Friday, April 7, 2017

Actors and Auditions

Me with actor Emre Orun, one of the few who followed directions and landed the role of "Aaron" in the film I directed, "Coming Home".

Just a quick rant for aspiring actors...

In early December I cast my next film project “Coming Home”. Although I hate not holding live auditions, I know that “video auditions” are becoming more common so I went that route.

Pretty simple, actually. Applicants contact me to audition for a role, sending me their headshots, demo reels, resumes, etc... Then if they aren't completely unsuitable for the role in question I send them a portion of the script involving that character and ask them to send me a video of them performing the piece. I don't care about film quality, so this can even be done using a phone. I just need to see if they can act.

I had roughly five dozen people submit their resumes and/or headshots to be considered. Very few had an actual demo reel, which I don't count against them because I know how difficult it is wrangling demo footage from a production no matter if it was a perk offered by the producer/director. (Hell, I'm still waiting for demo footage that was shot over 4 years ago!) Those who did send me a demo video gave me a good idea of their acting range and in some cases I didn't even need to have them audition since what I was looking for was already on their reel.

Want to know how many people sent in the video audition? Nine. (well, twelve if I count the three who submitted a few days after the deadline, which by then I'd already made my casting choices.)

That's right. Out of dozens of applicants only nine people bothered to follow the instructions. So I made my casting selections from a small pool consisting of people who sent in their taped auditions and those whose demo reels worked fine as a substitute. All the other applicants got tossed.

So far I've had seven actors write me to ask me why they never heard back from me. I tell them all the same thing... they didn't send in the audition I required so I assumed they were not interested in the part.

One actor asked if I'd meet him in person, a request made after the deadline. Not happening.

One actress was quite upset as she was so certain that because she looked the part that I'd hire her based on her photo. The thing is, I know a lot of really beautiful people but most of them can't act their way out of a paper bag.

I can change your looks. I can't change your ability to follow directions. If you can't send me requested materials by a deadline, how can I count on you to be punctual on call time and be off-script to boot?

And here's one other little tip I got from a dear friend of mine who is a professional (and working) actress. She was told by a casting agent that when calls go out for video auditions you have to be on that ASAP. The reason being that chances are that if you wait until the last minute, that role has long since been cast.

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