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Own Your Audition

Inside advice from Senior Casting Director, Angela Mickey

written by: Kelly Calabrese

From the inside, out, Angela Mickey knows the art of acting. She studied drama at NYU and went through the auditioning process before shifting roles to work at Liz Lewis Casting as their receptionist. Swiftly, Angela built a career at Liz Lewis and today she is their Senior Casting Director placing actors in commercials for major brands (such as Walmart, GAP, American Heart Association, and CHASE), as well as in Broadway shows, short films, and some indie features.

With a multilayered perspective of the business, Angela offered up her insight to on how actors can make the most of every audition…

Since auditions can be nerve rattling, Angela recommends you “give yourself time to breathe, give yourself space. Arrive early, get the script. Take that moment.” And then walk into the room knowing that “some CDs may not seem warm but they need you to do well, they want you to do well.”

“It's empowering for an actor to say to themselves ‘this room is mine,” Angela says. “Those are your five minutes. Have a nice smile with a little bit of mystery to keep them wanting more, wanting to ask you that next question.”

When it comes to the question of how to best present yourself, Angela suggests to “know who you are. Bring your own self in. We are all more quirky and weird than we like to admit. Same as when we see someone acting odd in the subway but in their business life they're totally normal. Be aware of your oddities. Especially comedic actors.”

Most importantly, “You have to have fun with this stuff. If you are a Barbie, in a mold, you are selling yourself short and not embracing your individuality. Successful actor Kevin Sussman accepted he was always going to be the nerd. Establish what you are and then people will let you grow.”

As Angela grew from actor to a newbie at Liz Lewis, she got an even deeper understanding of how hard, yet comfortingly predictable the audition process can be. She recalls being most surprised at “how many people are seen a day for a job.” And she also “found it amazing the confidence people did have when they walked in. How some can make a lobby feel like their 2nd living room.”

“There are so many actors out there and it's hard, that constant shilling of yourself,” Angela acknowledges. As helpful advice, she recommends these empowering steps…

  • “To a certain extent realizing you're not in control helps. Do the best you can on that day. Sometimes you're given a lot at an audition and sometimes not. It's also a numbers game. If you audition 90 times and book one it's considered good.”
  • “Listen to what is said and if you don't understand ask. If something isn't clear these are your 5 minutes. Could be that the CD was clear to the last 5 people and forgot to mention something this time around.”
  • “If not given any direction you have to take a chance on where to go. If you are a good actor, with training, any choice will be interesting.”
  • “Be proud of call backs! It shows your ability. Booking depends on so many things; demographics, who looks like who.”
  • “Be aware, keep a log of people you meet; their temperament, if they are open to chatting or not, and the environment. If you know the environment wasn't conducive for you last time take more moments to prepare so there are no surprises.”
  • “Don't under estimate special skills as a way of getting work. Like languages. If you are conversational become fluent. Or sports if you are really good at it.”
  • “Create your own work. Its one reason improv/sketch blew up. People were getting together and making themselves laugh and now they are staples, writing in LA. There's a power in presenting yourself how you want to be seen.”
  • “If direct submitting via mail - write a letter on why you should be seen specifically like I perform every night at…”
  • “Remember it's a small business once you really get down to it. You may be working with someone who has representation that will come to your show. Ask the people in your cast if they have agents or managers.”
  • “Get to know Casting Directors because agents are hampered with what they have.”

Having the best audition also includes making the right first impression. As a Casting Director Angela Mickey “wishes actors would take more responsibility. Is there a script? Find it and read it without needing to be walked through everything.”

Other behavior pitfalls to avoid…

  • “The inability to adjust to an idea. Directors say to actors at a call back ‘lets do it another way' and the actor says ‘this is how I did it before.'”
  • “Not memorizing a script when you are supposed to.”
  • “Being mean to another at auditions, that one upmanship. It's apparent and awful.”
  • “Calling people the wrong name.”
  • “Speaking about acting when interviewing. You need to speak about what's not on your resume.”
  • “Submitting for things that are wrong for you. Like it says speaks fluent Spanish and you don't. Or submitting for an Asian male when you are clearly not.”
  • “Also with beauty submissions – there's a difference between model pretty and normal pretty.”

The pretty sweet part of being able to learn Angela's perspective is that she's been on both sides of the casting desk and she cares. With a warm smile she reminds us that “you can't do anything about someone else's bad mood. If someone has a chip on their shoulder it existed long before you and it's not about you.” – very empowering and true!

If you want to learn more from Angela Mickey, check back with for info on her future classes.
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