What actors think casting directors and producers want is often different from the reality of what they want. This knowledge can’t be found in film school and will drastically increase your chances of getting a role.

Bonnie Gillespie and Judy Greer came to my house recently. Bonnie is a casting director and Judy is an actress. I got to ask them what directors and producers look for in the audition room. Their answer boils down to this: they don’t want an actor. They want you— “1000 watts” of you, as they said. They want to see someone interesting and passionate, enjoying their life. They want a personality.

You want to maximize your chances at every audition. Many roles are looking for a certain look, and that’s not something you can control meaningfully; just pick ones where you fit the look. What you can control, or at least recognize, is the kind of energy you have. What we’re talking about here is “type.”

Find out what roles you’d love to play. Watch TV shows and movies and see yourself playing those roles. A doctor, a mother or father, a lawyer, a superhero, a mastermind. When you love and are invested in a role you’ll bring that character to life, so being authentic is key!

Casting directors and producers are you going to see you how you see yourself. If you’re not sure what kind of energy you give off, get creative! We’ve had people in our program go to the mall with pictures of each other and just go around asking people to describe what they’re like and what sort of character they could be.

It’s a great way to get honest information about how people see you, but remember: YOU ultimately have control over how people see you.

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