Written for The Networker by Terry Berland @berlandcasting.
It is a given if you have a good audition partner that you have a good audition experience and you walk out of the audition feeling like you have a good shot at the call back.
Let’s define what a good audition partner is. A good audition partner has good timing and good chemistry with you. I teach commercial acting based on strong fundamental acting skills in a short scene format. A commercial is actually a short scene. In a short scene you have to know how to bring the best of yourself out quickly and if there is someone else in the scene both you and your partner have to know how to bring out the best in each other. You walk out of an audition with a good partner feeling you have a good shot at a call back or the booking.
Let’s talk about the auditions where you don’t gel with your partner at all. You feel the other actor has brought your performance down and you leave the audition feeling defeated, pretty sure you will never receive the coveted call back. This scenario can play out with kids auditions too. You can get paired with a kid who does not respond and you feel left in a lurch and bummed.
However, fret not. You can turn the situation around where you walk out of the audition happy, positive, with a bounce in your step, assured you have a chance at the call back.
Here are seven ways to handle a difficult audition.
Stay smiling and open. Don’t react negatively to a partner that is not auditioning well. Stay friendly, open and true to your choices. Incorporate the other actor in the scene by trying to gently finesse a reaction. Keep doing this and you will shine and the other actor will fall short.
Incorporate any flaws into the audition. Improv around something that is not working. For instance, make a funny remark about it. If your partner is till not responding, in good humor you may even start answering yourself. Always keep good humor and stay open with positive energy flowing.
Never get your back up and have a defensive, defeatist or irritable attitude. Keep on track to what you are trying to achieve in the scene; always trying to include the other person.
Show patience. Never loose your patience. You’re your good humor, letting your personality flow trying to uplift the scene, staying on track executing your choices towards the end result that you know is being called for.
Treat the situation with humor. This is actually a good time to build in humorous beats. Beats are little pockets to play in. The beats that you create are giving you more opportunity to show who you are and what you are all about.
Give a feeling you are a team player. Try to carry the person to where you know the scene should emotionally be. Keep being inclusive.
Show generosity. A bookable trait in an actor is generosity. Staying open with good humor and including the other actor in the scene makes you a generous actor.
When the creative team views the audition the actor who cannot hold up to their end of the audition will fall by the waist side, and not be considered.
You, the actor who is basically acting alone will shine.
You can walk out feeling YOU gave a good audition. I can reassure you in most group reads not everyone gets a call back in the group.
There are times people who work together get called back together, but not often. The call back is the time for chemistry reads. The creatives will pair together who they have a feeling will work well together. Sometimes there are several mixes and matches. Everyone at the call back should be a top-notch quality actor. If you are mixed and matched each experience will gel differently with each person.
If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.