With casting directors, it's so difficult to know what they like. I wish that someone would create an online database with profiles of the various casting directors. Then actors could adjust and make notes on each profile - much like Wikipedia. Because so many of the CD's out here have contrasting opinions over the ideal approach to an audition, it would be helpful to be have a resource where you could find out things such as,
"Likes it when you dress to suggest the character,"
"Prefers you to dress as generic as possible,"
"Wants to see you as the character,"
"Prefers strong character choices,"
"Just wants to make sure you can walk and talk at the same time."
Luckily, I got to bypass all of this with this upcoming project. I receive invitations to submit tapings through Actors Access (via their video submission system called EcoCast) often. What I do not often see, though, is a message from the casting director or producer that mentioned specific things about my reel and my work that they thought would bring something to the table in terms of their project.
Imagine my surprise when I get an invitation plus a nice little message saying what they saw about my reel that they enjoyed and how they would like to see those qualities implemented into an audition. Amazing.
One of the first things that I do when I accept an audition is research the casting director, director, and whatever listed team members they have on the breakdown. In this case the producer and CD were the same person, so I googled "Mitch Costanza" and the first thing that came up was a trailer for a 35 minute short called "The Process."
Upon further research, I found more and more stuff that only made me want to not just audition for this project, but push for it.
I went back to the notice to check the shooting dates.
Then I swore out loud.
The project was slated to shoot over a four day period in July - the same four day period as the San Diego Comic Con. I had already booked a gig inside the CNet lounge during the convention and couldn't give it up; that one event would pay a whole month's worth of rent.
That's when I made a phone call.
I got the voicemail.
"Hi, Mitch? My name is Jas and you reached out to me through Actors Access. I normally never make phone calls, but I really wanted to reach out to you because I'm very, very interested in your project. I checked out the trailer for the process and.. pretty much everything else that you have online and I wanted to see if you were completely set in stone on your shooting dates. I really want to audition for this project, but I already have a gig at Comic Con that I can't cancel on. Even if your dates are set, I wanted to strike up a dialog because I was incredibly impressed with everything that I saw and would really like to work with you in the future."
I listened to it a couple of times to make sure that it sounded at least somewhat professional before I sent it.
It couldn't have sounded too terrible because we spoke on the phone the next day and agreed that I should submit a taping regardless, as he had in turn checked out all of my online stuff and wanted to work with me in some capacity as well.
"Submit for these two characters and we'll see. If not this one, then the next one."
So I learned the sides, got the dudes together to help me, and together we recorded most of this:
(I rarely show audition tapings, but this is technically non-union and the dialog doesn't give away the plot.)
I took over my neighbor's driveway to record the rest. As you can tell, we had fun. I took a gamble by submitting such a fun audition (normally self-tapings are very by-the-book and not silly at all), but it paid off.
I'll be heading to San Francisco in August to film a badass project with a manic pixie dream girl lead and one of the best penultimate scenes I've read in a while.
I'm. So. Stoked.