Actors: Work With Your Allies – Part Two

by Michael Coleman on July 27, 2009

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Continuation from Part 1, Work With Your Allies where Talent Agents and Casting Directors were brought up.  Here are other allies you work with every day that you want to reconsider your approach when working together:


This is your scene partner in an audition. You wouldn’t do a scene on set or in a scene study class without first talking to them. Why would you eliminate this part of the process when real work is on the line? Be efficient but don’t be afraid to respectfully ask for anything you need (a beat or a laugh or something), remember they weren’t in your living room rehearsing this with you. They don’t know what you are thinking? How many auditions have you flubbed because a reader screwed it up for you? It is your audition and therefore your responsibility to initiate dialogue.  Remember to be both efficient and respectful. You always ask if they wouldn’t mind… and you know what you want to ask well in advance. If you can do this quickly and just outside of the room that is often the best way to proceed.


Know your frame. Show them your final mark if you are walking into frame. This is almost always a really quick chat. But if you let them know what you are thinking of doing and if you know what they are shooting in advance you will most likely have all of your magic captured on tape. Nothing worse than losing an audition because whomever is watching the tape can’t see what you’re doing.


All of your dumb questions go here because there is no such thing as a dumb question. Get one on one coaching for EVERY audition. Actors who do this excel and progress more quickly. It is insane to do an audition out loud for the first time in a room (believe me – I used to do this) and it is equally insane to not have done it exactly as you like a few times considering variable before going in for the real deal. How many auditions do you get in a month? Can you really afford not be amazing every time you go in? If you aren’t going in as a legitimate first choice why are you even there in the first place?


They want everyone they see to be perfect for the role so they can have carte blanche pick and design the perfect show. In reality if 10% of actors nail it that is a good day. This mentality needs to change. We should all be nailing it every time. There is no reason not to except laziness or a refusal to be educated. Remember this is a creative and collaborative process. If a director offers you a chance to dialogue or discuss – do so. If you simply answer “no” every time you get the “Do you have any questions?” thing you are turning down a chance to work together. Set moves too quickly to direct as much they would like in the real work and therefore a lot of the directing takes place in the audition room (particularly in episodic work). Find a way to engage the director/producer and show them you can work together.


“Be the change you want to see in the world” is one of my favorite sayings. Be a stronger community. Offer to help others run auditions and don’t be afraid to ask for the same in return. Be better at what you do every day with real things that create real work. When we are a more talented, dedicated community there is more work for everyone. For everyone in every area of the industry.  And make sure you are doing real things that really make us stronger. Get in better shape. Train relentlessly in auditioning and scene study. Booking freebie gigs isn’t something that strengthens our community. In fact, it weakens it to some degree.


michaelcolemanMichael Coleman is an actor, writer, voice-over performer and acting coach based out of Vancouver and Los Angeles. Michael is the founder of The Audition Room and The Shoreline Actors Film & Television Studio both based out of Shoreline Studios.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

yeong jin jeon August 18, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Hi~my name is yeong Jin jeon…i found the information for audition on the websites. i’m wondering what if i get involve in this program..that’s why i sending you this massage.

and i’m really interested in acting. so i’m really want to be part of this program if i can…and i hope that there will be character for me.

or at leaset if there’s something what i can do please call me(# removed by admin). i like to introduce myself to you. I’m from Korea and i’ve been in Canada for only 1year and 5 months..and Acting is my pasion and i’m concerned about being an actor..and i’m 18 years old. and thank you so much.

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