Actors need to think about their attitude when it comes to getting cast. As a casting director, nothing turns me off faster than an actor with a bad attitude. The worst part is some of those who’ve had the worst attitude are phenomenal actors.
During one audition, I had an actress come into the room with the worst behavior I’ve ever seen. She took over the room, but not in a good way. It was obvious to the director, myself, our reader, and even the camera operator that she thought she was better than us. During the time, she told us what we were doing wrong, how unprofessional we were, and yelled at our reader for not reading right. The sad part was, we’d have been open to hearing what she had to say if it had come out in a different way. The thing that made it worse? She nailed the audition acting-wise. I have no doubt we would have hired her for the role if she hadn’t displayed such an unprofessional attitude towards her potential director and producer.
I tell this story not to condemn, but in the hopes that it will be a cautionary tale to those who struggle to keep their emotions in check.
We have to keep our emotions close to the surface as actors, but we still need to make sure to have a professional and genuine friendliness to any potential job we audition for, no matter how unprofessional the casting room.
A friend of mine was recently at an audition in New York for a student project. It quickly became apparent those holding the casting call were not acting in a professional manner. My friend could have used this as an easy excuse to turn sour on them, but she remained professional and friendly. In other words, she showed amazing maturity and character.
This is a sure-fire way to get noticed in an audition room for all the right reasons. I would rather hire someone with an amazing attitude/maturity who has minimal talent than someone with a horrible attitude who’s phenomenal.
This is especially true in independent film where word spreads faster than wildfire about an actor with a bad attitude. We’re not just looking for a great face, but someone who will work alongside us as part of the team, not just the star.
During the film and acting courses I run, we tell the students the most important thing about filmmaking is teamwork. Filmmakers already have enough on their plate to organize without having to deal with an actor whose attitude drains the energy on set. It’s like a poison to set life and if we can avoid, we will.
When you enter an audition room be friendly and real, but keep the negative outside. We all have bad days but the audition room is the last place we should be venting our frustrations. Here are a few practical tools to help if you’ve had a bad day and are about to step into an audition.
First of all, find the nearest bathroom and lock yourself in for a minute, taking deep breaths. While in the stall, smile even if you don’t feel like it. If you need help smiling, bite a pen or pencil between your teeth—it’ll trick your brain to think you’re smiling. Raise your arms above your head as a physical release. Once you feel calm, walk confidently into the audition room.
We all have bad days and bad auditions, but I hope this helps give you inspiration for those days when you just don’t feel it or are struggling with your attitude.
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