Casting is a vital element in film production. Without the right cast, a film with a good storyline produced with a million-dollar budget becomes of no theatrical value. Actors give life to the lines on paper; they convey feelings, emotions and messages that the writer or director intends to pass across. Hence, casting the right actor for the right role is crucial to the success of any production. The casting process is of such great importance that it often requires the expertise of professional casting agencies or individual casting directors instead of the production team.
Aside from stereotype casting, also known as type-casting, where actors may not need an audition but are cast based on specific attributes associated with them, most actors are subjected to one form of audition or the other. Auditions come in different types as determined by the casting director or production team. Public auditions can become rowdy and time-consuming if not properly organized, as you would find a mix of both experienced actors and wannabe novices. On the other hand, private or closed auditions are more regulated and only open to selected actors. This makes for a more organized, professional audition.
Actors are usually allowed to do a blend of improvisation and script acting as assigned to them by the director during the audition. Whether the audition is conducted by a professional casting company or a movie production director, here are some of the things they look for and expect to see during casting auditions:
Professionalism: One of the most important things casting directors observe during auditions is the level of the actor’s professionalism. Talent, skill and, a courteous relationship with other production members make up the bulk of professionalism. Casting directors want to see that the actor knows his art.
Body movements, facial expressions, tone of voice, smooth transitions, vocal strength, stage presence, character confidence and the ability to portray the role given are all embedded in the sense of professionalism that casting directors want to see.
Versatility: Every director likes to work with a versatile actor who can play different types of roles. It is not enough to know how to play just one kind of role, an actor must be able to perform any part at the spur of the moment, and the ability to do this gives him an edge over others. Flexibility with mannerisms, vocal transitions, clear distinctions in playing multiple roles and many more determine the actor’s versatility.
Creativity: If a role is assigned to ten different actors, there is every likelihood that they would interpret it differently and perform it in different ways. The ability to interpret and perform roles creatively is something casting directors look out for.
This involves the personal signature an actor can give to a role – the gestures, the sounds, anything that gives personality to the character and make for a memorable and interesting performance. Working with creative actors is always a plus for the director as oftentimes, an actor’s creativity can be a source of inspiration for directors.
Good attitude: An actor who turns down the opinions of production members and seeks always to have his way can be a pain in the neck of directors and can cause many problems for the film production process. Hence, directors lookout for actors who are teachable and open to opinions and constructive criticisms.
Physical attributes: Physical attributes can determine the type of roles an actor plays to a large extent, hence, this list is incomplete if we don’t mention it. In cases where an actor who fits the physical attributes can’t be found, an agreement may be reached between the producer and a prospect who already possesses mannerisms and other required qualities to achieve a physical attribute.
Some actors have shown outstanding commitment and chosen the hard way to train their bodies and get into whatever figure is needed to nail a role. This is because a story is brought to life when an actor embodies the character. Often, this factor is crucial for biopics or stories that need to reflect strong technical accuracy.
These are some of the most important things casting directors look out for during an audition. Although several other factors may come into play, having all these in place can set an actor up for an excellent career in the movie industry.