Researching your role

More advice fresh from Hollywood on booking that next screen audition

When you’re auditioning for a role, you need to understand who your character is, make some strong choices quickly, and stick to them consistently. Casting directors need to know that you’re going to bring your ‘audition performance’ back with you to your callback, producer’s session or screen test.

Often, all the information you need will be provided in a character breakdown that comes in the email with your audition info. Sometimes the verbiage used in the breakdown has been lifted directly from the script itself. In other cases, the breakdown has been written by someone reading the script and interpreting the character for you.

To make sure you’ve covered all the bases, check everything at your disposal.

The script is your most important resource. If you can get a copy of the entire screenplay, it’s the source of any breakdown that was subsequently written about the character.

Get really familiar with what your character says, and what is said about your character. If you don’t have time to read the whole script, then at the very least, do a word search for your character’s name, to see everything he or she does throughout the story.

Reading the script gives you a lot more information about the project than just your audition sides, and you may be asked to sign an NDA (a non-disclosure agreement), which strongly encourages you to keep your excitement to yourself…or else!

For confidentiality’s sake, sometimes you’ll even be reading from test sides, written just for audition purposes. You’ll even be auditioning for a fake character name, so that a project’s top secret storyline remains a secret. In these situations, make your best acting choices, so that they sense your true essence; they’ll know from your authentic energy if you’re right for the myriad roles they’re looking to cast.

Be exceptionally careful when posting on social media about your auditions, callbacks and job offers. Never name names, never check in from a studio location, never post production photos, without explicit authorisation to do so. It’s better to err on the side of caution. They need to know that they can trust you. Less is more.

Gaby’s Top Tip: Research the people in the room: casting director, director, producers, writers, on IMDb, Google and YouTube, before going in. Watch clips of their work to get in sync with the director’s style or the tone of the show. Imagine giving an audition suitable for a colourful Tim Burton film when the director’s style is super down-to-earth, like Robert Redford….oops! Don’t be that rookie! Do your research!

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