Working as a casting director, I have seen some amazing auditions and some truly horrific ones. While each audition is a little different, one of the biggest mistakes you can make while auditioning is acting WITH the casting director. The job of a casting director is to review your performance, not become a member of the cast.
Of course, there is an exception to this rule. If you are given an audition side that is not a monologue, and you aren’t acting with another actor, you will be delivering your lines directly with the casting director; however, this is the only reason you should ever act with the casting director.
Beginner actors often make the mistake of looking at the casting director in the eye when performing a monologue. If you didn’t know better, you would think it’d be a good idea, right? I mean, you’re standing in front of several people, speaking to them, so the proper thing to do is look them in the eye. WRONG!
When you’re delivering a monologue at an audition, you should never look directly at the casting director. Pretend that the casting director is the audience, you never look the audience members in the eye as this disrupts the fourth wall and coverts the onlooker from being an observer into being a participant.
Place an Imaginary Wall between You and the Casting Directors
After you’ve introduced yourself, and slated your name for the camera, immediately build an imaginary wall between yourself and the casting directors. This is a rule! The casting director wants to naturally observe your performance without feeling as if he can’t make notes or feeling as if he must “join” you within your monologue or scene. By establishing an imaginary wall between you and the casting director, you will help maintain the “fourth wall” rule, and allow the casting directors to comfortably watch your performance.
Where to Position Your Eyes
I remember watching an actor perform an audition, and while he didn’t look myself and the other casting associates in the eyes during his monologue, he didn’t look up at all. He was so afraid of catching our eyes, he forced himself to look down and off to the sides. This is equally as disruptive to an audition.
When auditioning, there are two primary focal points you can use. The first is look past the casting directors, or right above their heads. This can work; however, if the casting directors are within your natural eye-line, it will look like you’re staring into the sky, which is quite awkward. The best time to use this focal point is if you are elevated above the casting directors, such as being on a platform or on a stage.
If you are on the same level with your casting directors, the best way to deliver a monologue is to cheat to the side. This way, you can direct your eyes at a natural elevation without looking directly at the casting directors; however, make sure you do not stand completely to the side as the casting directors will only be able to see your profile – not a good thing.