Casting directors are your advocates and your champions. Your work reflects on them. Your disconnected, tentative, muddled work does nothing for anyone. They want you to be great. They are there to shepherd you in, not hold you back. They want to share in your excellent work.

Casting directors await you on the other side of that door – the door that you can see as a gateway or a barricade.

Whether it’s a pre-read for an associate or a full-blown director/producer callback session, this is your time to shine. This is your opportunity to do exceptional work. Enter the space and do the work for yourself, for the gratification of the work itself, and to collaborate with the other creative people waiting to figure it out with you. They can’t do it without you.

Here are 21 Things that make Casting Directors happy in the audition room:

  1. Accept the invitation with grace and enthusiasm. You were requested to be there as a guest.
  2. Come to work and not to please or get approval.
  3. Enter with certainty. Don’t give up your power as soon as the door opens.
  4. Play on a level playing field. Everyone is figuring it out together.
  5. Make no excuses whatsoever. Leave your baggage outside.
  6. Make the room your own. It will make everyone so much more comfortable.
  7. Ask questions only when you truly need answers. “Do you have any questions?” is usually another way of saying: “Are you ready?” You aren’t required to have one.
  8. Know your words and understand what you’re talking about. You don’t have to be totally off-book, but if you’ve spent quality time with the material, you’re going to know it.
  9. Do your homework on the project. This includes knowing all the players and the show or film’s tone and style. Read all the material you can get your hands on.
  10. Make choices and take responsibility for the choices you make.
  11. Don’t apologize for anything.
  12. Know what you want to do and do it. Then leave yourself available to make discoveries. Know that your homework is done. Now let your preparation meet the moments.
  13. Don’t mime or busy yourself with props, activity, or blocking. Keep it simple.
  14. Don’t expect to be directed, but if you are, take the direction, no matter what it is. Understand how to translate results-oriented direction into action.
  15. Don’t blame the reader. Make the reader the star of your audition. You should engage fully no matter who’s reading those lines.
  16. Make specific, personal, bold choices. Bring your unique voice to bring the script to life.
  17. Stillness is powerful. Understand how to move and work in front of the camera – eliminate running in and out and getting up and down.
  18. Require no stroking or coddling. You are there to work. Don’t take it personally if the people in the room are not touchy-feely.
  19. Understand that you’re there to collaborate. You’re being evaluated in terms of how you serve the role and the material.
  20. What you bring in reflects how you’re received, so bring in joy, conviction, and ease.
  21. Share your artistry.

Remember that everyone is human in the room, and you can affect them on an emotional level. That’s your job. You being fully present, truthful, personal, and vulnerable is going to give them the ammunition they need to champion you. You have the power to make that happen.

They really are in your corner and want you to do great work!



~ Backstage Advice