Sequoia Houston

I recently participated in an interesting discussion with a fellow actress in which she asked a popular casting director we both admire, “What makes you cast someone?” Her question was based on the fact that many times she goes into an audition and notices that the rest of the girls in the waiting room all look alike. She mentioned that sometimes she “feels as though everyone looks the same” and she is “simply a face in the waiting room.” Although I have a couple of casting credits on iMDB, I wouldn’t fancy myself a casting director…but I do have an opinion on the topic that I’d like to share.

As actors, I’m sure we would all live on set if we could; however there is that small formality of how to get there….the audition. A huge part of being a working actor is auditioning. And, unfortunately, you might see a doppelganger or two with you in the waiting room. Fear not! I have some good news:

There’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Nada. Zilch. No thing.

Outside of what clothes/makeup you chose to wear and how you styled your hair, how you look is something that’s completely beyond your control. God made you into the fearfully and wonderfully made creature that you are, so embrace it…and forget about it. There are so many factors that go into casting that we simply can’t control. Forget about them. Focus, instead, on the one thing you have TOTAL control over; your performance. Since no two performances will ever be the same, let your performance be the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Be prepared! Know the story. Ask questions of yourself to delve deeper into your perception of the story based on all of the information that you know….and if you don’t know something, make it up! The only caveat to this is don’t ever go against the given circumstances of the story. For example, if the scene mentions (or alludes to the fact) that you’re talking to your brother…make sure you’re talking to your brother. Make decisions (choices) for how your character would act and respond based on the truth of the circumstances in the story that you’re given and that you’ve created. Taking the time to see something beyond what’s written on the page will definitely set you apart. This is what defines your performance. And don’t be afraid to keep is simple. A lot of depth can be created from a simple memory of you and your brother creating mud pies together as children and reminiscing on how close you used to be vs. my brother molests me and now he’s married but I don’t get along with his wife and I have a secret I need to tell him, but I’m afraid…..so on and so forth. I saw something similar to the latter happen in a workshop and it made for an….interesting….performance.

I’ll leave you with this…When you pour any brand of orange juice in a cup, its orange with bubbles at the top. The bottles are merely clothes. What makes you choose Simply Orange over Tropicana is the taste (performance).

Happy auditioning!


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