By Nathan McLeod, star of Life with Boys and founder of Innovative Arts.
Imagine your young actor or actress being in the waiting room of a casting office and thinking, "This could be it. This could be the audition that changes my life! If I get this part, I won't have to worry about money anymore, I'll have opportunities for bigger projects and people all over the world will love me for doing my favourite thing, acting!" Then all of the sudden, they realize that their dreams coming true depend on one thing--the audition.
Being an actor for over 10 years, I have learned a lot about landing the big role. Whether you are performing for your school play, an extra-curricular theatre production, or the next big TV show, here are three tips to help your young actor or actress succeed.
Go into training
When Actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Zac Efron decided they wanted to see if acting was right for them, their first step wasn't getting an agent. Their first step was getting proper training! The right acting studio should prepare you to be ready for the professional atmosphere of the industry because even though it may be fun, it is still a job with responsibilities. Find an acting studio that specializes in film and television training because the last thing you want is to embarrass yourself in front of directors and producers.
Connect with an agent
Once you have some training, you can start the search for an agent. There are hundreds of agents in Toronto, but finding the right one can be tough. Your acting studio should be able to guide you in this journey, but if you are on your own, be sure to do your research. An easy tell of an agent’s success is his/her roster: Who do they represent? If they are consistently booking clients on feature films and leads in series, then you are probably in the right place. Beware of agents who brag about their clients who do lots of commercials, but no films or series as it’s really nothing to brag about. Remember, that even though you need them to get the big audition, they work for you! Their job is to get you auditions and negotiate contracts.
Audition like a pro: Be yourself
Becoming an actor today is less about acting and more about learning to be an honest, passionate, self-aware human being who is comfortable in their own skin. In one of my conversations with Michael Poryes and Steven Peterman, the creators of Life with Boys, Hannah Montana and That's So Raven, Michael explained, "It is not about hiring the best actor, it is about hiring the right actor." Casting directors, directors and producers are looking for people who have unique qualities that compliment the role they are casting. The modern day actor can no longer be focused on pretending to be someone else, but being themselves under many different circumstances; the rest is make-up, costume, and context.
This is especially true when it comes to auditions. I've had a lot of experience with the audition room, and I know how nerve-wracking it can be. If you enter the room only wanting to get the part, most likely you are not going to get it because casting directors, producers and directors don't want to see someone who wants to get the part; they want to see an honest person who is confident in their own skin experiencing the text that they must perform. This actually makes everything much less stressful because all you have to do is be your unique self!
With the right training and work ethic, a good agent and the confidence to be yourself as you go into the audition, your young actor or actress will be ready for his and her big moment.
Nathan McLeod is the star of Life with Boys and the owner of Innovative Arts acting studio and theatre company. For more information, visit www.innovativearts.ca or email Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org.