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Backstage Experts

Booking Is a Separate Beast

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Booking Is a Separate Beast

In all the years that I have been working as an actor, I cannot recall ever completely duplicating my audition during a shoot. Inevitably something gets changed. So much so sometimes I think to myself, “This is so different from my audition, why did they even pick me?” The answer is simple. Booking is a separate beast! When you understand that booking a job is not necessarily how you’re going to shoot the job, then you will start separating out the two and see booking as it’s own art form. Trust me on this, guys, I have booked over 40 films and 30 television shows, in addition to helping actors book when I was a personal manager for nine years, personally coached thousands of actors for 20 years, and witnessed them booking big jobs! I actually have 18 series regular student bookings since last January.

So what constitutes a booking? Well, it would take an entire “War and Peace”-sized gigantic book to describe that one to you, but what I will tell you is that you have to be dynamic. Actors are so afraid of “going over the top” that they actually put a cap on their own performance. Did you know that going over the top is simply not being in truth? If you are in exact truth according to the writer’s intent and you are in the tone and style of the show or film, then why are you hitting it at a comfortable seven when you should be hitting it at a 10+ to take the job? Why get all dressed up and inconvenience yourself to get to an audition and not go there to book it?

Instead of running your scene with anyone that will help you (whilst you flatten the hell out of your transitions), why not section out the beginning, middle, and end of your script and work your transitions? Sit with each feeling, know where it is for you and if you understand exactly what you are saying and feeling. Look for every transition and keep switching them effortlessly like a precision driver. If you run your lines, then they will most certainly sound like lines run.

Another thing that constitutes a booking is knowing what you are doing. Why would anyone hire you if you don’t know what you’re doing? Trust me, the last thing a casting director wants to hear from their boss is that they messed up by bringing you into their producer session and onto a set only to find out that you don’t know what you are doing.

Also, are you prepared to shoot the scene right there in the office? If not, then don’t go to that audition. This is an “add water and stir” business. I’m sorry, but no one cares about your process. Are you there to deliver the goods or not? Stop thinking that you’re going to get a second take or an adjustment to help you hit it exactly where they want you to be. If six actors are brought in for one job and five actors get it right on the first take, why would they bring back the sixth actor who needed an adjustment? Be logical. Look at this business as a business. If the tables were turned, would you do business with you? Are you conducting yourself as a business? Are you really ready to work? This isn’t a joke. This is the real deal. Information is power! 

Here’s to booking big!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Amy Lyndon is a Los Angeles acting teacher, creator of the Lyndon Technique, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Lyndon’s full bio!

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