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What Not to Do at a Casting Call

March 28, 2018

What Not to Do at a Casting Call

"The work is the audition.  Our job as parents is to make the commitment to prepare the kids for the work and once it is done, it's done." - CIF Power Parent Carl Sprayberry (father of Teen Wolf star Dylan Sprayberry)

Doing well at an audition is the only way to book the job and therefore should be considered part of the job itself.  Similar to interviewing, there are a number of no-no's when it comes to the casting room, and we're not just referring to what the child actor does, but also how you as the parent perform.

The fact is often times you, as the parent, are auditioning too.  Casting Directors want to know that they are casting a family that will be easy to work with.

While no parent can completely control their child's performance once behind closed casting doors (nor should they), there are a few things that you can encourage your child to steer clear of, and a few things you can refrain from as well.

Let's start with some Child Actor No-No's:

Don't Chew Gum - This may seem like an obvious one, but let it be known to your child that gum simply isn't brought into the casting room.  When you chew gum, it becomes an actual character choice thus giving you characteristics (ex. a valley girl) that you probably don't want.  Plus, it looks very distracting on camera.

Don't Forget About Eye Contact - When teaching your child about casting room etiquette, make sure s/he understands the importance of being polite and making eye contact with the casting director. However, this is not to say that the entire scene needs to be played out looking directly at the casting director.  Sometimes the scene calls to look around or at another character.

Don't Make Excuses - Remind your child that everyone makes mistakes in auditions.  It is okay to ask to start over, but don't make excuses. Casting directors have heard it all and prefer that you just keep going.  Parents, this no-no goes for you too.  You were stuck in traffic... your other child had a ball game... your printer ran out of ink and you couldn't print the sides.  Unfortunately, casting directors don't have time to listen to excuses, so be polite if an apology is appropriate, but stop at that.

And now for some parent no-no's:

Don't bring other siblings -  this is often easier said than done, but this is the most common "don't" we get from industry professionals.  It seems to be an unspoken industry rule and we want to get the word out.

Don't bring an overly tired, overly wired child - if your child is too tired, too wired or not feeling well, it's not going to help your chances.  Make sure s/he is getting adequate sleep and hasn't had too much caffeine or sugar before the audition.

Don't coach or scold in front of the casting directors -
Instructing or scolding your child on his or her performance is never a good thing.  It's a behavior that brings about the "stage parent" reputation.  Casting directors are looking for children who are interested in the acting experience and steer clear of parents who seem demanding, stressed or overbearing.  While it usually the case that parents are encouraged to take an active part in their child's life (education, social activities, etc), we often hear that industry pros look for parents who will play the role of the "silent supporter" and let their child take the lead.

Don't Audition in CA Without an Up-to-Date Permit - Some casting directors won't even allow you to audition without an up-to-date work permit.  Don't let an out-of-date permit prevent you from getting a job.