Excerpt from Book the Job by Doug Warhit
WHAT DO I DO WHEN……. ?
When you’re dealing with casting people (and any other human beings) something unexpected always happens. You must be flexible and adapt quickly. Maintain a sense of humor and try not to take it personally.
The following are some of the things that might happen (but don’t be surprised if what actually does happen isn’t on this list):
- Your agent said you were just reading for the casting director, but when you get in the room there are four producers, three writers, and the director waiting to see your brilliant work. Take a deep breath and focus on your character’s objective.
- You were told you were reading with Tom Hanks, but when you get in the room, only the casting director’s assistant is there. Take a deep breath and focus on your character’s objective.
- You get completely new pages when you arrive. If you need some time to prepare, it’s your responsibility to ask for it.
- You were told to prepare scenes two and four, but they’re doing scenes one and three. If you have all the sides in advance, be familiar with even the ones they said they definitely weren’t doing.
- They decide you aren’t physically right for the part and they hand you new sides. Take the time you need to prepare in the waiting room.
- You show up for the reading only to discover they forget to tell your agent the audition has been rescheduled or the part has already been cast. (Maintain your professionalism. Rant and rave to a stuffed animal when you get home.)
- You were told it was just a meeting, but when you get there, they hand you ten pages of material. Ask for some time to prepare.
- They tape your audition after you were told they wouldn’t be taping it. Keep your focus on the reader, not the camera (unless you’re told otherwise).
- The casting director reads one of your lines by mistake. Don’t blame him. Just say, “I think we switched lines. Can we take it back couple of lines?”
- You read one of the casting directors lines by mistake. Ask to take it back a line. Do not be overly apologetic.
- The casting director is reading all the other roles in the scene and decides to skip down and just give you your cue line. If you’re thrown, politely ask to take it back a couple of lines.
- As you enter the room, they let you know that the character is being done with a French accent. Even if you do one, ask if you can take a few minutes in the waiting room to make the adjustment. If you don’t do one, tell them you would prefer to brush up on the accent and come back later.
- The phone rings and the producer leaves to take an emergency call in the middle of your read. If you’re thrown, ask if you can start over.
- They eat lunch while you’re reading. Keep your focus on your character’s objective.
- They call you in the second you get there. If you’ve arrived early and you need more time, let them know. If it’s your appointed time, you must be ready to read.
- They keep you waiting for two hours. (They get to run late. You don’t.)
Use the unexpected as an opportunity to make your work even more spontaneous and exciting.