10 Ways to Show CDs You’re Serious About Your Career

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Many have a love-hate relationship with the audition room. It is often thought of as a setup for failure, and a precarious and subjective process to book a role. But there are tools and techniques, obvious and subtle, that make your casting director, producer, and director take you seriously.

1. Who is in the room and what are their credits? Knowing the names of the casting director, casting associate/assistant, producers, and director as well as their credits can become talking points in the room. The type of material they work on can also provide clues about the tone of the piece for which you’re auditioning. If casting can put together multiple sessions and keep track of talent, you can remember a few names of the people you are meeting and why they’re awesome.

2. The waiting room. It can be a chatty, distracting, and undermining space. Be mindful of your focus and the job at hand. We are watching you as well, and discuss it when we review the session. Earbuds are your friend.

3. Be present. You have a few minutes in the room. We want to think you love the project and want this role. It’s akin to any interview. That perspective boss wants to work with someone who knows about the company, has researched its track record and awards, is passionate about the available position and joining the team, and outlines very clearly how he/she will elevate the project. Don’t be cool about it. Be authentically passionate about the role and wanting to work on the show.

4. Framing questions. There’s no such thing as a bad question. However, there is such a thing as poor framing of a question. Asking about the show or character that could easily be found in the materials, links, or pictures included with your appointment, or researched online shows lack of interest. Questions about your character’s motivation is appropriate and shows collaboration with the room.

5. Appearance. Dress to suggest the role. It seems obvious, but it’s being mentioned because, overall, it’s not obvious. There’s something about a button down shirt, a certain jacket, cozy sweater, spiky heels, sneakers, choice of color/texture, etc., that feeds your character, makes you carry yourself differently, and makes the room believe you are the role. We see the visual before you can answer “How are you today?” so why would you show up in a t-shirt and jeans for a procedural? Part of your job is to suggest the role.

6. You are more than your résumé. The hobbies, volunteer work, causes, travel, music, writing, family, sports, baking, etc., make you well-rounded, and bring personal insight to the work you do. So, are you a connoisseur of food trucks? Do you play the mandolin? Have you climbed Everest? Can you make the perfect chocolate chip cookie? What may seem mundane to you is interesting to the room, and may spark conversation and a great character choice no one else would think of because it is uniquely you.

7. Special skills. Be ready to address them whether it’s appropriate to the role you’re auditioning for or not.

8. This is your job and it should be fun. If you are not putting in 40 hours a week into your career, it’s a hobby, not a career. Those 40 hours may include class, coaching, researching offices you’d like to connect with, writing, updating your résumé, skills, and headshots, elevating your online presence, and continually meeting people and letting them know what you’re working on and what you want to do.

9. Online presence. Creating your own content is not that new anymore, and it is not going away. It supports and elevates your résumé, and allows casting and production insight into your point of view. It provides you with control over how you want to be viewed and cast. Social media and social networking, no matter your age, is vital to building your career, And, if comedy is your niche, it is particularly crucial.

10. Please and thank you still goes a long way. Be authentically nice. That associate or assistant will very likely become the executive you now wish you had been kinder to and didn’t ignore.

You must love the process. Be the fearless man or woman that you are. Boldly focus on your work and create a joyful balance that comes from living your life. That person is clear on who he/she is, knows what they bring to the table, and is always taken seriously.

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

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.

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Caroline Liem
Caroline Liem is a casting director, teacher/coach based in Los Angeles. For the past 20 years, she has cast films, studios features, television pilots, and TV series. She is faculty at Pace University and UT Austin and teaches locally at the Village.
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