I have quite a bit of acting experience, but I’m still not clear on whether or not I should use props during an audition. Can you clarify?
– Jay Billings
Great question, Jay. In short, the answer is a resounding “no”! With that said, like with most things in life, there are exceptions.
Don’t bring in an item that would definitely be seen as a prop, especially any kind of a weapon. Bringing any kind of weapon into one of my casting sessions will get you kicked out immediately, even if the weapon is fake. Don’t bring in jars of jam, Champagne bottles or cases of bacon – all things that have actually been brought into my office by actors.
On the other hand, many actors make great use of items that they bring into auditions naturally: coats, backpacks, purses, to-go cups, and so forth. Anything that helps the audition look like a real conversation and not written words will help the casting director believe the choices you have made. Therefore, taking a sip of coffee, tea or water during the audition can be very real, putting on or taking off a jacket during your audition can work well, looking for something in a backpack or purse can help support your audition as well. The key is to make the “props” you have with you not look like props.
I heard a casting director talk about an actor’s “read” at an audition, which super confused me because I was told by someone else I trust that an audition scene should be memorized.
-Jan Peterson, Kuna
This confusion is not uncommon and the term “read” is very misleading. It actually does not refer to “reading” at all, but to the audition itself.
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