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Trying to get hired as an actor? Listen …
Trying to get hired as an actor? Listen …
Trying to get hired as an actor? Listen …

Getting hired as an actor in this Ugandan Film Industry isn’t easy, especially for the new actors in the game. I will be listing down what you need as an actor to excel at auditions. 

Okay, let’s talk about auditions. 

Auditions! are an interview for a role or job as a singer, actor, dancer, or musician, consisting of a practical demonstration of the candidate's suitability and skill. 

Auditioning for a movie is not a cup of tea, especially when you are new to the process. It’s always the anxiety and insecurity.​​​​​​​

I will take you through some of the things you should know before you go for the auditions. What to do and what not to do during that moment to please the casting directors. I will use examples and explanations given by the three guest speakers at a recently concluded Film Club Uganda meeting on Tuesday 5th April 2022.  

The guest speakers of the sessions were Richard Mulindwa a director with Limit Production, Andrew Kagwa Mayiga a season art journalist, and Michael Wawuyo Jr an actor.        

I will break this into three to approach this problem;

  1. How to do what is expected of you?
  2. How not to do what is not expected of you?
  3. What is the one thing you need to do before the audition that will help you at the audition? 

When these three are understood well, one is expected to get a gig, but even when he doesn’t get it, if the casting directors love you, you may be called on their next project.

How to do what is expected of you dress appropriately. The dress code gives the casting director an impression of you even before acting. I will just say, don’t be shabby, but don’t be over-fashionable. “Don’t overthink this one. You’re going to a job audition. Be professional without overdressing. Don’t dress too “part specific.” If you are reading for a doctor and show up in scrubs, it’s harder for anyone to imagine you as the lawyer—especially if the producers are choosing from tape.” Jeremy Gordon, an L.A.-based casting director says.

 Use your waiting time wisely. There is a lot to talk about but I will summarize it as much as possible. Arrive as early as possible, if possible, earlier than the set time by the casting directors. Don’t use your waiting time gossiping, instead use it as a time to rehearse and master your lines to relieve all the stress and pressure. 

Introduce yourself. This is a tricky one, you have to be ready to read the room and know what to do when, and how. First, the casting director(s) will likely tell you what to do once you enter. If they don’t ask you anything, just say the name and the role you are auditioning for. Be confident, it’s usually a likable character. It sounds simple but it takes practice. Walk in the door with your head held high. Be wary of shuffling feet. 

1. How not to do what is not expected of you.

Don’t be overconfident. Being overconfident makes you do things that you think are right when in actual sense you are messing up. Be humble and do what you should be doing and don’t cross the line. 

Don’t be rude and a know-it-all. Michael Wawuyo called it a diva. No one wants to interact with someone who thinks he/she knows more than them. Directors want actors who are directable and can do what exactly is told to them. Be that actor in the room. Don’t
watch the directors. Act it out from your heart and make the body bring out what is inside the character. 
Don’t yell throughout your entire audition. No one wants to be screamed at for two minutes… or five minutes. Find levels, dynamics, natural builds, and rhythms within your audition material.

2. What is the one thing you need to do/know before the audition that will help you at the audition

You need to work at it every day. If you want to be good at something, work on it every day as you add a brick to the house you are building. This is the same for acting; auditions portray what you have been doing all along as an actor. If you can do a monologue every day, that means that every day that passes you become better at it. 

Expect rejections. You will not get a role every time you go for an audition; it doesn’t mean you are too bad to act. In fact, you will get many of those, but the more you go to auditions the more you learn what is required of you and make yourself better for the next one.

Know your “type”. Knowing yourself is the first step towards improvement. Knowing your strength and weakness will help go for those roles you will most likely win, or those roles you will execute best.

Work on yourself. By this, I mean your body's physical appearance and smell. Director Mulindwa emphasized that an actor must look good. If you can go to the gym, please go there; if you can do anything to look good please do. Although there is always a role for anyone, the good-looking actor will always get the first cut unless they are looking for a specific person of your type. 

If you can get an acting coach, please do. This goes to especially those that aren’t signed under any production company. Those in a production house practice almost every day because they have projects to work on.

Written by Martin Kabagambe