What type of membership would you like to apply for?
Account access problem
You do not have permission to access this page with your current sign in details. If you require any further help, please get in touch at questions@spotlight.com.
Getting Work
A group of participants listening at a Spotlight Open House workshop

Image credit: Joanna Nicole Photography

Top tips from casting director Kate Rhodes James on how to prepare for an audition.

Kate Rhodes James has had a long and varied career as a casting director. Her past projects include House of Gucci, Catherine the Great, A Discovery of Witches, The Good Karma Hospital, Line of Duty, Sherlock, and many more. Most recently, she has worked on the hit Game of Thrones prequel series, House of the Dragon, the upcoming and highly anticipated Gladiator 2, and Ridley Scott’s epic feature film, Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix.

We attended an event where Kate answered questions about all things casting. Here are the top eight tips that she shared:

1. Read the Whole Script

This may seem obvious, but it’s so important to read the whole script before you attend an audition, not just the sections for the part you’re hoping to play. Read it all, and then read it again, and again. Make sure you know the script well enough that you could improvise if you needed to.

Take a look at our video with Braveheart actor Sean McGinley for tips for learning scripts.

2. Know Who Your Character Is

The more you understand your character, the greater depth you can give your performance. Think about how your character is perceived in their world. What do other characters think about them? What do they say about them? This should influence how you play them and add layers.

Take a look at our guide for help creating compelling characters.

3. Dress to Suit the Role

Influence the casting director subliminally with your clothing choice. Don’t go too far (e.g. don’t wear a full period dress for a period drama!), but dress in a way that suits the part. For example, if your character is very neat and tidy, don’t come in ripped jeans and a scruffy t-shirt.

4. Commit to Your Choices

Decide and commit to your interpretation of the role. Be confident, make a choice, and don’t sit on the fence or wait for direction the first time around. Come with ideas.

If you’re struggling to commit to your choice, take a look at our tips for confidence in auditions.

5. Be Open to Feedback

When you come to the audition, be prepared to take direction and open to the casting director’s feedback. Go for your interpretation the first time, but then be flexible. Don’t challenge the directions too much, just show you can listen and take these on board. Be easy to work with.

Read more about how to deal with feedback.

6. Be Enthusiastic

Engage with the casting director and show your enthusiasm. A positive presence is an asset and someone who everyone will want to work with.

7. Be Professional

Treat an audition with the professionalism that it deserves. Don’t waste time by telling the casting director you’ve had a bad day or bombard them with personal details. Get on with the job in hand.

8. Don’t Take Rejection Personally

Remember: the audition isn’t a test. You’ve already passed the test by being chosen for the audition. So, even if you don’t get the role, know that it isn’t because you’re not good enough. You’re just not quite as right for the part as the person who gets it. 

There are other factors at work in auditions, like the channel the programme will be shown on, what time it’s going to be broadcast, what kind of audience they are trying to appeal to, etc., and these will all influence the casting director’s choice of who to cast.

Take a look at our website for more audition tips and advice from casting directors.