Advice: How not to Audition; 18 things Actors shouldn’t do

I acted as Casting Director for the Thesis Films my last year of grad school and experienced the scariest audition ever. I would like to share the story, as a warning to other actors. Do not behave like this. Ever.

We called this actress, MKS, like 2 weeks before we landed in LA. She’d sent in her headshot and we’d thought her credentials at least earned her audition, but she never returned our call. When we land in LA, Scott, the casting assistant, has like 2 messages from MKS. Before we can call her back, she calls again.

She says she doesn’t know what the project is because her agent submitted it (even though she submitted through an actor’s site). So I explained what the project was and she said “That sounds dumb.” But she still scheduled an audition. I warned her that we were without internet and didn’t know how long it would be to get her the sides but that it’d probably be tomorrow.

That night, perhaps 3 hours after the initial call, she called again because she hadn’t gotten the sides yet.

During the next day’s auditions, she called like 10 times. In the last message, she said that she was going to have to cancel because she still hadn’t gotten the sides and didn’t think she’d be prepared, which was a shame because she’d be great for the role. Later in the day, Jess, other Casting Assistant, called her and said that we were in auditions and it would be much later that night that we’d be able to get her the sides. She called again to complain sometime that evening. We sent her the sides that night.

The next day, she was about 15 minutes late to her appt. We went to bring her in and she rebuked us, saying she wasn’t ready. She came in a few minutes later, loaded down with enough stuff to build a tent and give a power point presentation inside it. She set her stuff down.

She handed me her portfolio, which is really more of a modeling thing, not an acting one, but I obliged her by opening it, only to see a picture of her totally naked, full bush. I really wasn’t prepared for that. I immediately closed it and refused to pass it to my other casting staff.

Then she hands us three different resumes, one on pink paper. By each film, none of which have I heard of, “Blockbuster box office hit” is written. Other highlights include her age (19) and her skills (cat-fighting). Also, she put a glove on to go through her stuff, I guess to protect her from the paper.

She can’t find her sides, so I end up giving her my copy, which she takes with her instead of returning. She says that she’s uncomfortable doing something with so much “action acting” in it, which is why she brought some monologues she’d like to do. We say she doesn’t need to worry about the miming, just the emotions. She gets up and starts acting. Stops us a few lines in to start over. Second go through she tries to kiss the reader over the table. When she stops us again to tell us she could be so much better at it, I tell her to sit down before the reader’s girlfriend tests those previously advertised cat-fighting skills.

At some point in all of this she tells us that she’s pretty damn good and is perfect for the role. When she finally makes it through once, we say thanks. She tries to read her monologue and we all collectively go no thanks. She then makes sure we all get her business cards which are just pictures of her half naked jumping with her name on them.

After she leaves, we see her walk by once or twice while we’re holding auditions, like she’s pacing in the hallway, and Jess goes and checks to make sure she can’t find her. Tom and I start writing a horror movie about a crazy stalker actor because the other two say I can’t post the video on YouTube and no one will believe how awful she was. After a couple more auditions, Scott goes to get us lunch, an hour and a half passes, and I have to go use the restroom.

I open the door, and she is there, simply standing and waiting. “I need to talk to you.” Serious shades of Fatal Attraction here and I’m freaking out. But, I decide I really have to pee, so I go into the stall. “Do you mind if I talk to you while you’re in there?”

At this point my ability to not be sarcastic has stopped existing.

Me: No. I guess I can hear you.

MKS: It’s just that, I think I could do a lot better if you let me do this monologue. It’s Orin Ishii.

Me: Well, I think we’ve gotten what we need. The director will certainly be able to see whether you’re right for the role.

This exchange goes back and forth in various iterations. I come out of the stall.

MKS: Do you think I’ll get the part?

Me: Well, to be honest, the director is looking for someone a little bit older than you.

MKS: How old?

Me: Mid to late twenties.

MKS: Well, I know on my resume it says I’m 19, but I’m actually 23.

Me: … ok… well, its not about the number, it’s about how old you look.

MKS: But it’s just that I’m actually 23… let me show you my driver’s license.

Me: I don’t need to see your driver’s license. It’s about how old you look.

She starts going through her many bags.

MKS: Also, I’m sorry for how I look, I just started taking Accutane and it makes your skin break out before it gets better.

She rambles on. I am getting anxious and want to leave. She shoves the license in my face. I take it.

Me: Great. I’ve gotta get back to the auditions.

I hand her the license and start to leave. There are a couple of actors waiting, because I’ve been in the bathroom for like 10 minutes at this point. She comes up behind me.

MKS: Well, if he doesn’t cast me because of my age, that’s stupid. Because I am this character. I am just like her and I am great actress.

With that she leaves.

Lessons Learned:

1. Call casting people back faster than two or three weeks later
2. Don’t lie
3. Don’t call the project stupid
4. Don’t call people 15 times in one day
5. Don’t threaten the casting people
6. Don’t be late to an Audition
7. Be prepared for your Audition; don’t take 10 minutes into the audition to be settled
8. Don’t hand the Casting Director naked photos
9. Don’t print your resume on pink paper
10. Don’t have three different resumes
11. Don’t restart; if you want to do it over, ask at the end
12. Don’t try to physically touch the other reader; don’t try to kiss them
13. Don’t tell people how great you are, they won’t believe you
14. Don’t hang out outside the room after your audition is over
15. Don’t stalk the Casting Director in the bathroom
16. Don’t stalk anyone in the bathroom
17. Don’t talk to people while they’re peeing
18. Don’t lie on your resume

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About ashleyfmiller

I write, give occasional speeches, and am currently getting my PhD in Mass Communications from South Carolina. Before going back to school, I worked in Los Angeles in reality tv, web series, and film.

Posted on September 20, 2009, in Entertainment, Posts Worth Going Back and Reading and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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