Think you know what the #1 No No (not the Nae Nae for all of you Nae Nae Flash Mob dancing fans LOL) thing casting directors say that kids do wrong in the audition room? What is that thing that is the absolute DO NOT DO in an acting audition? Before I reveal it below, take your best guess…..
By the way, I heard this as recently as this past weekend from a casting director at a workshop.
I’ve also heard the below consistently from more than 15 casting directors, in person. Also, have read this on over 20 blogs online, seen it in many Tweets and on Facebook.
This is a sure-fire way to stop your child actor from even having a chance in the audition room.
If your child does not do as stated below, they are simply wasting the casting director’s time.
Ready for it?….Here it is…
Your child actor should BE OFF BOOK, otherwise known as they should be BE PREPARED and completely MEMORIZED. That means, your child needs to fully memorize his or her copy. Especially if they have the copy or sides more than 15 hours in advance. That means, they should not be looking down at all. Their eyes should be focused and not down. Their sides or copy can be held in their hand, by their side.
Yes, it is absolutely expected that if they get the copy or sides the night prior, that they will memorize it by 11am the next morning. Sure, that is not a lot of time. But, that is how this industry works.
They must know all of their lines without burying their head in the copy or sides. They must only look down if needed, and that should be a quick glance down to retrieve a word.
Parents, for your young actors, it your responsibility to print out the sides or copy, make sure your younger child highlights their lines, and get them going on memorization.
In my opinion, your child should not even “walk” into the audition room without being Off Book and prepared (if they’ve had the copy or sides since night prior). If they do, it’s like throwing them into the fire. I do feel sorry for those kids that walk in to an audition room without this preparation. It’s also hugely embarrassing. If your child has an agent, and they are not memorized, the casting director may call your agent and tell them what happened in the room, which is not what you want to happen. That will look bad for your child and the agent may reconsider their relationship with you.
If you think the above is obvious, well, for some reason it is not. There are tons and tons of stories of kids that are just unprepared. They walk in without knowing the lines. Casting Directors are seeing this daily.
Also, it does not matter how good of an actor your child is, how far into your career your child is, your child should always be off book, no matter how many roles they’ve had prior.
One Exception to the above: If your child happens to get the copy or sides while they are at the actual audition, they should try to memorize the copy or sides if they have the time, while waiting to go in. They should do their best with it. They must master the skill of cold-reading in order to deal with copy or sides that are provided to them while at an audition itself. Cold-Reading is a core class that they should be taking at their acting school. If they are not, find a cold-reading class you can enroll them in right away. Cold-Reading is when your child memorizes at least the first and last words of the sides or copy, so they are able to look up for those 2 important parts. They also must be able to look down and glance at the copy and then look back up when saying most of the lines. Cold-Reading helps them to not bury their heads in their copy or sides. This is a skill and they must be taught by a professional.
Most times though, they will be given their copy or sides at least the night prior. As mentioned above, if that is the case they are expected to be fully memorized and prepared. Without this, they look amateurish in the audition room.