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.
I wanted to cover the topic, “What Does An Actor Do Once They Get An Audition?” From the point of view of a Casting Director, I see your picture and resume and decide to call you in for an audition. I know that each actor has their own process about how they prepare for an audition, but I’m not in the actor’s shoes. So, I thought the best way to cover this topic was to go directly to some of the actors in my Audition Workshops and see what their tips are…
The pre-read with the Casting Director is usually held in the Casting Directors office. You are usually being “pre-read” by the Casting Director because she doesn’t know your work or has not seen you do this kind of part before. This office is often a small room and you usually see a lot of other actors waiting in the lobby.
Holly Powell sits down with Connie Martinson to discuss her new book The Audition Bible: Secrets Every Actors Needs to Know.
In this video Holly demystifies the audition process for actors and guides them through her four part workshop.