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What's the best way to go about auditioning actors?

Internet Filmmakers' FAQ

Well, I'll answer this from past experience.

Once you have a group of prosepective actors, invite them all to meet a certain place. Have a little waiting room, and have a table that has little excerpts from the script with the character's name on them, so that they can read over the lines that they will be auditioning.

Then, invite each one of them into the next room. Ask them to tell you a bit about themselves; get to know them and get a feel for their personality. Then, ask them to please read the lines that you provided. If you have a camcorder or one of those mini-tape recorders, I suggest you record them speaking their lines. After the first time they read, perhaps make some suggestions and have them read it again.

Then, thank them for coming and usher in the next actor.

Answer by Clarence H. Chaisson, Boathouse Productions  |  Last updated 25-Mar-2005


Older Comments

Ben C  |  21-Jul-2008
One good thing to do is to have them prepare a 1-2 minute monologue and have them perform that first before moving to your material. This gives you a chance to see how the actors works with material that they are familiar with (they have more of an opportunity to demonstrate their range if they're not having to worry about reading from you script). And in my experience be very wary of the actors who choose Shakespeare monologues... I think it's generally a bit of a cop-out -- Shakespeare is theatre not film! (unless you are making a Shakespeare film of course).
Mark Pfeltz  |  12-Jun-2007
I would suggest taking the audition process a little further, because the information already presented does not go far enough. Give everyone auditioning a chance to see if they can give a dramatic and believe able performance.
Steven Polanski  |  30-Nov-2006
If you are serious about making a good quality film and require actors then advertise for free on sites such as or Artshub etc and when you have responses from actors that are interested in auditioning then send them a script at the least a week before they come in to audition. The more time you give them the better. If the film shoot goes ahead a month after auditions that is fine also. You will get actors sending you head shots and Resumes also. From these you can find THE LOOK that you want and check their Resume also for certain experience they have which will fit your film. Print off their photos and Resumes so you have hard copies. Auditions need only last ten minutes. Hold your auditions in a public place such as a hall or function room at a hotel as every Actor is told from day one not to audition at a private residence and also not to do nude auditions unless if the script calls for it. Every Actor KNOWS when an auditon is genuine or not. If it is not genuine then consider some past charges such as kidnap, deception and pornography. There have been some major prosecutions in the past with serious jail time. The Actors union can expand on this issue. You can have all the Actors attending the waiting room at once (cattle call) or you can have them turn up fifteen minutes apart individually. Make them feel at ease during the audition as they might be nervous. Ask them to tell you a good joke or tell a funny story about themselves. Do film the audition if you like so you don't have to guess which Actor did what and which one was the best. Have a good idea of the Charactors in detail because you might get alot of questions relating to same. Any good Actor only needs to know about the background of the charactor such as where did they come from and what brought them to where they are now. Because acting is in the present and not in the future the only thing that tells an Actor about the future is the script BUT we never anticipate anything from the script. We continue from where you left off. That is the key role of the Actor. You can mention where you would like the charactor to end up but do not make this the Objective as the Actor will find the Objective with proper Charactor preparation. It is courtious to email everyone to thank them for their interest in the role and let them know if the position has been filled as we send out up to five or six emails a week for roles and when we never hear back then we write it off as not interested, but suddenly when we have a film date on another shoot we find out that you want us for yours too. I hope this all helps. Steve: Actor and Film Maker
Bridget  |  16-Oct-2005
Another thing you can do which will greatly help a perspective actor/actress who is reading for you is to give them a little synopsis of the plot, any background information on the character that the are reading for which may be helpful when approaching the scene, and you can also let them know what has recently happened in the scene up to this point. Dry reads are tough enough on both the auditioner and the auditionee, and this little bit of information can help to make an audition go from "so-so" to amazing, and it does not take as much time as you might think.