11 Tips for Choosing a General Audition (or Go See) Scene

When we launched Chicken and Chips Casting, we made a goal to meet at least 20 new actors a month. People we weren’t familiar with or, people we were familiar with, but we hadn’t met yet.

We’re proud to say, that we have far exceeded this goal.

We get it, not many casting directors do Generals anymore – which is weird because it’s one of the best ways to meet new faces and be unique in your casting. But, we’re not here to give away trade secrets.

What has concerned us over the last 4 years is how many times we’ve seen this scene from 500 Days of Summer performed in our studio. And let us tell you, we could recite this scene backwards in pig latin if you asked us to.

There’s no use sitting around complaining about people’s scene choice – that’s not teaching you anything.

So, we wanted to share our top 10 tips for choosing a scene for your General Audition with us.

1.     Don’t Google ‘monologues’

 If you Google ‘monologues’, you won’t find anything we want to see performed in our studio. What you will find is a lot of things we HAVE seen performed in our studio. It’s not interesting. It’s boring scene selection. 

2.     DO choose a scene from the screen!

 We haven’t embarked on much theatre casting (although, come at us theatre – we have some new faces you might be interested in!) If you’re asked to come in, choose something from a film or TV show.

 Many of you will know, Steph is a die hard Shakespeare fan, she also loves Chekov. But she doesn’t want to see this stuff in the room. Why? Well, although it shows technique, it’s not an accurate representation of how we can cast you in one of our projects.

The age old saying of ‘know your audience’ applies to general auditions – choose something that is in line with the projects we cast.

3.     Adapt a scene!

 We have witnessed many a train wreck in the studio. A lot of these could have been avoided by simply adapting the scene. There’s no harm (in fact we encourage it) in adapting the scene you’ve chosen to be more appropriate to your type. Change the gender, the setting, the characters names. Not only does this give you a unique and original piece to perform, it also sets you apart from anyone else. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.

4.     Don’t choose an Oscar winning performance or a really memorable scene.

 You’d think this is obvious, but for some, it’s not. So…let us spell it out. Don’t perform something by an Oscar Award winning actor. It lends yourself to comparison and doesn’t do you any favours. Go back to point 3 and adapt the scene if you can’t find something that you connect with.

5.     Voiceovers

 Voiceovers make great general audition pieces! They are monologues and VERY underutilised.

6.     Sexualised Content

 We’re not prudes. We love a bit of swearing (in fact Steph likes it a bit too much). But when it comes to over sexualised content – try and avoid it. There are so many pieces to choose from, we will question why you’ve chosen something that borders on inappropriate once you’ve left the room.

7.     Write your own!

 There’s some opportunity with general auditions to showcase your other talents! Actors that perform their own original material is really interesting. Even if you don’t nail the performance, you will leave being remembered.

8.     Choose SOMETHING!

 If you get a general audition with us – choose something for the sake of Pete (whoever he is). Assume we want to SEE something. We don’t know many casting directors that are sitting around with time to spare having cups of tea and chatting about peoples hobbies and interests. We want to see you act. So be prepared to perform.

9.     Keep it short

 Don’t choose a scene longer than 2 minutes. Often, we schedule you in 10 minute increments. If you choose a 15 minute scene, not only do you push the whole day back but the casting director is most definitely watching the time code wondering when it will end rather than focussing on your performance.

10.  Pick 2 x contrasting scenes

 We can’t speak for other casting directors, but we like to see 2 x scenes or monologues (we like to change it up so make sure you read the booking email!) where you can show versatility in performance and range. For instance, a comedy or more light hearted piece and a drama would be a great way to go.

11.  Don’t perform the scene from your showcase piece or showreel

We don’t want to toot our own horn here but we are good at what we do. This means, we’ve more than likely been to your graduating showcase (or at least the shows leading up to your showcase) and we’ve watched your showreel (often the day before you walk into the studio so it’s fresh in our brains). If you perform a piece we’ve already watched, that doesn’t fill us with confidence about you. It also tells us that you haven’t been bothered to prepared something unique to our call out.

I know we said 10 tips, but here’s the eleventh one for free – consider a general audition as an opportunity to act. It’s an opportunity to showcase your abilities, introduce yourself in a professional setting and get an idea of how we work. Remember – NEVER pay for a general or ANY kind of audition. We do these to meet new faces as a responsibility to our clients in knowing everyone and because we love our job.

If you haven’t met us yet and would like to be considered for a general audition, you can email Laura to express your interest: laura@chickenandchips.com.au