2 – The Walk In
This is a funny little section, you walk in, yes, you’re nervous, there are important people you don’t know, they’ve made you wait outside and now you’re alone with them. They know it, you know it. News Flash: they don’t care.
They want to know who you are. Be comfortable, this is your space – remember they have made time for you. In fact, nerves are a part of the package. If I don’t get a bit nervous walking in – then I start to get really scared! So most directors will be sympathetic, but only to a point. You want to get over it pretty quick after the introductions and small talk. And there’s another thing – the small talk - it’s no small thing, they want to know who you are. They’re considering joining you at the hip with a bunch of strangers for several weeks in a very demanding, pressurised and intimate environment. Be yourself, if you’re softly spoken, be softly spoken. If you compensate with false bravado – do that (if you must) – but be real. It seems like such a forced situation having to be polite with people you don’t know – but this isn’t a barbeque after your sister-in-law’s hockey final – this is something you want to be doing for the rest of your life! So don’t pretend – be authentic. There’s a slim chance they won’t like you for who you are, but this business is full of all kinds of weird, crazy egomaniacs who are perfectly loveable. If you can’t even give a tiny glimpse of who you are, you simply won’t stand out from the crowd – and how can anyone expect an authentic performance? Take a moment, get past the nerves and enjoy the simple pleasure of meeting these people. They could be your new best friend...
3 – The Reading
Ok, so now it’s down to business, after all the preparation, the nerves are jangling again and it’s time to show them what you’ve got. So let them have it. Trust yourself, your instincts, and your interpretation. There isn’t a lot I can say on this matter in the way of advice, because every actor works differently. From the casting perspective – it’s simple. They have a problem – this part needs filling. You’re there to solve it. So go hard. Before you start, it’s worth doing any final checks on the pronunciation of certain words or phrases, or ask any basic questions you might have going in. Save some of your more complex questions about character for a bit later on – there’s a time for that – right now it’s just you and the script. Now, it’s important to remember that nobody nails the first reading. No-one. Ever. It’s just impossible. There are too many factors at play. So the people in front of you simply do not expect perfection. Remember this – because it means you’re off the hook! Sort of… It won’t be perfect, but they do want to see what you’ve got. So whatever your decisions are – commit to them. Unless it’s panto you're going for – avoid the histrionics – fist pumping, shouting, wild gesticulations and sudden movements aren’t going to help much here. Just simple, pure, commitment to the lines. It’s even ok if you drop a couple here or there. Improvise if you have to, but stay in character and give it your best. Have fun!