the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thoughts on Auditions

Recently, I was seen almost 90 minutes past my call time at an audition for an industrial, where when I got in the room, I slated, did profiles, and then they filmed me sitting in a chair flipping through a magazine.  That was it.

Here was the takeaway though:  I was really surprised at the number of people who complained to the audition runner about how late things were running and asked why they weren't being seen.  In general, on-camera auditions for commercials, industrials, etc. are run like this: they see everyone for a group before they move on to the next group.  It has something to do w/organizing the video files for presentation to the client.  So, they see all of the 25-30 something business men before they move on to the 20's college girls and finish with them before they see the Asian grandmas. 

So, you can read the waiting room and don't have to act pesky to the audition runner!  If you get in there and there are a few types sitting around, figure out what group they're on - yours? (short wait).  The one before yours? (a little bit longer wait). Two before yours? (go put more money in your meter now, call the babysitter, etc. - you're going to be a while).  It seemed like many people at the audition didn't know this, and there were quite a few people stressed out about getting tickets, or picking their kids up.  I'm sure those folks didn't give their best auditions, and asking when they'd be seen made them seem more like amateurs who didn't know what they were doing.

I know this sounds kind of sucky.  No one wants to wait 90 minutes past their appointment time for anything (and in fact if this was a SAG audition, they would've had to pay us to wait longer than 60 minutes).   It is yet another reminder of the unbalanced power in an audition situation.  But as actors, what we have power over is our preparation and our planning, including where we park (maybe a lot where you pay on your way out instead of a meter?).

P.S. check this out!  It's a commercial I shot with the awesome Scott and Tory of Two Trick Pony!!


  1. This is a great piece. Also good to remember is that when we're running late, often it's because an actor (or two) we really need to see was running late, or an agent or actor (or seven) contacted us after all slots were filled asking if we could "work them in." Good actors are hard to find and easy to lose, so we want to see everyone we possibly can. Factor into that equation the reality that every audition has at least a 30% actor no-show rate, and it's almost always safe to overbook a little here and there. If, however, you're in the rare position of having actors show up at a 90% rate *and* a couple of actors running late for their slots, you're more than likely going to fall a bit behind.

    That's not to say that casting can't run behind for its own reasons-- it certainly can, and not every casting director or company is perfectly organized-- but it's very often a confluence of events and not the fault of the person you're complaining to.

    BTW-- that runner you're complaining to turns right around and tells us all about it if you're, shall we say, less than nice.

  2. thanks so much for commenting Melissa! It's great to hear a voice from the other side of the fence!

    At this particular audition, one of the reasons they were behind was because there were two actors there who'd been given the wrong audition day (one day early), and the audition runner had them go into the room and tape instead of coming back the next day. There was also a girl from a group scheduled much later in the day that was allowed to go early because of a conflicting callback in the afternoon, so your 'confluence of events' is a very accurate diagnosis.