Do you remember rolling your eyes when the girl in your English class would ask a question about a character in a book that she would have known the answer to if she had just read the whole chapter? Well, that's kind of how casting directors feel when an actor asks questions that they could have found the answers to on their own. 'Do you have any questions' is often another way of saying 'Are you ready' Be prepared to get started right away through researching the story, the character, the director and as much information you can gather about the production details. Sometimes a director takes a story everyone is familiar with and they put their own spin on it. Knowing that 'Romeo and Juliet' will take place in the 1970's and Juliet will be portrayed as the hippy daughter of a wealthy mobster might make a difference in how you play the role. If these kinds of questions are not answered through your prior investigation, ask! However, be prepared to change the approach you had planned to take in the way you play the character.
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this role filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search? - What is your favorite part about being a director? - What is your primary goal with this production? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the biggest change in this industry over the past 3 years? - Is there any reason why you would not cast me? "
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? In addition, what types of characteristics are you looking for in the actor who fills this role? And lastly, I would love to hear more about your personal vision for this project."
The interviewer wants to know how comfortable are you with performing in front of large crowds. If you want to perform in front of hundreds of people, you have to reach some of those smaller goals, like starring in the latest adaptation of Peter Pan in a small mountain town theater. The more comfortable you become with larger audiences, the more opportunities you have to perform. With that experience, your confidence grows and you can take on different challenges. As you talk about your experience, even if you have only performed in small plays, talk about your goals and how you are working towards them.
"The biggest audience I have performed in front of was during my time in the off Broadway play 'The Pill'. The theater held approximately 250 seats and we were sold out for 6 days in a row."
"I've performed in front of an audience of 30 and I am currently auditioning for larger theater troupes."
"I have performed in front of audiences of all sizes. If I can recall correctly, the largest audience was likely around 800 individuals. That was while performing at our city's annual holiday production. I love performing in front of large crowds. It's exhilarating!"
Will you ever walk the stage of the Academy Awards to accept an Oscar like Marlon Brando? Forget about it! Okay, okay, anything is possible! Even as you visualize those actors who have awed wide audiences and won those awards, think about the characters they have embodied. What made them believable? How did they make a significant contribution to the film? When you talk about your favorite actor, talk about their characters, films and the lengths they went through to take on those characters. Show your understanding of how a person's individual style can make their characters great.
"My favorite actor, since I was a child, has been Audrey Hepburn. She is classic and embodies the idea of effortless acting."
"I have many favorite actors, in a variety of categories. For comedic actors, I admire Bradley Cooper the most. When it comes to drama, I cannot get enough of Denzel Washington. When it comes to romance, well...Ryan Gosling has it all! I believe the common theme between all of these actors is that, despite their years in Hollywood, they remain level headed in a challenging industry."
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with setbacks as an actor.
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to debrief and discuss with the director what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."
"Setbacks happen for a reason and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."
Transforming into a new character can be tough! Physical transformation is one thing, but there are some characters you will play that require skill and technique in order for you to embody them in a convincing way. Talk to the interviewer about how you over come the challenge of embodying a very detailed character. Talk about your techniques, talents, and strategies that helped you to get into character.
"So far, the most challenging character I have had to change into was a character much older than myself. I echoed his personality by tapping into some of the mannerisms that I saw in my own grandfather. That technique was very helpful for me."
"Here are some ways that you can get into a difficult character: - Perform a lot of research on them and their environment - Practice in real life. Try spending a whole day in that character - Find a real life source to mimic - Make a true connection with the character in any way...big or small "
"I played a character very different from my true self, in a play, last year. I got into character by doing an immense amount of research on the characters' background. I literally put myself in her shoes by practicing the accent at every opportunity. I also found a motivation source. A real life character that I could emulate."
Perhaps your first role was when you were in a school play at 8 years old. Or, maybe you were cast in a local commercial that you tried out for. For some, acting is in their blood. They have molded themselves into characters since early childhood. You may reflect fondly on your first role or, you may not. Your example merely gives the casting director historical context and insight into you as an actor. How have you grown and improved?
"My very first acting role was a commercial for a local candy store when I was just 5 years old. I recall memorizing my lines in my bedroom and being really nervous for the big day. I don't even remember if I was paid for the gig! Regardless, it gave me the bug for acting and I haven't looked back since."
"I just started pursuing my acting career which means that my list of experience is short. I recently played a minor role in a community play. Not only was the experience fun, it also taught me a great deal about discipline. I am excited to get the ball rolling on my career as an actor."
"I started my acting career in my grade 7 school play! I cannot recall a lot of the details but I remember how I felt. Like I was on top of the world! Ever since that day, I knew I wanted to be an actor."
The filming process can be long and tedious. The same goes for play rehearsals. You will need to be flexible and eager to work whatever hours are expected. Now would be a good time to ask about expectations if you're not sure what the schedule might look like. Don't be surprised if there isn't a clear schedule. Decide before the audition what you are able to realistically commit and relay that to the interviewer.
"I am available any day you need me. I have a couple of small commitments I will need to tend to while we are shooting the film, but I am extremely flexible."
"I am 100% committed to this process and will make myself available any hours required for this role."
"Yes, I am able to work long hours. After 13 years of being an actor, I am definitely accustomed to the long days required in this line of work. You can certainly count on me to be available when needed."
There are many reasons why you will have difficulty with certain characters. Sometimes it's because you can't relate. Other times you can relate too well. Perhaps you are reminded of an estranged relationship with a family member because the character is so similar. Or, maybe you have never met anyone like that character in real life.
"I was playing the role of Lurch in The Adams Family and it was difficult because I had to maintain the exact same expression for the entire play. I've never played a static character like that before."
"Last month I auditioned for a role where the character was the opposite gender of myself. I wanted to audition for the challenge but knew it would be incredibly difficult."
"I have experienced this numerous times in my acting career. The greatest challenge of my acting career so far was to play the character of an abuser. I am gentle by nature so it was incredibly challenging for me to play someone directly opposite of me. Getting out of character was equally challenging. I had to spend time meditating and doing yoga after a day on set, just so I could shake the character a bit."
Special skills could be anything from funny voices to acting techniques that make your style unique. You may have a character that you made up that shows your creativity and comedic skill. If you can cry on cue, that's a skill! Think about some of the skills you have perfected that you can act out on the spot upon request. If you're not sure, list off some examples to jog your memory. Reflect on some of your past roles and productions you did in the past.
"Yes, I sure do! I have a really great British accent and am also able to cry on cue. How those two skills could be used in the same scene? I don't know, but I am definitely ready!"
"Here are some special skills that you could mention: - Multiple accents or dialects - Singing abilities - Dancing abilities - Strong projection - Make up artistry - Wardrobe specialty - Set design or building "
"I have found through my years as an actor that I have a strong flair for set and wardrobe design. I really enjoy incorporating those skills into the projects that I take on. It never hurts to bring more to the table than your director expects."
When you're not busy working on a new role for a production, you are spending your time working towards your goals. If you want to be an actor, you'll need to be willing to put yourself out there. Get creative and be persistent. You'll need to know how to market yourself to gain attention from talent agencies and casting directors. There is always something you can be working on, even if it's just doing research and taking time to brush up on skills you know would help you get the part next time.
"I joined an actors guild to help me network and learn from other actors. Each week we take turns presenting a topic and sharing tips to help each other out. I'm also taking a stand-up class to gain more confidence, help with my writing and comedic timing."
"I recently joined a local theatre troupe and we are currently working on a production of 'Fiddler on the Roof'. It's been incredible so far and I have learned a great deal about musical theatre. "
"I have a few projects on the go at the moment. Two of which are very significant. One, a commercial for a new beverage product. The other project is a one-man-play that I am producing and starring in. We are opening January 8th."
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking you don't need to work on your acting skills. There is always room for improvement! What are some things you noticed when watching a tape of your past show? It takes insight to be able to see and articulate what you could have done better. Acting is a learning process that never ends. There is always something to gain from your performances, good and bad, because there will be new characters and stories to tell. The more you hone your skills and learn from your mistakes, the better actor you will become.
"I played Miss Hannigan in 'Annie.' I think I played the character a bit overly emotional. As I've learned to express myself through acting, I am also learning how to reign it in and focus on the point I am trying to get across, not just the emotion behind it."
"Recently, I played Rizzo in the play 'Grease'. I had great delivery of my lines but if I am honest - my dance moves could have been better. I should have practiced these moves more fervently and perhaps hired a dance coach."
"As an experienced actor, I have learned to critique myself quite thoroughly. The most I have ever critiqued myself was after a commercial aired that I starred in. It was for Telus Mobility and the first time, in a long time, that I performed in front of a green screen with CGI incorporated after the fact. After seeing the commercial I actually hired a coach specifically for commercial acting. I feel much more natural in that setting now."
Now that you know your type and can talk about your style, it will be easier to identify the roles the best fit roles. As you develop a broader range, meaning ability to develop a greater depth within a wider spectrum of characters, you have more options. Practice makes perfect! You may need to challenge yourself by trying something new. Share how what you've done in the past has prepared you.
"Since I have been playing 'the girl next door' quite often, I want to challenge myself by going after more villain or temptress roles. I've been watching Betty Davis films and working with my acting coach to take on this darker style of character."
"I would really like to land my first role in a musical. I think it would be very challenging for me as an actor. I am trained in classical music and voice so I definitely see a potential fit."
"There are so many roles that I would like to try in the future, including roles that are on the emotional and dramatic side. I tend to be cast in a lot of comedic based roles and would like to change that."
Are you familiar with actors unions? A union is designed to protect you as an actor, ensuring fair pay, hours, and working conditions. In the past, unions have passed legislation that bring work to areas where actors are struggling for employment. Casting directors and producers look highly upon those who join unions, because your membership shows that you are a professional and take your career seriously. If you aren't a union member, check to see what is available in your state. Your membership could get you your next audition!
"I just became a union member, yes! I am happy to have joined Actra International recently."
"I have been a Actra member for 8 years. It's the best decision I have made for my career in the acting industry."
In order to become a well-respected actor, you will need to have the self-awareness that you can always improve, and know what you can improve upon. Auditions are one way to learn these things. So is feedback from other actors and directors. As you learn your weak points, learn how to talk about them and describe how you seek to improve. You may have recently learned that your British accent is not believable, so you have been watching Jane Austen films repeatedly and speaking with an accent around your friends to improve. Be specific. Make a list of any areas you know you stand for improvement and think of what you can do.
"I would really like to expand on my range of accents and dialects. I recently enrolled in a 4 week workshop dedicated entirely to this craft. This workshop starts in 4 days. I'm really excited to see what doors this training will open for me!"
"I am passionate about being an actor which means that I am always open to new training opportunities. There is always room to improve. If I had to choose one particular area today, I would choose to learn more about method acting."
"Training and continuous improvement is very important to me, as an actor. I would like to improve myself in the area of Stanislavski’s System. This method is so widely used and I cannot get enough of it."
This is a great opportunity for you to talk about your experience! You don't have to choose a character that is extremely challenging or complex. Perhaps you brought depth to a typically flat character. Talk about how you made them interesting to watch. Maybe you enjoyed playing the character simply because of your passion for the overall production. Share what you learned from that role.
"My absolute favorite role was playing Viola de Lesseps in 'Shakespeare in Love.' Her character was so complex and I loved playing a historical character."
"I am newer to my acting career and will never forget the very first role I was given. It was a local performance of 'Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley' and I played the character of Mrs. Darcy. The script was challenging due to the flowery language and lengthy monologues."
"Every part I am awarded is my favorite for a unique reason! It is just so difficult to choose as I appreciate each role for their uniqueness. If I had to choose just one, I would say that the production of "The Humans" was what stretched me as an actor the most. Playing Aimee in this one act play was an incredible experience for me."
The interviewer would like to be assured that you are knowledgeable when it comes to the technicalities associated with acting. Choose one particular method that you feel most confident in and show that you would be able to teach it to the room.
"If I could teach the room any acting technique, I would choose Stanislavski’s System. Every actor should be able to get in touch with their own human emotions by recalling their own personal experiences, drawing on intimate pain, and memory recall."
"I love the idea that I could, one day, teach a room of budding actors! I am newer to this profession so the technique I would currently choose would be a straightforward method such as Practical Aesthetics. This method focus' on script work and developing a very literal understanding of the events in the script or scene."
"I have taught many workshops in my acting career. My favorite, by far, have been Viola Spolin’s approach to actor improvement through theater games. I like to encourage students to become better at immediate response and reaction. This method is, in a sense, elevated improv."
The interviewer or casting director would like to be assured of your confidence! By asking this question, they get to see just how prepared you are when the pressure is on. The best way to answer this is to say yes, and offer to jump right into the scene.
"Yes, absolutely! I have memorized Scene 4 in full, because the character monologue really jumped out to me. May I read through this scene for you?"
"The best way to prepare for an audition is to memorize the lines of the role you intend to play. You can hold the script in front of you, but don't hold it too close to your mouth! Hiding behind your script will make it difficult for you to be heard. If you are on video, they can't see the expressions on your face either. Learn as much as you can about the character, the story and how the director intends to portray the piece before you go into your audition. Understand the tone, dialect and style. It can be a bit nerve wracking to read in front of another professional, but take heart! The more you audition the more opportunities you have to practice! So, when you are asked to read through the script, be prepared to jump right into character. "
"I would be happy to read through a scene with you. I have prepared the monologue from (character name) on page 18. If there is another scene that you prefer me to perform, I am glad to do so."
Don't overthink it! Formal training or not, you do have experience with improv! Some of the techniques you already use to get into character stem from spontaneous thought or action to propel you forward and help you try new things. If you were a part of a comedy group, great! Talk about some of your most successful performances. Were you able to read the other actors well? How did you use your senses and your intuition to keep the material flowing? Think about the games you played in acting class. As you talk about your experience, share what has been helpful from using improve in your acting. How does it help you to relate better with other characters and get in touch with your emotions?
"I may not have formal training in improvisation but I believe that my 4 years' experience as an actor has given me many opportunities to improvise on set. This improv experience includes jumping in when a cast member forgets their lines, and also playing warm up games before practice begins."
"I recently attended a 3 week improv course and it was amazing! I learned so many new techniques for thinking on my feet and I look forward to putting these into practice in my next project."
"I have taken two different workshops in improvisation through Durham Improvisation and Bad Dog Theatre. It's an incredibly important skill that I have continued to develop through my 7 year career as an actor."
Don't get caught in the trap of telling them your life story! The interviewer wants to get to know you, but most interested in how it will help you be successful in acting school or in their next production. Sharing your training, acting experience and a few hobbies is a great place to start. When talking about hobbies, think about the ones that could be relevant to the job. You'll need to focus, study and research, so talking about how you enjoy reading poetry or how you have played on a successful sports team is valuable information. You'll be working with a lot of different personalities, so talking about how much you love people and enjoy going out to concerts or other public places where you get to meet new people shows that you are outgoing and friendly. Try to keep this answer brief, but give the interviewer reason to want to know more about you. The way you talk about yourself is also important. Be enthusiastic and composed. Show that you are prepared.
"“I have a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from the University of Michigan. I am also a professional pianist and classically trained vocalist. I’m currently looking for a change into professional acting."
"With pleasure! I have over 10 years in experience in commercial acting and am interested in growing my career to the next level. On a more personal note, I love to read classic novels, go hiking and spend a lot of my extra time volunteering with the humane society."
Working well on a team requires you to have solid interpersonal skills and self-awareness. Assure the interviewer that you have strong team-player skills. Briefly tell the interviewer why you see yourself as a team player.
"I truly believe that I am a team player because I cannot accept success without knowing that my team has also been acknowledged for their efforts. Everything that I have achieved in my current role is not only due to my own hard work but is also due to the great collaboration of my uber-talented team."
"Some qualities that make you a strong team player: - Having the ability to empathize - Humility - Willingness to highlight the wins of others - Strong listening skills - The ability to encourage others - Participating in extra-curricular activities - Showing respect to everyone in the workplace - Being proactive on projects - Offering creative solutions - Contributing when it is not expected of you - Displaying self-awareness - Accepting feedback on your performance "
"I see great value in being a team player because you learn so much more vs working alone. I definitely prefer working as part of a team. It's diverse and engaging."
You don't have to be a director or official lead in order to motivate others. Offering a listening ear or providing words of encouragement can make a world of difference to your cast mates. Sometimes, simply being a positive influence and showing up consistently can also make a difference. If you have worked in a leadership role, think of ways you helped set clear goals or helped individuals cultivate a new skill. Reflect on your experience and share some ways that you have helped encourage others to keep up the good work!
"I motivate my fellow team members by coming to work with an exceptional attitude every day. I won't allow anyone's bad mood to let me down. That influence alone has helped many of my cast mates get through their day on a more positive note."
"I motivate others by complimenting their work, asking them their opinion, and making them feel like a valued part of the team."
"I motivate my cast mates by telling them the many ways in which they inspire me! When you know that you inspire others, you tend to be more motivated to keep going, even on the toughest of days."
Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play. Most early sources in the West that examine the art of acting (Ancient Greek: hypokrisis) discuss it as part of rhetoric.