Movie stars and celebrities do not go to castings. They do not even typically talk to the producers and movie directors. Agents take care of the business, arrange the contract (often for millions of dollars) and everyone treats them like stars.
What aspiring actors often forget on, however, is that even DiCaprio or Kidman once went to their first casting. Full of worries and expectations, they dared to dream of the future ahead of them. They also went to their first actor job interview, and had to demonstrate that their were ready for a serious job, playing a role in a movie, theater play, or in some commercial.
Things hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. People still go to castings and interviews, dreaming big, and trying to show their best to the examining eyes of the film producers. And while you cannot impact everything in this case–if they prefer someone tall and you are short they won’t give you the role (big or small one), you can certainly at least prepare for some of the questions they will ask you. Let’s have a look at them right now.
Why did you decide to apply for this role? (Why did you come to this casting?)
Mark my words: the more specific your answer, the better. In reality you’ve probably been to many castings and interviews before. And since nobody has yet managed to see your charisma and the huge potential you carry within, you simply continue trying.
And you do not care whether you play a small role in a commercial or some secondary actress in an alternative movie, one less than 1,000 people will ever see. You simply want any role, to kick-start your career, to gain contacts in the field, and so on. But this is not something you should say in your interview.
Try to relate to the role, or to the company which interviews you. Maybe you can imagine yourself in the role perfectly, the personality mirrors your personality, so you almost won’t have to play anything. Or you really like the product from the commercial, it’s your favorite brand, you love the values it represents, and hence you decided to try your luck… Anything you say it’s better than simply saying nothing.
Do you have any experience with acting?
What I suggest you to do is to prepare a short portfolio–especially if you acted before, in a theater, in the movies, or even just at school. Everything is better than nothing in this case, even some highly amateurish production.
Explain them briefly the role you played, who or what you should represent, and how long it all took. You can briefly mention some lessons you learned, or drop in a name or two they should know (this or that director of photography, probably they never heard of him but he’s great).
If you have a portfolio, you can show some pictures from shooting, or even have there some screenshots directly from the final piece.
But what if you are just starting out, having no experience at all? Try to use it to your advantage. Say that you’ve been preparing for your fist cast a long time, and understand what’s expected from a professional actor. Since you are just starting out you do not expect to earn millions for your performance, and are ready to learn and follow the direction of the crew members to the point–something an experienced actress could have trouble with, with her big ego…
In any case, you should show them your confidence. Unless you believe you will handle your role–or even ace the interview, they will find it hard to believe it.
What is your availability? Do you have any other commitments?
Maybe you still go to school, or have a regular job, while trying to make your breakthrough as a movie star. And while it is all right–you have to live from something–you should ensure them that your acting career sits at the top of your list of priorities.
Sure, you go to school, have your exams, and what not. But if they decide to give you a chance, you will arrange an individual study plan, and will be available anytime they need you. Because you understand that many people are involved in a creation of even a simple commercial. And you won’t let all of them waiting just because you have your shift at Olive Garden, or attend a class in Economics…
* May also interest you: Stage Manager interview questions.
Imagine that you are playing in front of an audience, and someone in the crowd starts to boo you off, in the middle of the scene. How will you react?
Ensure them that you will stay professional in all circumstances. Sure, feedback is important, and you may think about the scene and the way you handled it later on, in the backstage. But while on stage, you will simply continue playing, trying your best. There are other paying guests in the audience, and you won’t stop playing just because of one rude guy.
Then, once the play is over, you will talk to the director and your colleagues, to find out why the person was booing. Maybe you could improve on something, and you definitely want to improve. That’s why each feedback is important to you, and you actually embrace constructive criticism, since it helps you to identify areas for improvement and become even a better actress.
An exciting show should air next Friday. You played a part in it, and know what will happen. Your close friends ask you to share the details with them, promising they won’t tell anyone. How will you react?
Show them that you are 100% professional. You will sing an NDA, and will be obliged to keep quiet about everything that happens on the stage, and in the backstage. Friends, family members, your secret lover–all of them will have to wait for the premiere.
Because people can promise a lot of things, but they may eventually find it hard to not share some exciting news with their peers… For this reason, you will not tell anyone, regardless of how much they plead you to share the details with them.
Acting is a hard job. When deadline approaches, we may sometimes spend 16 hours a day shooting. How do you feel about that?
Ensure them that you do not wear pink glasses and do not expect to drink champagne all day long. Sure, this is business before anything else, and at the end of the day everyone wants to make profit.
You do not expect an easy ride and being treated like a princess. It is hard to make a career as an actress, but it is your dream, and you are ready to sacrifice a lot for it.
Occasional long stints of shooting, be it ten, twelve, or even twenty hours in one go (with a few short breaks in-between), are not a problem for you. As long as there’s coffee and others manage to concentrate for such a long time, you have no issue with some long days at work.
Other questions you may face in your actor job interview
- This job involves a lot of traveling. Do you have any commitments that will restrain you from spending time out of home?
- In your opinion, who’s the best actor and the best actress? What do you admire about their appearances?
- What are your salary expectations? What sort of compensation do you expect for this role?
- Many big egos work in the movie industry. How do you plan to handle dealing with them, and with the conflicts that will inevitably happen on stage?
- How do you feel about playing a bed scene? Are you okay with exposing certain pats of your body in front of the camera?
- After everything we said here, do you want to add something, or do you have any questions?
Conclusion, next steps
Many variables come into play during each casting. Your physical appearance, the connections you have with the crew (or some other applicants have them, which gives them an advantage), your interview answers, luck.
You may feel like you delivered a performance of your life, and still end up waiting for a phone call which will never come. This is something you have to accept. It’s a game of numbers with acting, and you may have to go to dozens of castings before finally landing some decent role.
However, you should try to prepare the best you can for each opportunity you may get. Read the questions and my hints once again, and try to prepare a short answer to each one. I hope you will eventually succeed, and wish you best of luck!
May also interest you:
- Professional model interview questions.
- Why do you want to be a model? 7 sample answers.
- Dancer interview questions.