Everyone can use a little change. Especially when it’s for the better! So go ahead and get ready to make a difference in the way you approach auditions, with these 5 deep insights from Anthony Pichette – a casting director who knows a lot about the power of mixing things up.
Just recently, Anthony Pichette made a move from Kipperman Casting to Sound Lounge where he is heading up a NEW On-Camera division called Sidecar Casting. Under Anthony’s guidance Sidecar casts commercials, webisodes, webseries, industrials, network promos, comedy, high-end model work, and more.
Anyone who has auditioned with Anthony knows that he has a talent for making actors feel comfortable. Anthony pulls from his directorial foundation (theater major!) to help get the best performance out of actors and to give his clients even more than expected.
Anthony’s audition changing insights can absolutely help you boost your bookings.
#5 – Harness the POWER of POSITIVE THINKING
It begins with – Smiling!
Having a positive attitude helps. So don’t let your bad day get you down, because that reflects in your performance. Directors and advertising people want to see the best side of you. Don’t rush to be somewhere else, or make it seem as if the audition is just the one of the many things you have to do. Be focused on what the casting director is saying, and show interest!
Easier said than done?
Put yourself out there as already being the person who booked the spot. It will relax you! Think good thoughts. Think why you should get this role, why they should use you. Or try pretending that you are a representative of that company. Be excited about the project. After all, it’s not just a commercial – It is a way of life for all those who work on it. It supports families! So choosing the right actor is a big decision for all involved. Make the decision easy by having a good attitude that will help sell their product.
#4 – Revamp your Resume
Casting directors want a professional resume and a headshot that shows your personality so they can get a sense of you. If your picture has an overly cheesy smile, or a hand to a chin, it might harm your chances of getting called in.
How can I create the best headshot / resume possible?
Look like you!
Everyone has a personality, some unique feature about them. You want to celebrate your individuality. There is no perfect headshot – as long as it is a high-quality photo, with good lighting, and doesn’t look like some random person took it in a park. The person has to have the ability to capture you in that picture. Capturing a personality means – capturing you on a good day. If you are not overly outgoing and energetic, that’s fine. But casting directors need to look at the picture, and want to call you in.
Think about how you come across
If you don’t look like yourself in the picture, you aren’t selling yourself right. And that means you won’t get auditions for the right kinds of projects.
If you are a woman in her young 20’s with an edge, don’t have a headshot that’s all perky and excitable. This happens a lot in musical theater where the headshot comes across as totally holy happy. If you are not showing your real self, you won’t come across as authentic as you need to for commercials.
On the guy side – guys can end up looking more homogenized in a photo by doing things like wearing a suit when they do have an edgy side to them. Or, they may have a funky haircut and a T-shirt that shows off their arms, but are really more straight laced in person.
Be who you are on a normal day! Don’t try and sell yourself as something you’re not.
Commercials are always looking for someone real. You’re not supposed to be acting. Viewers aren’t supposed to be able to tell if it is a commercial or a part of real life. If you have that kind of overly happy headshot, casting directors might think that you cant pull off being real.
Share your special skills
If you have a unique ability, casting directors want to see it! Things that can give you a leg up are abilities such as speaking Spanish. If you do speak a second language, place that on your resume and state how well you speak – fluently vs. conversational, etc. Dancing, singing, and sports are also great skills that can boost your chances of getting a gig.
Spell things right on your resume, use consistent fonts, and align it.
And, don’t embellish the obvious – like saying you took a class with a casting director when you really met them for five minutes.
Keep it clean and honest. That’s the best policy!
#3 – Take an improv class
Why is everyone always saying that?
Improv helps you collaborate!
Nowadays, many directors want you to be collaborative and bring more to a spot. In improv, you have nothing and have to come up with something. Improvisers have no filter. It is a much more fluid process compared to simply being given lines.
Filming a commercial is an ever changing process and the director, and whoever is casting, wants to have someone who can be a big contributor to that collaborative effort. They want to see what interesting ideas you can bring that maybe they didn’t think of right away.
P.S. – If you took improv classes, you don’t need to put 101, 201. Just put, for example, Improv at UCB. Own it. You’re not lying. You’re simply not limiting yourself. And then answer honestly about how many classes you’ve taken when asked.
#2 – Ask questions
Listening is important. Yet, there are times when you MUST speak up in order to do your best job. Don’t be intimidated. People are scared to ask questions and they shouldn’t be because this is your career. It is your moment to shine. Own it!
When should you ask questions at auditions?
When you don’t understand the direction
If you don’t understand what a casting director wants – speak up. Casting directors do care. They want to know what your questions are. You don’t have to come into the audition room knowing everything already. Definitely come in with ideas and understand where things are going and contribute to the process, but auditions are collaborative. The more information you can get without seeming unprepared is going to help – everybody!
When you need to better understand the character
If it’s not obvious who you are in the spot – ask! Find out how they see this character. Having your own idea is good, yet it might be different from what they intended. The more you can understand who you are supposed to be in the spot, the easier it will be to give the client what they want.
You are always playing a character. You are a version of yourself, yet it is still acting. You can be yourself on a day when it is sunny and you’re feeling good – or you could be yourself when you just had a breakup. There are so many variations.
When it pertains to what’s at hand
Keep your questions related to what is going on in the room. Don’t be too personal or ask something that your agent* could have answered. That could make you look unprepared. Once you are in the room, there’s no need to ask if you are right for the project. That could make you look insecure. And if you notice that everyone else has on suits, don’t say I don’t have a suit on. – They can tell you are not wearing a suit. Once you are in the room, don’t worry about those things. You are there – own it.
*Ask your agent questions beforehand.
Get information on the attire beforehand, and know if there are any lines. An agent isn’t going to not represent you because you ask a question. Just ask in the right way. If they say nice casual, you can ask what you are playing to get more detail.
#1 – Think like a director!
Know what you are auditioning for, and then try and imagine how you would cast or direct this segment. If you didn’t get copy beforehand, get there earlier. A lot of actors are creative people. You can get a sense of what the spots would look like, and what you would do with it. If something doesn’t work, change it up based on what the casting director says.
Be in that moment and then try something. Be some form of you, but make a choice. Narrow it down to… When you walk in, are you chilling on the couch? What is going on in the spot? Have some sense of what is going on.
But what if I do something wrong?
Don’t worry about nailing it.
There’s no need to be worried about getting it right, or nailing it, or doing a perfect job – because really what is that?
You can’t know what someone else is thinking. How could you? So just do your thing.
Someone asked Bryan Cranston for acting advice and he said that he eventually learned to be himself and do the best he could do – and not worry about getting the job. It is an easy thing to say in theory, but it is true. You can’t worry about booking the job because you don’t have control over that.
Casting directors can tell if you are trying to do everything right. They can tell if you finish and look up at them like a puppy dog waiting to see how they judged the performance.
End your spot and simply be in the moment of the character without worrying about what anyone else is doing or thinking. You have to be in the moment, in that character, and then let the chips fall where they may.
Once you get to that phase where you know what you are doing, can listen to advice, and are comfortable with how you perform – it will come across!
Believe in yourself!
And – Congrats to Anthony on the new job at Sound Lounge NY!