NEILSON’S COLUMN: If you want acting work you really have to keep auditioning

Michael Neilson
Michael Neilson

One of the most difficult aspects of being an actor is the constant auditioning.

Even the most famous actors have to do it.

When I was younger, I assumed that famous people didn’t have to audition and were simply offered jobs.

This is not the case.

Hugh Laurie, most famous for the TV series House, had to do a self-tape for his audition. This is when actors have to film themselves on camera and send it to the casting director. It’s a new and cheaper way for creative teams to see actors for roles.

Often, the request comes the night before the tape is needed and there is little time to set your camera up, find the right clothing, find the right place to shoot the ‘scene’ and try to learn the script that has just arrived. I’ve filmed myself at 2am in an effort to get the tape to the casting director before 10am that day.

It’s a chore, but one that has to be done if you want the job.

And that’s the key to it all. If you are going to work in the business, you have to keep auditioning. The rejection, the travelling, the cost, the time, it can all grind you down, but you have to keep going.

You have to look on castings as a sort of day trip. A chance to meet up with a friend or do some shopping; try not to make the casting the entire focus of the day.

It’s a numbers game really. The more auditions you go to, the more chance you have of getting a job. There will be more rejection but that’s part of it. If you’re being seen for a role, the casting director thinks you may be right for it.

The worst thing an actor can do is say to themselves: “I don’t think I’m right for this.”

That’s not the actor’s decision, it’s the creative team’s. The actor should do his job and let them do theirs. It’s easy to talk yourself out of a job. So don’t do it.

Follow Michael Neilson on Twitter or call 01444 250407.

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