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What Casting Directors Want? You in a Character, Not Acting

How to prepare for auditions

A Cardinal Question for Actors to Ponder Over if You are Failing in Auditions

Do You Know What Casting Directors are Looking in Auditions? 

The process of auditioning is often neglected by actors and unfortunately seen as the poor uncreative cousin to acting; a necessary evil, the thing you have to learn so that you can get the role and enter into Bollywood or in TV serial industry.

This negative attitude towards audition is just plain wrong.
Auditioning is a dynamic creative process that can shine a light on your soul and test your skills and bravery like few other artistic disciplines can. It is an art form unto itself.

From my experience, here are just a few of the many qualities that make an audition a highly creative art.
Preparing an audition is an exciting, hopeful and sometimes lonely process.
Many a times we don’t know ourselves

1. Knowing your own self is its cornerstone 

A film/TV casting director while auditioning an actor is seeking an answer to a question, “Who are you and what do you have to add to the role?” It’s not about acting choices, but what you (your essence) personally have to add to the role. It requires a way of working that allows you to go deeply into your own personality and explore what qualities you have in physical, mental, cultural, behavioral and emotional peculiarities to make you a different and unique individual and how to select some of them to make your character you intend playing at an audition more colorful and dynamic.
You start analyzing and probing your own self.  “What are the most interesting and compelling qualities I have to offer this role?” “Which parts of me will bring in a character an interesting new unique dynamism to increase heartbeat and thrill viewers?
Self-exploration is an elating and necessary work for the actor and the fundamental requirement for the art of auditioning. Greatness can be achieved by the knowledge gained through these self-probing, identifying, selecting and then applying your relevant attributes to the character.

For example, who you are? What is your profile (Physical? Mental? Social? Cultural?) - Confident, happy, particular voice and accent or diction, with unique gesture, indecisive aggressive, rare mental and emotional makeup, religious or not, extrovert or introvert, of positive or doubtful, from lower or middle or upper class of background… well, there could be many attributes of your personalities which makes you a different human being.
Please remember, the art of the film/TV audition is discovering NOT how you can act the role, but who you are in the role.

2. It requires individual technique. 

The art of performance requires a method that allows you to disappear into a character. The art of audition requires a technique that allows you to create and define that character with the unique qualities that are yours and yours alone.
The audition technique you use, needs to increase your focus and concentration. If an audition requires listening to a co-actor or a reader, it needs you to really listen and react (as if you are listening for the first time) with more energy than you may normally listen within your real life. It needs to make the stillness of listening required in a film/TV audition look natural even if it’s an action scene!
Your own technique with your most compelling qualities that you have should be targeted towards the role. The greatest advantage of this technique is that you can be present in the room with confidence and ease, and be the actor directors want to work with and have to hire

3. It demands a true courage

Any art form that asks you to stand up in front of people and express yourself requires courage. Auditioning though, tests your courage, not just at the end, but every step of the way. It starts with the way you enter, greet, stand, your eyes and facial expressions, gestures all through audition. Also, it continues in the need for complete trust in yourself and your instincts, as well as the courage to commit to your decisions of portraying a character, having no idea how they will be received.
Yes, “auditioning” in itself is a distinct art form like singing, dancing, acting, painting to name a few having the courage to explore your heart and soul and to not stop until you find the your unique parts of yourself to incorporate into the role. Now, you have to stand in the room and let everybody see a particular and rare character as you! Just you.
And then you have to accept the responses to your audition. If you’re performing as an actor or singer on a stage, you can always assign some of the reaction to your performance to things outside of yourself: “they didn’t like the play, not their type of music, etc.” But in auditioning, it’s once again just you, and if you don’t the role, the “no” can have a much sharper sting. But, you must celebrate. Because you have done, perhaps very few actors can do- transformed into a rare character. A true and honest TV/film audition, demands complete exposure and full-frontal emotional nudity.
Audition is the art of telling the truth, naked, in extreme close-up.
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