ATC Alum & LA Casting Assistant, Riley O'Day, talks about the four things an actor can do to make sure they leave a good impression on any casting director.
Hi, actors! My name is Riley O’Day and I'm an Actors Training Center alum and now a casting assistant in Los Angeles. When I was fifteen, I took an ATC workshop with LA Casting Director, Deborah Dion, and thought her job was the coolest. That workshop sparked the shift in my career goal from acting to casting. Eight years later, I'm living in LA working as a Casting Assistant on some really amazing projects.
As a Casting Assistant, I get a unique, fly-on-the-wall perspective to the other side of the industry...
I see and hear about what works and what doesn’t, and what separates the actors who get called in and called back from those who do not. I compiled a few notes below on what I have learned!
BE OFF BOOK
During an audition, there are so many factors at play over which the actor has no control. That said, it is especially important to maximize what you can control, one of these things is to learn your lines. You should know the sides well enough that you can take direction in the room and adjust accordingly without having to stress about what your next line is. This may seem simple, but you would be surprised how often actors come in without being completely memorized. We cannot see you if your nose is in your sides - be off book so we can watch you do your thing!
UPDATE YOUR AVAILABILITY
Incorrect avails are one of the biggest issues and stressors that casting faces. Imagine this: you come in for an audition and you kill it in the room! We check your availability with your rep to be sure you are available for the project dates. Your rep tells us you are available, so we pass your tape along to the director and producers. They love your tape, too! We come back to put a pin in you for the project and find out you are actually unavailable for the dates because of a different commitment. This is where it gets sticky: we have to go back to production and let them know that you are not actually available for the project, which is not a good look for any of us!
Please keep your reps in the loop in regard to your availability - having a conflict will not necessarily preclude you from being able to do the project, but it is so important that we be transparent with production about this! It is your responsibility as an actor to make your rep aware of your schedule and any conflicts you may have within it.
YOUR HEADSHOT SHOULD LOOK LIKE YOU - DUH!
Your headshot is the first thing casting sees when sorting through submissions and selecting who looks like they could be right for the part. If your headshot is several years old, it is likely not an accurate representation of your true appearance. If you change your look often, your headshot should change with you. Make sure your headshot is updated on sites like Breakdown Express and Actors Access. You may have the perfect look for a role, but casting will not be able to tell if your headshot doesn't look like you!
WE WANT YOU TO NAIL YOUR AUDITION!
When you come in and kill it in an audition, that makes our job easier - it gives us an
opportunity to send a really great tape to production. Auditioning might feel scary and
intimidating at times but try to remember that casting is on your side. We want you to nail it, and it is exciting for everyone when you do. Come in, do your best, and know that everyone in the audition room with you is crossing their fingers that you are the one they’ve been searching for!
By ATC Alum & LA Casting Assistant, Riley O'Day