What to do if you have a bad Reader in Your Audition! – Casting Call

Written by | The Craft of Acting

Know what to do when you have a bad reader at your audition! Also Catrine answers questions about the scams you should look out for as you start your career and if taking out a loan for an acting competition is worth it.

I auditioned for a movie today and the guy who was reading with me was awful – he kept messing up the lines and was really flat. It made it impossible for me to do the audition the way I rehearsed it. Why don’t casting people have better actors reading with auditioning actors? – Travis M., Bangor, ME

Oh boy…dangerous territory. The audition is about YOU, not about the person reading with you. Be very careful not to be offensive towards anyone on the casting staff. Focus on yourself. If you are reading with an actor who you may not consider to be of great caliber, it gives you the ability to shine. If the reader skips lines or messes up a cue, the audition has now become somewhat of an improv. Pick up the scene where you can – get the point across and move on. Some of the worst auditions I’ve seen are over-rehearsed and become rote and boring. Sometimes a glitch in what the auditioning actor is expecting is what gives the scene a freshness or a spark.

If you are in this situation, remember three things:

  • NEVER correct or direct the reader
  • Don’t break character
  • Go with the flow

What scams does a beginning actor like me need to watch out for? – Sally V., Indianapolis, IN

There are many things to be aware of, and ReelGuru.com will cover all of them in depth in ensuing issues. Here is a brief outline of what to ‘watch out’ for:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are approached out of the blue by someone wanting to make you a star, look out.
  • Don’t pay to audition – ever.
  • Get an agent, but make sure the agency doesn’t charge anything upfront.
  • When it comes to a contract and agreements of any kind – be it with an agent or a producer – get it in writing!
  • If you are unsure that a project or person is real, check with your local film commission.
  • If your gut tells you something’s wrong, don’t let greed and empty promises lead you astray!

My agent told me I qualified to be in a big acting competition in LA. It’s a lot of money and I’ll have to get a loan to do it. Do you think it’s worth it?  Teresa D., Macon, GA

This is a touchy question. Many industry professionals feel that these national talent searches, where you often have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to attend, are a scam. But on the other hand, I have spoken to people who have attended who just loved it and felt that they got their money’s worth. You need to take a careful look at the cost and analyze what the investment is for the return. At most of these competitions, you will meet casting directors and agents. OK. Good. Now, you live in Macon, and say you don’t plan on moving anywhere. An agent in LA expresses interest in you. Are you prepared to move to LA, because you can’t do it long distance. You will often find out about an audition only hours before–then what do you do about a callback a week later? THINK before you act and make an educated decision before plopping out huge amounts of money.

– Catrine McGregor

For more on acting from Catrine, check out her book Acting Across America!

Catrine has cast well over 400 projects, including films, TV, IMAX, commercials, webseries and video games. She is a member of the prestigious CSA (Casting Society of America).During her forty year career in the film industry, Catrine has worked extensively all over the US as well as Europe and Africa. She prides herself in discovering and developing new talent, and has done so with many people that you see every day in films and on TV. 


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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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