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Tips on How to Enter and Exit the Audition Room

November 19, 2015

Walking and greeting people are actions that most of us take for granted in our daily lives. Because, really, how much thought is necessary for such simple matters? But when you’re an auditioning actor who’s every motion and word delivery is being studied by, well, professional observers, entering and exiting the audition room takes on a new level of importance. Award-winning audition instructor, Craig Wallace from The Wallace Audition Technique insists that how you enter and exit an audition is indeed vital, arguing, “That’s fifty-percent of your audition.”

Entering the Audition Room

Wallace explains, “Everything goes back to your preparation.” When actors haven’t fully prepared for their role they can get stuck in self-doubt generally once inside the door. An unprepared actor is more likely to experience nervous thoughts upon entry, find him or herself inside the room before they know it, and not be focussed during the moment of first impressions. This lack of preparation is evident to the casting professionals, and can immediately start to work against the talent. On the other hand, when actors have dedicated themselves to the task at hand, it clearly shows even at the moment of entry. “If you have prepared the piece, and you know what you want and how you feel, and your choices are really strong for you, and you’re really committed, and you are in control, and you actually can’t wait to get in that room because what you’ve done is just so exciting to you and interesting to you, you will open the door and walk in that room so present that you’ll know exactly what to do,” Wallace says.

Exiting the Room

Okay, so the audition is coming to a close, and the casting professionals are thanking you for your time or your performance. How hard could it possibly be the exit the room? Well, according to Wallace, this can be another opportunity for an awkward moment. “People tend to bolt out of rooms. And it is so disconcerting especially if what they’ve done was pretty good. Then we don’t know what to think,” he says. So what’s an actor to do? “You need to hold your space,” Wallace asserts. What not to do: Utter a quick “thank you” and then rush to exit. Instead, take command of that last moment. He advises actors to say, “Thank you. It was great to be here,” then turn around and exit the room. This helps the audition feel finished. After all, as Wallace says, “If you feel strongly about what you’re doing in that room, you will stay there and support it. You will not run out on it.”

By preparing yourself for the role, and taking command of your presence from the moment the audition begins till the moment it ends, you shine like a professional. And it always helps when you increase your chances of booking the job.

If you’re interested in more insights from Craig Wallace, he has recently authored an auditioning book entitled The Best of You, Winning Auditions Your Way.

How to Get More Callbacks

December 16, 2012

Ok, we all agree callbacks are the name of the game, right? Right. If you don’t get called back, you can’t get the gig, right? Right. Well then, if I have a sure-fire way to procure more callbacks, would that be something you’d be interested in hearing? Right-right. Sessions Directors, better known as Camera Operators, have a unique perspective into the casting process: Every day, they witness actors making the same mistakes, and doing the same things properly. I recently spoke with a Session Director of twenty years who is still fascinated by the casting process and still loves his job. He asked to remain anonymous, as his profession requires neutrality and objectivity. I asked the mystery man–let’s call him Hugo–a very simple question to which he gave a very simple answer. I asked how an actor would get called back more frequently. “Simple,” he said, “It’s a simple matter of numbers.”

He continued, “If you just show up on time, memorize your lines, and listen to direction, you’re in the top twenty percent immediately.” I was incredulous; like a late-night infomercial it sounded too good to be true. He went on, “You’d be amazed at how many actors miss at least one of those steps.” This struck me instantly as a clarion call to actors everywhere: Keep It Simple & Remember the Basics. Hugo was soon on a roll, so I let him throttle his argument. “Let me give you an example of something that happens every day: I’ll bring twenty actors in for a group explanation; go over blocking, give direction, and generally let them know what the Director is looking for.” I was wondering how something so simple could get snafued. “And when they come in individually for the audition, how many do you think have a command of the dialogue, nail simple blocking, and listened to my direction? That’s right, twenty percent.” Right-right.

Hugo had a busy afternoon, so I let him get back to his session. But like a modern-day Columbo I had to ask just one more question. “So how does one get in the top ten percent, Hugo?” “You gotta be able to act,” he said.