casting Frontier’s CF Cast Self-Tape solution, you have the ability to submit up to five takes from any device. Learn more here.

Written by Mark Sikes

Mark Sikes has cast over 100 films as well as television, commercials and voice-over. He recently published the book, Hollywood Made Simple, which outlines a simple approach to Hollywood for actors.