Single biggest pet peeve? When people don’t follow directions and don’t listen. Habitual failure at these two things are remembered.
I sent you an email about an audition. I asked you to respond no matter what. I email you again because i didn’t hear from you and you tell me you’re not available so you didn’t respond to the first email. Seriously? Or you ask me when the job shoots, or what the rate is. And i scroll down 2 inches to see in bold where in my original email it tells you the audition date/times, shoot info, rate info, use info, dress info etc. Did you read my email? If you can’t even read an email for basic comprehension, can i trust you to read a script?
When you first walk into my office there’s a large board where we post all the important info about the audition. It will tell you what the audition is. It will tell you when the audition shoots. It will tell you to sign on the paper sheet AS WELL as on the computer. It will tell you to completely fill out your sizes. It will tell you what role you are reading. It will tell you what we’re looking for today. The scripts will be up there, the boards will be posted visibly.
When you walk in and immediately bypass the sign in table that is clearly a sign in table with information on it and come to ask the assistant sitting behind the desk all the way at the back of the room what you should do, we all innerwardly sigh and point you to the massive structure you just walked right past. And it makes me wonder if you’ll be able to follow the direction i give you once we’re in the room, you’ve already proven you’re not the sort of person paying attention.
The computer sign in will give you specific instructions, are you reading what’s on the screen before clicking OK? Are you asking questions that have answers clearly posted literally inches from your face? If yes, you’re sending signals that you either can’t or won’t be bothered to actually read information given to you, which means you may not listen to it either.
If you don’t sign in, i don’t know you’re in the queue to audition. I’ve had talent literally sit in my waiting room for 30 minutes, just looking around while i bring in other people who came in after them to audition before them. And they finally ask something about it - often with a little attitude of having been made to wait - why they are waiting so long. My standard response is, “did you sign in?” And the answer is always no. You have literally been sitting in FRONT of a 60 point font sign that tells you to sign in. EVERYONE else has walked to that table and signed in. And yet you missed it. Will you act that clueless on set? You then tell me you need to leave like now. I will point you in the direction of the exit. You don’t get to sit there, not follow directions, and then be rewarded for your poor behavior by going immediately. You get to sit there and wait, and watch ALL the people who DID follow directions go before i can get to you. Don’t like it? Too bad, act like an adult.
You have a very small window in which you’re available to audition, and then you’re late. Like really late. And you want to jump the line. I’m not running behind, YOU are. YOU should have planned better. These people in front of you were here at their scheduled times. I always try very very hard to get people in and out quickly, especially if i know someone is on some kind of time crunch, but if you blow into my office at 12:30 when you were supposed to be here for 11:30, and you need to go before the other 10 people who are here, i have very little sympathy for you. I will still try to get you out of there quickly, but i’m inwardly judging you as self centered and narcissistic. And if you’re a jerk about it, i’m DEFINITELY telling your agent about your behavior, and have in the past asked that certain talent not be sent to me again because i just don’t have time for that, and that audition slot could have been given to a talent that wouldn’t act like that.
When you read a script or board, are you only looking for YOUR part? Did you read the whole thing to understand the basic concept behind it? Did you read the parts that are DESCRIBING the action? In order to be able to effectively perform, you need to understand the entire thing. Acting 101, right? The physical action of a scene almost always will supersede any scripted copy. I can tell when you didn’t fully read it because you always miss something that makes the whole thing make sense. If you don’t understand the spot, that’s fine, and tell me that, but don’t let it be because you just didn’t read it fully. Sometimes i have to read a script 3 or 4 times for it to finally click and make sense. And usually its because i wasn’t reading it closely. If you ask me “what’s my motivation”, i think you didn’t read it or didn’t understand it, because it’s usually a commercial and pretty clearly spelled out. there’s not a lot of nuance or depths to probe. This isn’t Chekhov kids, it’s a lottery commercial.
You come in the room not prepared. You’ve been in my waiting room for 15 minutes and only briefly did you glance at the script. You’ve been chatting with the other talent out there and having a great time. You come in the room and don’t know the lines, don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re wasting my time, and the time of any person auditioning with you. Especially if i’ve sent the script to you in advance. When i see you socializing, i assume you’ve had plenty of time to look over information/script etc. I know the waiting room is fun and you all like each other, but this IS a job interview. If i call your name and you’re NOT ready, tell me, i’ll bring someone else in and check in with you in a few minutes. If i ask if you want another minute, and you do, say yes. It’s OK to say yes to being offered more time with something.
I ask you to slate your name. You start asking me questions. I now have to pause recording, delete that piece and start again. There is literally nothing you can ask me in that moment that can not wait. JUST SAY YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME. If i need other info from you in the slate portion, i will prompt you. I know this is different than what other offices in town do. I know your union status. I know who your agent is. The people who are WATCHING the audition don’t need to know nor do they care. At all. AND after we slate, i will always pause recording so we can set up the scene and talk about what we’re doing. THIS is when it’s appropriate to ask questions, or out in the waiting room. Not when i’m just trying to slate you.
I’m letting you self submit on something. I gave very detailed instructions on how to shoot it, how to set it up, how to slate, how to do the scene. Detailed directions on how to play it, how many takes to do, what i’m looking for in those takes. You send me 1 take with no slate and it’s not at all what i asked for. I don’t often let people self submit for things because 99% of the time people don’t do what i asked for. I can’t trust you to follow my written instructions, i can’t trust you to listen to the director on set.
So i leave you with this piece of advice, for life and not just acting and auditioning, pay attention to things around you. READ SIGNS. LOOK AROUND. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.