Published on February 10th, 2011 | by Julia


All About Auditions: The Lingo

Show biz has some funky names for things. Here are a few terms that you might hear when auditioning:

Action – What the director will say when she’s ready for you to begin “reading” the scene.

Audition – this is where you get to meet the people making the show, and show them your acting.

Casting Breakdown – a list of all the available parts with descriptions of each role.  The description will tell you something about the character’s personality and age.  It might also mention a specific look that the producers want (red-headed, short, chubby) or other details.

Casting Call – an announcement of roles available in a play, tv show, web series or movie.  The casting call will include a casting breakdown.

Direction – direction is instruction given to you by the director or casting director to show you a new way to act in the scene.  It might be about where to stand or how to move, but it might also be about how your character feels during the scene.  “Try it again, only this time, your character has just woken up from a long nap and is still groggy.”

Headshot – a current photo of yourself that you can submit to casting calls.

Mark – this is the spot you stand or sit in to be framed by the camera (don’t move too far from the spot or you’ll go out of frame!)

Read for the part” – Audition; play one character’s role in a scene.   You say her lines.  But don’t really read!  Know the lines off by heart.  You can keep your script in your hand or on your lap, but it’s best to know the part so well that you don’t have to look at it.

Reader – the person who  plays the other parts in the scene with you when you are auditioning.  The reader really does read.  Don’t worry about it.  You’re the one who is supposed to know the lines.

Resume – a one-page list of your acting experience, training and special skills.

Sides – “sides” are pages of the script.  If you are invited to audition, they will send you sides — probably two or three scenes from the script.  You learn the lines for the character you are auditioning for.

Slate – At the beginning of an audition, you may be asked to slate.  All that means is to say your  name, the role you are auditioning for and the name of your agent (if you have one) to the camera.

All About Auditions is a series of posts. Read them all: Casting Calls, Submitting Yourself, The Lingo, Thinking About Character, Getting Ready for the Big Day and The Audition. When you’re read all the posts, check out our Audition MashUp to see the actors audition for Ruby Skye P.I.: The Spam Scam.

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