Don’t Be Afraid to Politely Ask for an Audition Do-Over
The goal is not to be nice, the goal is to leave the audition room feeling good about the performance you put on tape.
(by James Webb)
It’s so easy for actors to give up their power in the audition room. It could be nervousness associated with the size of the opportunity. It could be the fear of rejection. It could be a lack of understanding about the actor’s power and importance in the casting process. Whatever the reason, many actors give away their power when they enter the audition room.
As a result, it is very easy for an actor to be afraid to ask for a do-over. It’s easy to assume that asking for a do-over is impolite or pushy or even rude.
Of course, if you don’t ask politely, it is possible to leave behind a negative impression. But, setting aside the politeness issue, an actor should never be afraid to kindly ask for a do-over, if the first run-through didn’t go so well. If you don’t like your audition performance, ask if you can do it again.
The purpose of the audition is not to come across as friendly and agreeable, although that certainly would be a favorable outcome. But the true goal of the audition is to leave the room feeling good about what you put on tape, whether you book the role or not.
They might say “no”. So what?
What’s the worst that could happen? All they can do is kindly, or unkindly, say “no”. And there might be many reasons for them to refuse a do-over request. Perhaps:
• You nailed it the first time! They like you so much that they don’t need to see any more.
• They knew, from the moment you entered the room, that you were not right for the role, so there’s no need to waste any more time.
• They already have a firm idea of who they’d like to cast.
• They are already running behind schedule and don’t have time for do-overs.
Of course, once the session director or casting director tells you “no”, it’s time to, shall we say…exit stage left. After all, you must be respectful of everyone’s time and the audition process, as a whole. But you should never give up your right to simply, politely, say, “That wasn’t my best effort. Would you mind if I do that again?”
The goal is to never leave a single audition room feeling like you didn’t put forward your best work.