1. Do your research
Know who you are meeting, what they have cast, produced or directed. Identify if you have seen any of their work. Read the character breakdown carefully and if it is not new writing, read the play/watch the series.
2. Learn your sides
I’m often asked ‘Do I need to learn the script?’ before a casting. It’s never a bad thing to have learnt it, even if you still read from the page. It will help you with tip three…
Often when we are nervous we stop listening because we are thinking about an appropriate response, and this can lead us to not hear the question properly. A director will often simply want to see how you take direction, so be alert.
4. Don’t be put off by others
I’ve lost count of how many actors have called after a casting saying ‘everyone else was older, or younger, or more something or other’ and then have been cast in the role. Avoid pre-audition chit chat if you’re prone to being thrown when someone says they know the director or have some inside knowledge (supposedly). Auditions are more democratic than you think – the casting director is looking for the most suitable candidate, plain and simple.
5. Be yourself
It’s the best way for the casting director to get to know you.
6. Be punctual
Leave yourself PLENTY of time, don’t leave the fate of your career in the hands of the transport network.
7. Control your nerves
Nerves can eat you up, you have to channel them into positive energy.
8. Odds are better than you think
There are so many actors out there who don’t necessarily even obtain an audition slot for a particular show, so if you get your casting your odds have improved before you walk through the door. A BBC casting director once told me that they might get 400 or so suggestions for a guest role on a recurring drama when the breakdown goes to their choice agents and sometimes they are only able to meet 8 or so actors, such is the fast pace and turn over of roles to cast. So when a client gets a casting, they often have a 1/8 chance of getting the role – which are not the worst odds in the world.
9. Expand your repertoire
Keep learning new songs, new monologues, watch good theatre, television and film – a knowledgeable actor is a hard working actor, and casting directors will notice this.
10. Ask your agent
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity on any element. A good agent will be happy to answer questions, because after all, they want you to succeed as much as you do.