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No Loitering

Ever see those No Loitering signs at stores? The idea is to keep people from lingering aimlessly without actually making a purchase. As actors, we do a bit of lingering after auditions at times so we can catch up with people we haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes that lingering can lead to very good things.

Despite the power and reach of social media, there’s nothing like great face-to-face time for reconnecting and discovering new opportunities. I wouldn’t suggest hanging out for an hour after every audition. I mean, who has the time? But rushing off and giving the appearance of having somewhere better to be urgently is not necessarily wise either.

Here’s an example of how sticking around a bit can help. Over the weekend, I went to a callback for a short film. Lead role! The first time around I read with the casting director. This time I had the benefit of getting paired with someone I know, respect and like. We read as husband and wife and the material demands both chemistry and emotional depth, and I think we did a fine job in our three-scene read.

I could have left after the audition, but I saw familiar faces in the waiting area and wanted to properly greet them and catch up. So I settled in for a short visit with a friend who was there to read for the wife role. In doing so, I created an opportunity for the casting director to see us chatting and invite me back in to read with her.

After Callback read #2, I could have left again. This time, the assistant director asked me to stick around. He worked with me on a short film a couple of years ago. As Callback read #1 came to a close, he openly praised my dual-role work in the earlier film so agreeing to stay longer was a no-brainer.

As an actor who embraces new challenges, reading for a wide variety of roles is exciting. My series television auditions in the last couple of years have ranged from deputy to meth head. A lot of ground to cover! But the experience of reading for the same role three times opposite three different scene partners is a pleasure I wish every actor could enjoy frequently.

Like my first two scene partners, scene partner #3 was someone I have known a while. High comfort level right there! I pretended we hadn’t met when I walked into the room and formally introduced myself. But the connection and chemistry was apparent even before we began the first scene.

As a storyteller, I look for the story in every audition. What will I share about this audition experience once it’s over?, I ask myself. What stands out? In this case, it’s the opportunity to read with three people and then discover a day later I booked the role opposite scene partner #3.

Now in a busy commercial audition surrounded by dozens of other actors, I would not wait around and I certainly wouldn’t distract anyone from the reason they’re there. You have to pick your moments carefully. For example, sometimes an actor may not show up on time and if you fit what the casting director needs in that moment, you could find yourself back into the room to read with someone new. That’s a second opportunity to make a strong impression. Even better if the director and/or client is in the room, too.

Here’s a little assignment. Give this “lingering” strategy a shot at an audition in the near future. Even if you don’t get asked back into the audition room like I experienced, tell me one way it worked to your advantage.  I promise, there will be at least one benefit waiting for you.

 

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