About this series: These entries are taken from my article “Don’t Call Us — We’ll Call You.” It is a tongue-in-cheek survey of actors’ silly mistakes that should never have been made. Your comments are welcome, but PLEASE don’t comment “that’s dumb” or “everybody knows that” because I have personally seen these mistakes cost actors (sometimes even professional actors) roles.
YOUR GADGET INTERRUPTED. In the middle of our audition, when one of the other actors was delivering a heartfelt reading, I heard your cell phone go off from the back of the room. Or perhaps an actor was distracted by the blue glow of the screen on your iPod, seeming to float in the back of the house. The moment was ruined for that actor– and for me. Are you new to technology? Have you never sat in an auditorium and read or heard an announcement about turning off all electronic devices before a performance? You are either very inconsiderate or just a little too “ditzy” for me to take a chance on putting you in my cast.
I think we’ve all been in a theatre or movie house and had our enjoyment spoiled by someone’s cell phone going off. Cell phones, iPods, MP3 Players, Gameboys, iPads, laptops… the list of personal electronics goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong– I own a few of ‘em myself. I love technology. But during an audition, it should be old-school, person-to-person time.
Most people have mastered the mute setting of their phones. A simple flip of a switch makes sure that no noise comes from the darned thing. But sometimes it happens. I know, it’s happened to me. I run the sound board for our church Praise Band. The week I got my brand new iPhone, it went off right during a prayer. I have one of my own songs from one of my shows as my ring tone: “Time Outs.” The congregation was silent except for the pastor’s voice, then all of a sudden, everyone hears: Time outs, Time outs, I sure hate to get time outs….!”
Luckily for me, our church has a sense of humor. You may not be so lucky.
Muting your phone should be second nature to you whenever you step foot in a theatre. It separates the pros from the amateurs.
On the same vein, make sure any other device doesn’t distract from the process. Don’t let the sound of it be heard (earphones are wonderful things!), don’t let the glowing screen be seen, and for goodness sakes, don’t let yourself get distracted from what’s going on in your audition. Few things are worse than having to call someone more than once, only to find that they are engrossed in playing a video game during an audition!