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Casting Guidelines for Directors

[easyazon-image-link asin=”1580650139″ alt=”The Actor’s Encyclopedia of Casting Directors: Conversations with Over 100 Casting Directors on How to Get the Job” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51a7Z17atAL._SL75_.jpg” align=”none” width=”50″ height=”75″]The Casting session (actors call it “the audition”) can be a
terrifying place for any actor. It takes a lot of guts to walk
into a small, windowless room and have about 10 minutes to
“show your stuff” in front of complete strangers – some of
whom could make or break your career!

But it is just as tough for the Director as well! How can you
decide, in less than 10 minutes, who is right for a particular
part? Because you never have enough time to work with the
actors in a casting session, here are some casting guidelines
that will help you with the audition process.

(1) When casting, you want to look for: acting ability,
physical characteristics, subtleties in style and the
chemistry between actors.

(2) Here are the top three qualities you look for in any

1. Do they look the part? (The 50% Rule)

2. Do they have range? (Laugh to Cry. Is it believable?)

3. Can they take direction? (Listen to you, process, change)

NOTE: You find out 2 & 3 by making adjustments. Adjustments
are notes you give the actors that change their objective. You
do this by using verbs to change the subtext.

EXAMPLE: If the scene is about a man (or woman) asking their
boss for a raise, you want to increase the stakes for the
character. You do this by changing the character’s subtext to
something stronger like:

EX: Try begging the boss for the raise, or
EX: Try demanding the boss give you the raise, or
EX: Try seducing the boss to get the raise

(3) Here are some other qualities you want to look for as well:

1. Is the character type in the actor? (Does he look like a

2. What is the persona/image of the character? (In the script)

3. What is the persona/image of the actor? (What do they think
of themselves?)

4. Does the actor make active choices? (Action – Reaction)

5. Judge the actor by what he does – not what he says

6. What is the actor’s rhythm and movement pattern? (Body

7. Describe the character objective

8. Have the actor play the objective

9. Have the actor up the stakes in the objective (to beg; to
demand; to threaten)

10. Make note of all the negative qualities of the actor

11. Never cast an actor who cannot play the objectives (cannot
find the scene beats ‚Äì can’t take direction)

(4) What to look for in an actor for a Good Performance:

– do you believe them
– do they incorporate changes well
– concentrates
– listens
– gives & takes
Рclear sense of character (5W’s)
– acts on impulse (not cues)
– reacts well to catalysts & problems
– is a good ensemble actor
– is good at starting & ending scenes
– is good entrances & exits
– knows what is important
– has charisma
– good chemistry
– sense of truth
– knows his environment
– knows his props
– can play the moment
– fits into the skin of the character easily

(5) For Casting Character Descriptions: these descriptions
should explain a bit about the character, but also establish
some conflict so the actor can play with it.

EX: John is a 45 year old dishwasher still living at home with
his mother and step-father who abused him when he was a child.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • damilola rollins August 27, 2015, 9:50 am


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