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Acting Advice From Actors

Often times when you go to an audition you will be required to audition with another actor, a group of actors or with a reader. When it comes to auditioning, these situations need to be handled differently. Upon arriving at the audition, try to find out as soon as possible whether you are auditioning with somebody else, a group of actors or with a reader. If you are with another actor or actors then there should be a schedule up somewhere showing your audition time and the actors auditioning with you. If it is an “open” casting with no set times then the assistant should be able to tell you what is going to happen and when.

In this article, I will provide some audition victory tips when it comes to auditioning with another actor (or actors)…

Once you have found out you will be auditioning versus another actor see if it’s possible to locate that person. The most effective way is to just ask out loud to the audition group if that person is there or not. If they are there, then ask them politely if they would certainly like to join you briefly to “run lines” someplace quiet and away from the rest of the other actors.

Once you and your fellow actor are away from the main group of other waiting actors don’t go straight into working on your lines. If you have time you will want to try and get to know the other person. Your goal is to get as comfortable with one another as you possibly can and as quickly as you can. Start to ask them simple questions. Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? Etc. Listen intently and begin a conversation on whatever it is that piques your interest or something in common. Remember the goal is not to “learn” about them, but to make each other comfortable with one another. Taking the time to do this will enhance your ability to “connect” with the other actor during the audition. It will allow you to be more relaxed and therefore you should work better together.

After you have spent about sometimes getting to know one another and you feel comfortable with the other actor, you can begin to ask them for their interpretation of the scene. How do they see the characters interacting? Discuss things you can do together to make the audition scene work best for you both. What improvisation can you both bring to make the scene come alive? Make sure you are both on the same page. Begin to practice the scene together and don’t worry about if you make mistakes. It’s more important that you learn how the other actor works and how you can work with them effectively during the audition.

Be sure you don’t attempt to point out all of the other’s actor’s mistakes or try to give them notes on what you think they should be doing. This will only generate resentment from the other actor and you will lose any connection you may have together. Work with the other actor, not versus them.

During the audition…

After both of you have provided your “slate” there are a few key items you need to be aware of before beginning your audition:

1. Know what your “marks” are. Where do you need to stand in relation to the other actor? Make sure you are not falling out of the camera field or turning your back to the camera when you are interacting with the other actor.

2. Know your eye line. Be sure to check that your eye line still keeps your face in view of the camera. The scene may not always require you to be looking directly at the other actor when delivering your lines, so be aware of where you should be looking.

3. Know what type of shot the casting director will be using. Will it be a 2 shot (both actors in the frame)? Will it be a close-up on you? A close-up on the other actor? A mid shot? The type of shot will determine how far you can move around the set and how much emphasis to put on your performance.

If it’s not already suggested by the casting director, be sure to ask them if it’s alright to have a rehearsal before you begin. This will allow you to make sure you are hitting your “marks” and will provide an opportunity for the casting director to perhaps offer you some feedback before filming begins. It also allows you to get a feel for the other actor on set as sometimes actors will behave differently when they find themselves in front of a camera or another person.

When you are auditioning with another actor, it is very much a team effort. Your focus should always be to make them look good, because if you make them look good, you will undoubtedly make yourself look good in the process. Never try to show the other actor up, make them look bad, hog the camera, distract them, or try to make your performance better than theirs. Your goal is not to upstage them. This will only end badly and could give you a negative name in the industry.

If during the audition you find the other actor is not assisting you, not giving you much to work with or they do something completely different from what you rehearsed together, don’t let it throw you or discourage you – adapt the situation to suit you. Go with it, be in control, stay focused on your performance and continue as if nothing is wrong.

If your audition does turn out to be a total disaster through something the other actor did or didn’t do, then you can try staying behind until after they have left and request another audition with a different actor. Don’t say anything negative about the other actor. Be polite and explain you believe you could be able to provide a much better performance if you were able to redo your audition with another actor. The worst they can say is “No” and therefore you’ve lost nothing by asking. However, there is a possibility they may have noticed the same thing you did and they are willing to give you another shot. This will, however, be dependent on available time and the number of auditions they have to get through.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a possibility to audition over again. Chalk it down as more experience. There is always the possibility they may look at your tape, feel that you have the right “look” and regardless of the supposed disastrous performance, you are given a call back to have one more shot. It happens.

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