Most actors on auditions are a bit nervous and it comes off like you feel unworthy. When an actor comes in confident, secure, professional, it’s actually a rare thing – and as a film director I mostly see actors with resumes that contain good movie and TV credits, so I am talking about them.
Bother them. What does that mean? I’m going to tell you about my student Jackie who has many many credits under her belt, but wasn’t currently booking anything and who, I felt, came in with an unworthy vibe.
She got an audition for a major network comedy show and it was a real sweet part, meaning it would be great on her resume and on her reel.
She came in for coaching and we found some very great stuff, very funny stuff –It was the part of a yoga instructor and we found that it would be most hilarious if she did it in a chair.
So Jackie goes to meet with the casting director and low and behold there’s no chair in the room. Luckily, I’d discussed this possibility with Jackie and told her to ask for a chair. She said “Really?” with her eyes wide, like that might bother the CD. I said, “So what? It’s her job to facilitate your audition. You are the professional, there to show her how it should be done.”
Jackie trusts me so she asked for a chair. The CD was very annoyed, but Jackie held her ground and the CD got her one. Jackie recovered from bothering the CD and did her thing.
She got a callback.
She went to producers and low and behold the only chair in the room had rollers. She needed a stable chair and so she asked for one and made six producers wait. If you’ve ever been in a producer session you know how this feels. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you they were annoyed.
She did her thing – and she booked the job. She was a professional – she went in showed them how it should be done – and then, by not being afraid to ask for what she needed, booked it. (She actually was afraid, but she trusted me enough to go for it).
As she told me this whole story I was reminded that commercials that annoy their audience sell the most product. Hmmm. Interesting huh?
Don’t be afraid to bother them. Act like an equal, not arrogant, but someone who has something of value to show them and see how your professional life changes.