From Charlie's Desk > About the Audition Process

From Charlie’s Desk . . . The audition process for movies, television and commercials is very different than it is for theatre. Theatre still tends to use monologues, especially if it is a general audition for a particular company’s season. I have had dozens and dozens of movie and TV auditions, and have never once been asked to do a monologue! It just isn’t the way it is done. Movies and television auditions generally consist of cold readings from the script, as do commercials. (I also have noticed that more and more theatres are doing the same thing.)


With that in mind, I recently received this letter from a former student. "Hi Charlie, I have a question. Is it still a rule that when on a SAG audition, actors are supposed to be provided the sides at least a day in advance? Is this still true and if so, does it also apply to SAG commercials? I just went on a SAG commercial audition where the sides were right there by the sign up sheet, handwritten for us to copy down ourselves. And these weren't provided to us prior to the audition. It was basically a very cold read for most of us. Thanks! -Jason"


Hi, Jason What the union says is that for a movie or TV show, a script should be available for you to read 24 hours in advance. That doesn’t mean every actor gets a script, but that one should be available in the production or casting office if you want to go in and read it.


Commercials are different; no advance script must be provided. You almost never get the sides (pages of a script) in advance, although I must say that having the sides handwritten for you to copy down is very unprofessional. I’ve never run into that one before. The closest I ever came was actually on a movie. I auditioned for “Fletch Lives” during the writer's strike several years ago, and the director, Michael Ritchie, turned a page of the script over and wrote a few lines for the audition, which he gave to an assistant to have typed for us. We waited about five minutes, then were handed them, given a few minutes to study, then called in to audition. I got the role and was sent immediately to wardrobe and makeup. By the time I got through, the complete scene had been written and typed and was in my trailer. Unfortunately most of the scene (Great fun; I got strangled to death with a sword by Hal Holbrook!) ended up being cut from the picture. I still get a little residual check once in a while.


Here’s to bigger and better roles for all of us, that don’t get cut!

Charlie Holliday