Comedy Comedy COMEDY!
Over the years, I've seen thousands of auditions. What always struck me is the impression actors have of what goes on behind closed doors. We, in casting, don't see 20 auditions where only 1 is good and THAT is the person we choose. No. We see 20 auditions where 19 are good and 1 is spectacular. The trick as an actor is to be that 1 who really stands out. How do you do that?
Casting directors don't attend casting school. We are not specially trained through a trade institution in the art of choosing the right actor. Instead we learn on the job. First as interns, then assistants, assoiates and finally directors. Our taste and ability to spot a "special" audition is honed over the years. Yet, it is still incredibly subjective. Truly we learn what we like by watching auditions over and over again.
Because of this, I deparately wanted to help. I saw actors coming in the room and making the same mistakes over and over. Falling into the same traps. Easily fixed were it not for the time limitations of casting. Yes, we re-direct but we cannot spend an hour with each actor - it's unrealistic.
My goal and dream is to help actors master the art of auditioning. Pulling open the curtain to reveal there is no wizard, just a person!
When actors ask me, "What makes an audition great?" I tell them 2 things. First, watch tv, films, theatre, commercials and see what makes you feel something. There is an ineffable quality to a great actor or performance. You cannot put your finger on what specifically makes it great. If Robert Downey Jr. breaks your heart in a performance, was it meisner? Who cares! He is simply just good and compelling. Casting is product and actors are process. However you get to us - you get to us and we don't care the process.
However, there is one thing that stands out as consistent in great performances be they comedy or drama. A pop of unexpcted comedy. Really skilled technicians will use comedy in a sneaky way. In a drama, it seems unexpected. Even if it's not HAHA funny, just a little tounge in cheek - it sets apart the audition.
Think about DEXTER. Imagine how endless that should would have been without the skillfull levity infused by Michal C. Hall. Makes all the difference in the world.
No need to become a comedian but sharpen those skills - even if you aren't a naturally "funny" person or actor. Take an improv class, or a standup class. Do something outside of your comfort zone. The results will be worth it.