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Acting - Notes To The Aspiring Actor

By Chris Freihofer
Actor, Casting Director, Film Producer


You know the old stereotype. The grumpy table of producers, casting directors and general discontents sit at a backlit, smoky table, frowning at you as you make your way through a well-rehearsed audition. You give your all; you give of yourself, only to be treated rudely, followed by a bellowed "Next!"

That's what we think auditions are, right? I mean, that's what they taught us in school. That's what they show us in movies and on unrealistic reality television. That's the stereotype. And nothing could be further from the truth.

Oh sure, there are some Grumpy-Gusses out there that revel at the idea of sitting on their casting throne, loving the opportunity to finally be the one that rejects these actors. But those posers--mostly embittered failed actors--are few and far-between. Especially in markets like Oklahoma. What you are generally going to find in a professional audition for film and television are pleasant, friendly people.

Wanna know a secret? We're on your side. We are eager to meet you. We can't wait for you to succeed.



Here's why: we want you to end our day. We want you to be the one we have been looking for for hours, days, maybe even weeks.

Each time that door opens to the casting office, we look in hopeful anticipation at the actor that will nail this script, will be the perfect actor for the role, will have great understanding of the material and put us at ease. We are looking for the actor that is relaxed, professional, easy to work with and truly is the character we have written in our cherished script.

Oh sure, we may be in the middle of a very long casting day and sometimes we have trouble masking our fatigue, but don't think for a second we are not wanting you to succeed. We want you to be the one. When you walk out the door at the end of the audition, we want to be able to look at each other and say, "Wow. We don't need to audition anyone else for this."

As actors, we forget this. Believe me, I have certainly been on the other side of the audition table countless times. I've auditioned for more projects than I care to remember. I know, it's intimidating. It's easy to believe the stereotype. It's easy to think they hate me.

We don't hate you.

Here's another secret: You have the job when you walk in the room. You have it. You have passed the test. Except in cases of the open call, there has already been a screening process. We have looked at your headshot. We have gone over your resume. We already see you in the role. We have weeded out the others. You made the first cut.

At this stage, it is not your job to win. It is your job to lose.

Just in case you missed that:

It is not your job to win. It is your job to lose.

It is a very different way to consider the audition process. Most actors think they have to go in and win the role--beat the competition, show off how great they are. Not so. It's your job to lose. You have the role. Now just don't lose it.

It's just an attitude adjustment, but once I learned this as an actor, it really helped my audition process. It gave me confidence. It helped me relax. It provided an opportunity for me to feel open and comfortable in the room, to work the audition as an actor, rather than feeling I was on display and being judged against the others.

Interesting way to look at it, yes?


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