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Audition advice…..

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A young teen I recently filmed with wrote me an email and asked me: “Hey Mr. Carver I have a few questions about the film business. Well, I noticed that the kids at the shoot had done a lot of work and were really experienced. I thought getting an agency would get me a lot of roles, but I find that is not the case at all. Could you please tell me some ways to get auditions and tips about auditions. I would also really appreciate it if you could tell me someone you know that could help me with my problem.”

Below was my response so I thought I would just share:


First off don’t worry about the other kids and who have more experience than you. There will always be someone bigger than you until you get to a Will Smith type of level. Then it’s all based on how much money you make for the studios per movie.


An agent is pretty much there to “sell you” so that person may or may not be good at that, but YOU have to make their job easy by just being as GOOD as you possibly can. Then your talents will sell itself. The bigger your agent, the better auditioning opportunities you will have because sometimes they have relationships with casting directors, producers, directors, etc. Agents are there to help you get the gigs, but it’s up to you to master your craft…what you can do is practice auditioning by training with a coach who specializes in that. There are local acting coaches who specialize in that area. 


Some other things that can help you are having some creative and professional headshots that show character. This is just my personal opinion, but plain headshots of actors bore me. Yes that person may look nice but it gives me no sense of what type of character they can play. Example: A young man submitted three headshots to me. One was him smiling, another was him frowning wearing a leather jacket and leaning on a nice car, the third was him doing another expression or emotion. It just so happens he had the “look” I was searching for one of my characters so I called him up and met with him about the role. The photo of him leaning against the car looking like a tough guy really sold his look for the movie I was doing at the time. Had he just sent over all pics of him smiling I may have glazed over him and sifted through the other 600 submissions I got. 


Some other things that will help you is getting some footage online of your acting. This is HUGE to me. I have selected actors in my projects several times just based on their previous work and skipped the casting step altogether sometimes. Also when you do your auditions remember you’re just doing the best you can do, don’t audition for the job, create an interesting and compelling character and just present what you do and your best portrayal of the character. You’re going on auditions to present what you do — to act. Do your thing the best to your abilities and walk away. Because after that it’s out of your hands. There are so many things that go on behind the scenes as to why you may or may not get the job that it’s out of your control and not worth losing sleep over. As long as you’ve given your all that’s all you can do 🙂


Jay Carver

Jay Carver is a screenwriter, director and producer. Through his production company J-Style Films, he has done work for companies such as Turner Broadcasting. In the past, he has worked with Hollywood actor Omari Hardwick and won several film festivals including "Best Director".

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