Dress the Part for Casting Calls and Acting Auditions

I have mentioned in last week’s video that sometimes you’ve got to really think very carefully about what to wear for an audition, and there are a couple of different philosophies about what should be worn. Some philosophies kind of go like this, look, it doesn’t make any difference what you wear, they’re looking at the actor not the clothing.

Casting directors know what doctors look like, what business men look like, what teachers look like, just wear anything you want and just read the role well. And, that is an option. That is what some people do. I happen to go with a different philosophy. Mine is, I want to dress the part. Certainly you don’t want to insult a casting director.

If you are a fireman, you don’t have to come in with fire gear, if you’re jumping out of an airplane, you don’t have to come in with a parachute, people will get the idea of what will be needed if you get cast. But, there was something that I did last week at an audition and it will be interesting to see if it really made any difference.

There are always as you know so many factors that go into booking and not booking the job but, this was for a television spot that was being aired in the State of Washington. So I was keeping that in mind when deciding on what to wear because it was an audition where there were no lines. I knew it was going to be all improv.

I had no idea what to expect  but, what I decided to do with my wardrobe was this, and they said just wear whatever you feel like wearing, whatever is you, whatever you feel comfortable in. Well, for me that would be wearing an old t shirt, ripped up jeans and tennis shoes. I did not think that is what they were looking for although who knows.

What I was thinking of was this. The commercial will air in Washington State. It’s a beautiful place, a lot of people spend time outdoors and I’m thinking really more outdoorsy so that’s why I wore a fleece, jeans and tennis shoes. It just felt right for that particular market. I had no idea what was going to take place during the audition, but I was thinking of saying something about nature or outdoors if I had to talk.

For the audition, the  casting director asked me, “If I could go to any place in history, future or past, where would I go? You know, that’s pretty tough, those are difficult auditions. Most of the time, having lines are much easier auditions.  So, my plan was fixed on nature. Because I was clearly thinking Washington State/outdoors, what I decided to do was, talk about a recent trip that I had to Glacier National Park. How I would love to be able to return to that place 100 years ago to see how magnificent those glaciers must have been back then, etc…

There is no way of knowing if that strategy will help me book the job, but at least I felt like I had some kind of game plan and I was ready for anything asked of me.

So, probably the most important thing that I could say to you as far as wardrobe goes, because it depends on your philosophy of really dressing the part or really not caring at all, just don’t dress inappropriately. That is always a good rule to follow when thinking about preparing for your next audition.  Personally, I like to bang people over the head with the look, I want them to think as soon as I walk in that room, yeah, that guys a business guy, yeah, that guys a teacher, yeah, that’s guys a doctor, that guys a lawyer and I will dress the part.  I’ve found that to be very helpful to me and I wanted to share it with you.

One other really quick thing that I just wanted to mention, there have been a lot of people that have asked if I’m going to be doing workshops in their area, a couple of things, I just wanted to let you know, I do a lot of online workshops.  I still do travel for workshops, and you can always go to howtomodel.com and see where my next workshop is going to be. If it is an online workshop there will be information there as well.

For those of you who are interested in having a one – on – one private coaching session with me,  which are really incredible sessions, once again just go to howtomodel.com/coaching and you can read all about it. My private coaching sessions will save you years and years of guess work, it will save you a tremendous amount of time and money as well and it will be fun.

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  • Marc Goodman

    I agree but perhaps I go even further. Sometimes I actually show up in costume or semi-costume for a part. When I started going after acting jobs, less than 2 years ago, all the advice I could find was not to do this. I ignored it and booked the first thing I auditioned for – they actually wanted me to wear a hat in the project that I had worn to the audition – and they took my basic outfit concept and went further over the top with it. The next thing I auditioned for was a reverend and I wore a clerical collar. They eventually chose someone who had not even auditioned then but I’ve come to know them since and they remembered me vividly – I think I was their 1st choice out of the 5 they auditioned. I showed up to audition for an EA Poe docu-drama dressed in swallow tail coat and top hat … got a good part and wore the same outfit in the filming. More recently, I see lots of casting directors saying to absolutely dress the part, including costumery, to help the casting director visualize – particular on instructions for video auditions. When the part or audition notice doesn’t suggest a particular outfit, I try at least wear something distinctive – that people will remember, rather than just usual street clothes.