Holly sits down with Patty Lotz from Destination Hollywood Radio for a wide ranging interview. Topics covered are:
There are many theories and opinions out there about whether an actor should walk into the audition room in character or not. Some actors have told me that a coach they worked with had been adamant that they should walk into the room in character, and another coach had advised them against that. Confusion about this seemed to dominate their whole audition process, and they were defeated about their audition before they could even walk into the Casting Directors office fearing they were making the wrong choice.
I always say that part of the fear an actor experiences while waiting in the lobby of the audition room before the audition is, “the fear of the unknown”. They become anxious because they don’t know what lies beyond the audition door. What does the room look like? How many people are in the room? Is there a camera in the room? Are the powerful people behind that door in good moods or bad?
You made it into the audition room successfully without tripping and are focused and ready to go with your choices. And then…(a) the Casting Director decides to chat a bit; (b) no one looks up at you; (c) they ask, “Do you have any questions?”
Thinking back over the thousands of actors who stood in front of me before they began their audition, the one’s I remember most are the one’s who walked in and said “Hi Holly!” I know that seems obvious and simplistic, but it always surprised me when an actor would walk into the audition room looking like a deer in the headlights and say “Hi”, and I knew they didn’t have a clue as to who I was. Or worse they would say, “Nice to meet you”, and I had auditioned them ten times before. Casting Directors are people too (I know…hard to fathom), and it goes a long way when you call them by name and have educated yourself as to what they have previously cast.
Kimberly Jentzen interviews Holly about the beginning of her career, her insight into casting and tips for actors.
The biggest mistake an actor can make when preparing for an audition is that they try to figure out what “THEY” are looking for. Actors will squash their initial instincts when first reading audition sides, attempting to fit in to what they “THINK” the Producers want. They believe there must be a right choice and a wrong choice.
When the Producers decide that they want to take you over to read for the Studio Executives, you first have to make a “test” deal before you are allowed to read for them. This happens because the Studio wants to know how much you will cost before they “buy” you. The Casting Director calls your Agent for “quotes”. Your quotes are the amount of money you have earned for individual acting jobs, but when negotiating a series deal, the only quotes that really apply are if you have booked a pilot or series before, or if you have “tested” for a pilot before. (Example: If you have tested for a pilot before and negotiated the contract to be $30 thousand for the pilot and $15 thousand an episode, your quotes will be 30/15. It is normal for your episodic price to be half the money you made on the pilot.) If you have never “tested” before, you probably have “no quotes”.
The most important thing for an actor to remember in a “callback” is to be consistent. The Casting Director “called you back” after your pre-read audition, because they liked what you did in the room with them. All too often, an actor will get excited about a callback and will go home and work on it and change things. When the actor comes to the callback with all their new ideas, they are unrecognizable to the Casting Director. The actor has changed the original choices they made that got them called back in the first place. So, consistency is key.
The audition begins for the viewers when the actor walks into the audition room. That first impression of the actor can determine whether the viewers want to take 3 minutes to read the actor – or not. They want to see a confident actor who is focused, prepared, and ready for the audition. They want an actor to take control of the room and make eye contact as they say “Hello”. They want the actor to solve their problem of needing to cast this part and, believe it or not, they are rooting for the actor. But, if the actor walks into the room looking down, mumbling, and looking like a deer in the headlights, the viewers will assume this is either an actor who is very nervous, unprepared or inexperienced. They have tuned you out and don’t want to bother reading you even before you say your first line.