Wednesday, September 06, 2006

As a public service to actors...

Now that the new TV season is well underway and all the shows are back in production, here are a few tips for you actors out there hoping to land a guest starring or day player role.

Based on things I myself have seen, here are things NOT to do during a casting session:


If the part is for a slob, don’t smear jello all over your shirt.

But do wear a shirt.

Don’t take “the liberty” of punching up the dialogue. Chances are the person deciding your fate wrote that "lame-o" script.

Similarly, don't help a joke by doing a rimshot after it.

If the scene calls for a kiss don’t slip your tongue down the casting director’s throat. That's an angry call back to the agent or a lawsuit.

Don’t come in saying you’d rather read for another part and then just launch into that part.

Don’t get mad if no one recognizes you from your recurring role on DEEP SPACE 9.

Don’t say, “Um, before we start, I read for you about a month ago. It was the cocktail waitress. How come I didn’t get it? I was really good. You guys even said so. And I am a cocktail waitress, so like, how could anybody do it better than someone who actually does do it? So what did I do wrong? Because when I came home I thought I had it. I was even going to go away the week it was shooting but cancelled so I'd be available for this. I was supposed to go to Santa Barbara. We had the reservations and everything. And my boyfriend was already mad at me because he like, doesn't really get this whole acting thing anyway. And I was all set to prove him wrong but then my agent called and said you went with someone else. And when I asked her why she said you guys wouldn't say. So really? Y'know, so it can help me in the future. Why didn't I get that part?"

Don’t falsify your resume. With imdb it’s now easy to check. And no one has been in both GLADIATOR and BOOTY CALL. (However, if you’re a New York actor list LAW & ORDER. Every New York actor has been on that show. If you haven’t yet, you will.)

Don’t bring your baby.

Don’t bring your pet.

Don’t have your agent call us first to say you’ve been clean for fifty-one days now.

Don’t say “can I start over?” more than three times.

Don’t memorize the sides. It’s perfectly okay, even preferable to read. 99% of the time, if you try to memorize the script you will screw up.

Don’t schmooze. There are too many people to see. When an actor enters the room and says, “Guess what? I just got back from Africa” the producer knows he’s about to lose ten minutes of his life he’ll never see again.

Don’t keep coming back pleading to do it again.

Unless the part calls for it, don't burst into tears at any time.

Don't bring food in the room and leave it.

It’s okay to ask about the character, not okay to say, “Well, jeez, isn’t that kind of a cliché?”

It’s okay to say, “Can I have a moment?” first. Take a deep breath, compose yourself. But it’s not okay to take five moments.

Remember this: the acting technique that got you a job on FAMILY MATTERS will prevent you from getting jobs anywhere else.

Don’t tell us how far you drove to get here. how long it took you, and how many times you got lost. No actor ever got a part because he drove the furthest.

Don’t chew gum. It’s hard to stay “in the moment” when you’re blowing bubbles.

Don’t ask for time off during production before you even read for the part. You’d be surprised how many actors make this mistake and wind up with all the time off in the world.

Don't use any funny voices. If a producer can close his eyes and think that Bronson Pichot is in the room you don't get the part.

And finally, don't make an entrance soaking wet, strip down to your now transparent underwear for no reason, and scare the shit out of two tourists (see post for Thursday, May 11, 2006).


Anonymous said...

Hilarious post, even to somebody with no industry experience, expertise, etc.

But are the archives hard to find or am I just an idiot? I went looking to find out what I missed on May 11 and couldn't find a way to old posts. Even trying a search on "soaking, wet, underwear" didn't work :)

By Ken Levine said...

There's probably an easier way that I don't know about, but just go to the archives section on the right and click on May.

Anonymous said...

That was a good read.
And I feel a little sorry for the people who deal with unprepared hopefuls.

I thought most agencies explained the dos and do nots.

Anonymous said...

Ken, the archives are only linked from the blog's front page; they're not linked from the individual entry's page. Folks who are reading you via RSS feed generally don't see the front page.

Anonymous said...

Here ya go. Direct links to the May 11th and 12th posts. The 12th is actually the one Ken was referring to, but it makes more sense if you read the 11th first.

Anonymous said...

One more for you (true story)...

Don't call the casting agent the night after the audition and leave a heavy-breathed, spooky 3 minute message about how now that you're sitting in your car late at night surrounded by endless lonliness you truly understand what the script means and that this role is in fact you.

JUST ME said...

see? This is why I decided to go into writing instead of acting.

too many limitations!

...actually, I decided not to go into acting because my first and only agent scared the shit out of me every day. And then she told me I could no longer eat desert.

fuck that, man. I like cookies.

Anonymous said...



Katie Schwartz said...

it's such a shame blowjobs haven't made a comeback in the casting room. here's to hoping!