1. Material. Never assume the copy will be easy or unsubstantial enough for you to “wing it” or cold read at the audition. It shows the casting director that you are not taking the audition seriously, and we would rather have given the appointment to someone else who wanted the job more than you.
2. Punctuality. Never arrive late or assume there is a “window” for you to fit into, unless your agent has instructed you otherwise. Scheduling auditions involves a very complex grid of variables, and it’s important to be respectful of that. Arriving late – flustered and unfocused – will never land you the job.
3. Wardrobe. “My agent just called me about the audition an hour ago, so I’m sorry for the way I’m dressed.” NO. You are a commercial actor, and you should expect last-minute auditions. Keep a bag in the trunk of your car with several wardrobe choices suited to the types of roles for which you are most commonly called. For example: casual lifestyle, fitness, corporate, or even a bathrobe. If you don’t have exactly what is called for (i.e. a white physician lab coat), create the essence with an oversized white button down shirt.
4. Headshot and resume. Don’t assume that you don’t need hard copies just because you’re auditioning for a commercial. Last week, I cast a commercial for a feature film director. You never know when you’ll be asked for materials, so you should always have them with you.
5. Over-preparation. Do not over-rehearse your dialogue. Yes, of course, you should be prepared and make strong choices with the material. However, you must not be so attached to your choices that you can’t take direction in the room. In my workshops, I teach the importance of improv training specifically for this reason. Eye contact. Personally, I feel an actor should never make eye-contact while delivering sides. It feels awkward and itʼs the quickest way to get us to look away from you while you are acting. Your safest bet is to look into the camera lens, unless we tell you otherwise.
Avoid these common mistakes and you will be more confident walking into the audition. Now, go get the job!
Now that you know what not to do, prove it by browsing Backstage's film audition listings! And check out the video below for more casting director advice.
Danielle Eskinazi is an award-winning casting director. Over more than two decades casting films, television, theater, and commercials, Eskinazi has cast such talent as David Bowie, Rosanna Arquette, and Woody Harrelson, while also launching the careers of now-successful actors including Hank Azaria and Milla Jovovich. Today Danielle Eskinazi Casting has cast over 3,000 national and regional commercial spots. Danielle has been nominated for the Talent Managers Association prestigious Seymour Heller Award for Best Commercial Casting Director of 2009, and was a runner up twice for Favorite Commercial Casting Director in Backstage West. Danielle's latest venture is Actvice, an online service she created to give immediate and invaluable feedback on audition rehearsals, monologues, scenes, reels, and/or headshots. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleCasting or like her on Facebook.