August 19, 2022
What's the difference between casting and auditioning? Let's talk about it. No one casts you, your work casts you. You know, actors love to get caught up in this idea that, you know, if I do enough yoga, or I drink enough wheatgrass, and I meditate, these are all really good things for you. But they're not ultimately what's going to get you a job and subsequently give you a career. That comes from the choices you make.
Your talent is in the choices you make. Now, having conducted thousands of auditions, I never felt that we cast anyone, or that we gave them a job, I felt like they won the role. And that, you know, as the writer, or the writer-director, we've got an idea of what the part is. We want you to show us the parts that we don't know about yet. So, you must understand that you're a vital part of the production process. That it's not you know, we're being nice to you or we're hiring you because you're a nice person, it's because you're a real asset to the production.
So, let go of this idea. People have, you know, auditioning, it's more like sports tryouts. If you're the fastest person and you catch the ball the most, you're the one who's going to win the roll, right? Every now and then I hear this strange term that I went on a casting. It feels like they got encased in plaster or something like they did a body cast of you, is that what happened? Or I got casted what? You got casted. They did do a body cast. Wow, I'm glad you got out of that thing. So once again, write it down, raise my personal standards to the heavens. Aim high. Aim for the sun. Your fall back is Saturn. Sadly, most actors aim for a shrub. If it's a nice one, it's a boxwood. And then they hit the dirt. You've got to aim very high with this stuff, and learn to love auditioning. Actors love to say things like, you know, I'm great once they get the role. But I just really suck at auditioning. You're ever gonna get the role.
You got to learn to love it. Like you're playing, you know, pick up basketball, or you're playing flag football with your pals, that it's a joyful opportunity to get to do what you love in front of people that love it, too. And maybe they're so fraught with the travails of pre production, that you're going to make them forget those travails and remind them, us of why we got into this in the first place that we love it. But you got to let go of this idea that there's some magical, mystical thing out there. It's really no different to craft than carpentry and if you study with a finished carpenter or a master carpenter, you'll be one, two, if you stay there long enough, and you train long enough. So aim high, train high. So once again, write it down. Craft plus commitment, equal confidence and career like the way that scans, right? I hope you do, too. Here's the bad news. No one is coming to save you. Here's the good news. No one's coming to save you. It's all up to you. You are in the driver's seat, right? Remember, the windshield is larger than the rearview mirror. Why? Where you're going is more important than where you been. So, we go back to I convinced myself I am an artist by my actions and the world is my witness. It's not up to anybody but me. Read aloud every day. Get used to your voice leaving your body. Now if you don't practice this with regularity, when you walk into a room to audition, when you get to do that, increasingly, it's on Zoom. But, you know, in our classes, I'm really amazed at the people that are nervous on Zoom. We go you know what, I think you're just a nervous person. And this is another opportunity for you to be nervous because you're not even in the same room with other people. I can't reach through the screen and come and get you. People tend to stress and worry about things they cannot control. But the things that you can control and those are the things to focus your energy on. As I said, working on your voice, read a little Shakespeare aloud, always aloud.
Every day you will feel like you are an actor. Once I got into production and producing, it was really revelatory and it was a real gift to the actors I work with, because now I had a 360-degree perspective of what this is. Most casting directors unless it's a very small role, do not have the ability to say this person. They scheduled appointments, and they bring you in the room. It's up to the producers, and the director and the studio or the network have to sign off too. So, you know, there are going to be certain casting directors that love your work, and there's going to be other ones you'll never be able to get into. Maybe they saw your headshot. and it reminds them of an old boyfriend, or girlfriend who broke their heart and you know, but I just can't worry about that. And neither should you. So it's all about your choices, all about the choices you make and that's in your control. You must have a technique that becomes so secondary, that when you read something, you're not making choices based on your intellect, they now become instinctive because you have tools and a certain vocabulary. And folks, remember, everybody in the business of show wants the same thing. There's one universal that is underneath every position in film or television and in the theater. You know, I'll ask this question and people say, well, everybody wants respect. Everybody wants fame. Well, these days, I don't think everybody wants fame. Yeah, that can be a really uncomfortable situation. You want just the right level of fame, right? The one thing that everybody wants, especially casting directors is to work again. So, when we bring you in, when the casting person brings you in, if it's difficult for you to get into that office, it's because they don't know you yet.
And so, the odds of you hurting there to work again stalk with this production company, or these producers, or this director is not as great, you know, it's not as great as the positive could be. So, you've got to get that positive thing going. I recommend writing letters, the old-fashioned way. A small gift, nothing too huge can be just a couple of little Godiva chocolates, something. Create relationship and if you get a no. Remember, no is only know until you flip it and then it spells we're on. So, that's your job to get to that place. But you know, whether it's the honey wagon driver, whether it's the mixer, makeup, hair wardrobe, everybody wants to work again. So when you see certain directors, certain producers work with the same people over and over again, we know it works. So why would I change it? So the answer is unknown. Remember, as an actor, sadly, you're guilty till proven talented. That's because in the world, we're in anybody, and everybody can print a picture. And maybe you thought this way, at one point, that's okay. You know, now it's just a matter of time. But it's not about that, it's actually a skill set. But remember over and over again. When acting is done well, it's seemingly invisible. But no story happens on an ordinary day. So, your ability to ascertain that in your script analysis, that's a skill. And the good news is, it's a teachable skill. So write this down once again, relaxation, concentration, imagination. Relaxation, which has to do with the breath, and your vocal warm-up, and your body, right, creates concentration and that releases your imagination. Because the character is always yourself living truthfully, under these given imaginary circumstances. So, the core comes from you and that only comes out of a relaxed voice and a relaxed body. So that's why there's work that has to be done in this area. You've got to know that you know what, you know. We refer to this as the unshakable skill set and the unshakable skill set is comprised of 15 guideposts, 6 viewpoints, 4 parts of vocal variation, and the 4 agreements.
Hopefully some of you know that book. I give them out as Christmas presents, check out the 4 Agreements, you'll be glad you did. So let's talk a little bit more about the unshakable skill set. You know, Film and Television, folks, are very, very fast now. I've never been able to get one day of paid rehearsal for the actors. So we sneak rehearsals. So, you've got to make choices and you know, in the world of the script. There's the original script, and you're gonna get blue pages, and then it goes through a whole Crayola 64 of buff pages, gray pages, cherry pages, and then heaven forbid, we go all the way through to double white, double blue. I really load working that way I like the script to be locked. But sadly, in TV particularly, it become less and less the case. So, it's up to you to be able to make choices swiftly and on the spot. So, this life is based a lot on perception. So, when you see a certain agencies name, we go, oh, they must be a skilled actor to be represented by that agency. So one of my best pals is a very well known casting director and I would ask her, so what do you think of this agency? And she would give one of three answers. And she would say, Oh, they have good people. And then I'd suggest another agency on another day and she would say they have a couple of good people.
And then on another day, I would ask about another agency. And she would say, no. So, you are carrying that reputation forward. Once again, raise my personal standards to the heavens. There is a big difference between getting a job and having a 50-60 year career. I executive produced six films for CBS And the last one I did We had Doris Roberts in the cast And she was easy to get CBS to approve of because she was currently playing Ray Romano's mother in Everybody Loves Ray and I've loved her work for a long time. So, I actually was the champion to bring Doris into this project, because I wanted to get to know her while she was on a top 10 show, everybody loves Ray. Every Saturday she was in acting class, working on the great parts. As you wrote me this beautiful note and I remember one particular lunch. You know, you're in class every Saturday. Why is that? She goes well, I need to work on the great roles that challenge me. So I keep growing. Because the stuff I have to do on the show and it's a good show. I mean, sitcoms are hard to do. Think about really good ones, you probably count them on one hand. And the first ones I Love Lucy, right? While she was shooting up until she passed at 90 years old, she was in class every Saturday. And she said class is what got her that show and classes what got her to continue growing on that show. So train, train, train. If you're a violinist, If you're a gymnast, you wouldn't think twice about this right?
But actors are yeah, I don't want to mess with my gift. Okay, remember, hope is not a life strategy, and unshakable skill set is. So, as we continue our deep dive, before we dive any deeper, subscribe below. Every time you audition, you are carrying the reputation of your agency and or your manager into that audition. Actors don't tend to think of these things. Yes. So if you tank the audition, that doesn't assist your agent and or manager to get other clients into that room. You hit it out of the park, wow, that agent has good people. So are you one of those people yet? How do you get experience, class for sure and then student films. Student films are a great place to learn camera because you know, there's really nothing at stake in terms of a budget, in terms of distribution and I've actually been in some and had a great time with students who have gone on to become very successful directors. So, I'm a big believer in the student films. So we are living in the golden age of Zoom. What did we do before Zoom? Well, here's the good news. The minute your image comes on screen, we're going back to that preconception word. We have a feeling about your background, not too busy, but not a gray wall. There's an opportunity to be creative, but be subtle with it, right?
So you're not upstaged by that. Make sure your lighting is together, the clothes you're wearing. When you're putting an audition together, you can go you know, I think I'm going to change my clothes and then you can come back but I'm in the same clothes. You could go away. You can come back until you feel really really great about that. So before when we would put you on tape, it would be in the office, fluorescent lights, everybody looks pretty green. So this is a real opportunity. And you know what I realized during this time, we've always needed a home studio. Now it's formalized with technical stuff. But you always needed a place to work on a monologue or to work on a scene with someone right? For me, in New York, I made friends with the Super and I got a key to the storage room in my basement on West 67th Street and I would work out amongst furniture pieces and suitcases and dining chairs. But I could make a lot of noise and it didn't bother anybody because couldn't hear it. And the laundry room was next to it so there was washing machines and dryers working all the time. So, find your creative space, and you make sure you touch it every day, go there and do some work every day. So remember, it's always about the script and it always was. I prefer the term storyteller to actor because actors tend to think this way.
Screenwriters don't think that the writing is about themselves as a person. They know that their stock and trade is the script itself. When people are doing makeup or hair, they're not thinking it's them. It's how well they do makeup and how well they do hair. Actors tend to put the focus this way, which is the opposite of relaxation, concentration, imagination, because your relaxation comes out of keeping the focus off yourself. So, in the world of show business, you know, the hours are long, a lot of times they're on a remote location, so you don't get to go home. And so we are looking for creative partners, not projects. Projects are people who have to handle who aren't prepared, who don't know all their words, et cetera, et cetera. In every area of your personal and professional life, aspire to be a partner, never a project. And when we're holding auditions, we're not looking for new friends, we don't have time to see the friends we have. We are looking for creative partners that are going to get us home on schedule on budget. So we can see the friends we do love and the partners we do love. So back to casting versus auditioning. Right, casting directors do not tap you with the talent wand from Harry Potter or elsewhere. They're just assessing your ability to analyze a script, break it down, reveal things that
not everybody else is seeing. And remember, in the audition, your job is to tell the story as it's written, but also to reveal things that are not readily accessible, and also to introduce yourself. So there's a number of things that work there. But the most important part is script interpretation. It's not about just memorizing words and parroting them back. Otherwise, you would be auditioning for an aviary. Agents, managers, casting directors, they do not give you craft. But here's the good news. Now you have a good idea of what those pieces are. And remember, it's up to you. You know, people will say all the time, you know, I'm a serious actor. I'm a committed actor, but it's an easy thing to say. But it's really about how much time per day, seven days a week do you put into this? So now you know what the pieces are, come see us Saturday. Click the link below. See you then. Come on.