As with the headshot industry, what one wears to an audition is another changing landscape an actor strolls upon and should be a question revisited frequently. But, for our purposes today we'll focus on what's appropriate now. I received a few calls this week for on-camera, commercial auditions. The character description - as per usual - was vague, vague, vague. What's more, the dress for said characters was noted as "casual". Oh, vague-ty! How I hate thee!! So, of course, being a bit of a fashion victim, a few of the many questions that popped into my head were these:
- Casual as in what I wear to hang around my house?
- Casual as in, what I'd wear on a third date - whatever that means?
- Casual as in what I might wear to casual-day at work if I worked in a corporate environment?
- Casual as in the Gap or J Crew?
- Casual as in boring?
Sheesh! But, its really VERY simple. Casual-wear for commercial auditions sake is an outfit that you'd wear if you wanted to look nice, but wanted to be comfortable. For example, I wore a nice top which was light on the print and a lovely blue (remember that a good color can take you from drab/bleh to "hello there!") and a good pair of jeans and cute shoes. Something I'd wear on a normal day. The most important thing at an audition is to look your best. The last thing you want to do is show up like you just got back from a long trip around Asia in a pair of khaki shorts and a tshirt with your baseball cap and sneakers on (I've see this before!).
I'd only wear something like that if it was in the specific character description, but even so, if you're asked to dress like that, wash your hair at least! AND, alert(!!) don't go to the other absurd side of the scale and dress like you're in a wedding. Overall, commercial Casting Directors prefer it if you're simple. I once saw a girl at a commercial audition dressed in a pajama one-sy carrying a giant stuffed toy. Needless to say the CD almost spontaneously combusted. But it was kinda funny.. Post Scripts: For the ladies, a little make-up never hurt anyone. Especially for those on-camera auditions. Now I'm not talking about caking it on, but take a note out of Nixon's book who apparently put up a fuss about wearing a little base before going on camera to debate with JFK.
His sweaty, pallid look may have cost him the US vote which was in his favor whilst he was debating via radio broadcast. But after that first TV rumble the vote suddenly swung pro-JFK (who did wear makeup). Of course there was WAY more to that election, but you get my point. For the guys, grooming is the key. Don't think that just 'cos you're a guy that it doesn't matter how you look. If you're going in for a job like Wendy's or something all-american, be prepared to shave off that 9 o'clock stubble and loose that trendy bracelet unless you want to pigeon-hole yourself as a dirty-hipster as a friend was branded by a producer when he came into a job unshaven.
Needless to say he was fired! If he'd shaved and combed his hair (or at LEAST gone in as he'd looked at the audition) he'd have been fine. I'm not saying that you should fight against your type and mold yourself into what you think the Casting Director/Producer wants you to be, but do use a little common sense. You can always ask your agent before going in if you think you should tidy-up for a given audition. I'm all for standing out and embracing your "type" but it does come at a bit of a cost. And guys, don't worry about makeup unless you've got a big zit on your nose or something. In which case I'd recommend a little cover-up so the producers don't barf.