What to do when your audition sides have no context! – Scams and Vents

Written by | Getting my Career Started

A reader writes in asking for help when the sides offer no context of the scene. Also, a reader shares with us an experience he had that was straight out of La La Land!

I had an experience just like a scene from La La Land. In the middle of my audition, a pizza was delivered right in the audition – the casting director actually got her wallet out and tipped the guy. Granted, it was done in hushed whispers but nonetheless, it happened. How is an actor supposed to pull out of that? Does that actor stand any chance — at all — of getting the role? – Alex K., Portland, Oregon

ReelGuru.com: We cannot speak for this particular casting director, or for any casting director for that matter, but in any universe, this behavior is flat-out rude and inconsiderate. If a casting director can’t take the time to take a proper lunch break, he or she has scheduled poorly. It has happened to me to have a session go over and for me to be incredibly hungry. What I have done in those circumstances is to possibly get some lunch that is hidden away from the actors, and bites are taken in between auditions. I have had situations where a director will be eating during a callback, and I will flat out stop the audition until they are done. They often protest, saying that they are on a schedule, but I just won’t do that to an actor. Please forgive the rudeness of some people.


I have been to so many auditions where I get sides that tell me nothing about the context of the scene. Is there ever a way to be able to read the whole script? – Crystal M., Traverse City, MI

ReelGuru.com: Ah, yes…this is an answer that could evolve into an encyclopedia! So, we will attempt to give as many overviews to this concern as we can:

  1. Casting directors love to see the wonderful choices that actors come up with when given the information on-hand. What is important is making a good, strong decision, even if it ultimately doesn’t fit the context of the actual story. If you are given sides that give you no clue of the tone of the scene, you need to direct yourself and make that choice, Let’s say you make a choice of the sides being comedic, and you nail your choice. If the actual storyline is that of a funeral, do you think the casting director will turn you away? NO! They will be thrilled to see an actor who was savvy and committed enough to make a strong choice and stick to it!
  2. READ EVERYTHING in the sides! Often, whole chunks of the sides are crossed out, and actors don’t bother to read them because it “doesn’t affect their audition,’” but it DOES! What if, in the crossed-out part of the sides I mentioned in One, someone mentions that “they’re not sure that they won’t fall apart during Tina’s eulogy.” Wow. Maybe this isn’t a comedy. The casting director won’t mind if the information about the tone is not there, but if it IS, and you miss it, that’s a problem.
  3. If it is a SAG project, you must have access to the entire script before your audition. This is a SAG rule that few people know, including agents. There are certain occasions when the company doesn’t want to leak the actual ending, and they may have a fake ending or simply not include it, but other than that, you should be able to access the whole script. In the days when sides needed to be faxed, being able to read the whole script usually meant reading it in your agent’s office. Now, sending the entire script involves hitting a ‘send’ button.

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Last modified: October 23, 2018

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