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Getting Work

A roundup of hints for your next audition

Actors Sarah Parish, Mark Bonnar and Vicky McClure, along with the industry’s top casting directors from the U.K., Ireland and America, tell Spotlight exactly what they want to see in the audition room.

Full video transcript

Shimmy Marcus: I think when you’re preparing for an audition, it’s important to do the prep. Do the research based on whatever information you have, which is usually just two pages.

Frank Moiselle: Coming into an audition for me, they [actors] should know the role. They should know their part, and you should be prepared.

Kelly Valentine Hendry: It’s about preparation at the end of the day. Even if you get your sides sent to you the night before, I think that’s long enough to give it a really good shot.

Sharon Bialy: Be very prepared, and really know the text.

Shaheen Baig: Just know your stuff before you walk in the room. Be prepared. That’s it.

Deborah Maxwell Dion: Lots of times you don’t get the entire script. Try to make intelligent decisions around what you do get. But I find that a lot of people aren’t really exploring the sides as much as they could.

Jessica Ronane: I think the main things to impress are to have read the material, to understand the material, to have really thought about what it is that they’re coming in for. I think to be rested, well-presented.

Kelly Valentine Hendry: Do a little bit of research, have a bit of knowledge about the director or casting director or producer that’s going to be in the room with you and put everything else out of your mind.

Debbie McWilliams: Always be off book. If you’ve been sent the script, learn the script. Please don’t read it.

Sarah Esdaile: It’s helpful to be off book so that you can focus on building the character and on working on detailed notes.

Priscilla John: And then we can run it through and then make adjustments. You can’t, if you are having to do that [looks away from camera, at her hand as if reading a script]. Sorry.

Debbie McWilliams: We don’t want to see people’s eyes going down here somewhere. We want to see their eyes well and truly and be thoroughly familiar with the dialogue.

Shimmy Marcus: The other thing I would say is that don’t learn your lines in a specific way so that when you go in to do the scene, that’s the only way you can do it. Because quite often the director or the casting director may ask for a second take and look for something a little different.

Deborah Maxwell Dion: I’d say, bring in a very good energy into the room. You’d be surprised that sometimes a lot of things that are going on in the actor’s life come into the room and there’s so much energy that comes into the room that you need to bring a very positive energy.

Ros Hubbard: Come in going, actually I can do this job and I can do it very well.

Sarah Parish: Go into every audition owning the job, I think. You’ve just got to sort of go in and own it and own the room and just be yourself more than anything. A lot of people kind of get a bit too nervous or try and be somebody else. Be yourself, be natural.

Vicky McClure: You know, when you go in that cast room, take yourself with you. Don’t try and put on a front.

Andy Pryor: These things aren’t necessarily about someone being the best. It’s about being right for that part or right in that environment, and you’ve just got to keep believing in yourself.

Shimmy Marcus: So the best approach I think is just to find aspects of what you’re reading that provoke a connection in you and to focus on that. So when you go in and do the scene, you’re bringing a lot more of yourself to it. If you bring the self, you have more chances of standing out because you are unique. Every person is unique, individual. If you start trying to do what you think they want, you’ll probably be doing the same as everyone else.