Show CDs Your Humanity + They Will Cast You

Photo Source: BGB Studio

You want to impress the casting director, producers and directors in a casting room. You come in wanting so badly to do well, to know your lines, to give them what they want, all of which is completely understandable.

But here’s the thing: nobody knows what they want other than to be affected and what they respond to is your humanity. A full human being having a truthful and personal experience with ease, power, and clarity.

Look, we are all sensitive creatures (although some more guarded and hardened than others), so when you show up nervous, tight, and sweating, eyes glazed, trying to remember your lines, and feeling like you’re in the spotlight being interrogated or judged, we pull back. We disconnect. We cannot afford to be affected by that. We don’t have the time or energy to take care of you. And even if we do take the time to offer you support, it’s not our jobs to provide that security. We are there to collaborate, not to judge you. But that’s a shift you have to make in order to take a seat at the table.

When we see you drop into the circumstance and the experience of the character, we believe you in this world; when we feel your ease and weight, we become available. And when you share your heart with us—affecting us on an emotional level and in a real way—we feel your humanity. We care about you, we invest in you, we root for you, and we get excited about you bringing this world alive, bringing the words off the page.

READ: How to Actually Be a Working Actor

For the first time, you are making the words real. You’ve internalized, personalized, and brought an emotional life and strong point of view to them. You’ve taken ownership of them. When you do that, we’re transported. This is what we call artistic leadership.

The other day we were in a session with a showrunner/writer/producer who we’ve known for a very long time and respect very much when he turned to me after an actor left the room and said, “I really believed that she cared about her friend (who’d been killed.) I really felt it and I saw her struggle through it and fight for something because of it.” He circled her on his sheet, thought she was fantastic and asked us, “Why don’t they all do that? Why don’t they all feel that way? Why aren’t they all that dialed in?”

“Because they forget,” we said.

And that’s it, you forget. You come into these rooms and you give up your beautiful, personal voice. You put your talent aside in favor of “getting it right.” You tuck away your vulnerability, protecting yourself from being hurt, which is what you assume will happen if you show yourself. You forget that you’re here to affect us on an emotional level. You forget that it’s your humanity we respond to, not the lines (which will come with more clarity, certainty, and accuracy when you know exactly why you’re saying what you’re saying).

The thing you’re most afraid of is exactly what’s required to grab the attention of a director who’s got 100 things on her mind, or a writer who’s listening to hear if the scene is overwritten or logical, or a casting director who will give up her soul for an actor to walk in with artistic leadership and with humanity.

So take the risk. Start with how you feel about everything, have a really clear point of view, and then fight like hell for what you want. Be human. Get personal. Show us your heart. Share your wonderful humanity. That is what anyone in a casting room or watching your tape will respond to. That’s what they’ll feel, that’s what they’ll be drawn to, and that’s what they’ll cast.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Risa Bramon Garcia
Risa Bramon Garcia is partnered with Steve Braun in The BGB Studio, dedicated to revolutionary acting and audition training. Risa has worked consistently as a director, producer, casting director, writer, and teacher for over 30 years, collaborating with some of the most groundbreaking artists in the world.
Steve Braun
Steve Braun is an L.A.-based acting coach and communication consultant. Over his 15-year career, he has starred in movies and has been a series regular on television shows. He is also an acting teacher and coach.