I don’t know how other directors approach this. Especially, I don’t know how big budget productions approach this. So all this post is SWIMMING in my personal opinion. Which is worth what you make it.
- Read the production details. If I’m auditioning for a theatre project, you saying how you want to expand your film experience is not going to fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling.
- If you book, then call or email if you’re not going to be able to make it. Emergencies might make this impossible, in which case you should do it after. If you never call, maybe because you think that non-paying productions don’t matter, just remember that the arts are a mobile world, and the production staff working on that non-paying small theatre project might someday be seeing your name coming across the table on a well-paying TV or film project.
- Some directors might like pushy actors. I don’t. If I don’t contact you to offer an audition, then don’t pester me to get one. It doesn’t impress me very much. Unless you’re Christopher Plummer or Eric Peterson, in which case I would write back, “Dear sir, thank you for asking for an audition, but this is a non-paying, non-union production. Might I have your autograph anyway?”
(This probably breaks down in the film world, at least at the Hollywood level, where A-list actors can and do approach directors. Again, I’m talking about my opinions.)
(This also breaks down if I know you, but in that case, you will be getting an e-mail before I start the audition process where I mention I’d like you to come out and read. There is also a personal relationship built up beforehand. Very important.)
- Introducing yourself, because sometimes the production team zones out after being on their butts behind a table for hours at a time.
- Realize that, like Mamet says, auditions and callbacks are a deeply flawed process. but until you are part of the acting arm of a production company or running your own production company, they are what we are stuck with. So roll with the patent absurdities embedded in the process and remember your job at the audition is to make yourself shine.
All my own opinion.