Pet peeves - we all have them. I often get asked about my pet peeves as a Casting Director. As we move into a busy audition season, I felt it was an appropriate time to share some insider information on what makes most casting directors cringe. Avoid making these mistakes and you will be headed in the right direction!
1. UNPREPARED ACTORS
You have heard this one before. Make acting your business. Treat each and every audition as if it were a job interview (because it is). When actors come into the room apologizing for lack of preparation, we tune you out. We have heard it all and then some. By apologizing or making excuses, you are telling me that this audition was not of great importance to you. If you are unable to put in the time required to prepare a character/audition, do not waste our time. Chances are if you come into an audition unprepared you will not get a callback. I don't mean a callback for that particular project - I mean ever.
2. NOT FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS
Our job as casting directors is to find individuals who can take direction well and who conduct themselves professionally. TEST #1: Let's see who follows intstructions during the submission period. We begin judging you right from the beginning, before you even get into the room. If you are not represented and are submitting yourself to a project, ensure you read the submission instructions. We are not kidding when we say that your submission will be discarded if you do not follow the instructions carefully. This is the first test to see if you can take direction. Additionally, if it specficially says NO PHONE CALLS or NO DROP-INS on the breakdown, we mean it. In addition to not dropping-in unannounced, do not EVER drop in when we are closed. Closed means closed, even if we are in the office.
3. NO PERFUME/COLOGNE
Please be courtious and assume that someone at the audition facility may have sensitivity and allergies to perfume. I just so happen to be that person. Most audition facilities are scent free facilities. However, we always have certain actors who attend their audition wearing too much cologne or perfume. It is extremely difficult for me to watch your performance when I am preoccupied with allergies. I will NOT bring back performers who disregard the "scent free" policy.
4. TOO MUCH INFORMATION
We understand you have things going on in your life. Everyone does. But you must leave your baggage at the door. The audition is not the time to tell me about your agent troubles or what is going on at your job. Make this time about the craft and the work!
4. TOO MANY QUESTIONS
I pride myself in making myself available to answer questions. I actually appreciate actors who bring thoughtful questions to my attention.
They say there is no such thing as a stupid question...trust me, there is.
"Did you get a submission from my agent?"
Discuss this with your agent - not the casting director. If you already know that you have been submitted and are fishing to see if we will be bringing you in... DON'T. Be a professional and go through the appropriate avenues.
"Are you going to bring me in to audition?"
My people will call your people. I have never wanted to bring someone in for an audition and not got in touch. Please do not put me on the spot. Wait for the call.
"Can you let me know either way?"
No. We do not have time to respond to every actor who auditions. You will usually only receive a call if we would like to book you.
"What projects are you working on? Is there anything for me?"
This is a big pet peeve. Actors should do their reasearch. Many times, I am not at liberty to tell you what I am working on, let alone if you are right for one of the roles.
"What role do you think I should submit for?"
I simply do not have time to help everyone figure out what role they would be right for. Please submit yourself for as many roles as you honestly think you would be right for. We will make the decision and contact you if we want to see you for one.
So, my breakdown says that I am looking for a star name. This means I am looking for someone who will help us bring in the financing. Someone recognizable ex: Kate Winslet, Ryan Gossling, Rachel McAdams, etc. Please be realistic when you or your agent submit. If I am looking for a thin woman in her 20's and you are 45, on the plump side, please do not submit for that particular role. I'm happy to receive a general submission - perhaps there is something suitable for you that has not been posted. However, if you submit yourself and are completely wrong for the role, I will NOT take you seriously.
6. NO SHOW/NO CALL
I have zero tolerance for no-show/no-call actors. We do our best to give notice for auditions and I provide my number for day-of contact. So, when I experience no-shows with no call, I add you to my shit-list on the first strike. There are too many people dying to get into the room for a shot at the role for actors who don't show up to be easily forgiven. Of course, there are emergency circumstances and I will take those into consideration.
Actors who do not look like their headshot - please see above. Casting directors bring you in based on the photo we see in your submission. If we are looking for a blonde and you come in a brunette, we have a big problem. Adding to this, actors must always bring a copy of their headshot/resume to the audition. Even if you have auditioned for me before, always bring a copy. Most times, the director or producer will take the pile of headshots/resumes with them after the session. You want to ensure that your materials are in that pile.
NOW...those are some of my pet peeves that I hope you will take into consideration. I have to say that I have an equally long list of reasons why actors inspire me and make me love my job! I want to see you all succeed and am here for those "not-so-stupid" questions.