Open auditions or casting calls are often hugely publicised and attract huge crowds. Frequently these open auditions are held for kids. There are two reasons that they may do this.
1. Children are harder to cast than adults, for a start they have to look like children, you have to be sure that they aren’t going to have a sudden growth spurt or that their voices aren’t going to break within the first couple of weeks of the show.
Or the slightly more cynical idea…
2. That children are the ultimate advert magnet. Regardless of whether a child gets a part they will want to see that show or that film, just incase they spot one of the people they met in the audition. It starts the pester power early before the show begins or the film has even started filming.
So are they worth it?
On one hand, yes. On the other, no. The actress that plays Luna Lovegood was found at an open audition attended by thousands of people and was plucked from those thousands to land the part! However, the style of open auditions will vary greatly. I remember going to an open audition for a huge film franchise and the casting consisted of waiting for several hours and then eventually being allowed inside and having a poloroid photo taken and sent on our way. A great experience? Certainly a learning experience! Even so, I’m sure that if they had seen someone that had the exact look they were after they’d have gone a lot further with it than I did.
Often open auditions are for the big musicals in The West End. They are of course looking for children to play the parts and yes they will consider everyone they see. Therefore it is certainly worth a shot. However be warned that children from the top full time theatre schools and agencies in London will have been auditioned first. Although it may initially appear that they have 10 parts up for grabs (remember every part for a child in the theatre will need to be filled 3 times over) they may have already cast 9 or the 10 parts and be looking for someone for the remaining part- that person that they are casting for will have to be really specific in both look, height and character. However, that person is certainly out there and there is nothing to say they’re not in that long queue.
So in short- some top tips for the survival of open auditions:
* Take plenty of water and food to keep you going
* Take things to do- computer games or a good old fashioned book
* Try and make your self stand out- I don’t mean by dressing as the character but wearing a brightly coloured top and being very polite will make the casting director notice you.
* Don’t keep asking the runners and casting assistants how long you’re going to be, they’re just as bored as you. Remember if you kick up a fuss at the end of the day, they’re the ones that will be chatting to the casting directors at the end of the day- not you!
* Most of all enjoy it! Take the opportunity to meet like minded people and to soak up the atmosphere! If nothing else, it’s a great opportunity for people watching.
Finally, GOOD LUCK!