In her position as Assistant Casting Director at As the World Turns, Kate Martineau Adams often gave seminars in various acting schools. Here, she offers advice to actors on where they should place their focus when pursuing an acting career — especially in the audition process.
Kate Martineau Adams: Well, the first piece of advice I would give actors is that they need to have some training. There are definitely people who just get discovered, and it happens for them overnight. Those are very few and far between. You need to have tools that you can use when you’re looking at a script.
I caution people against going in blindly, and just meeting. So many actors think, ‘If I just get my face out there, and meet all these casting directors, they’re going to see what I have to offer. And it’s actually the opposite in most cases.
If you’re so green, and you don’t have those tools, you’ll still meet all those casting directors; but then they will file you in the back of their heads as somebody who cannot take the scene, break it down, and make it worthy of watching.
If you meet everybody before you’re prepared to, your career is going to stall. So, I encourage people to get training under their belts, and continue training. It’s just like anything else. If you’re just sitting on your couch, those muscles are going to atrophy. So, you need to continually train. And that’s the first piece of advice I give actors.
Susan Dansby: I spoke with Eric Sheffer Stevens (Reid Oliver, As the World Turns), and I was pretty impressed with how quickly he was able to come in and take on the role of Reid — which was very complicated and challenging. And when I realized how much training he had had, and I thought, ‘Oh, of course. That’s how he was able to do it.’
Because it’s not so much that one reading. I mean, maybe you just happen to be exactly like the Miley Cyrus character; and that’s who you are when you wake up in the morning. But the character still has adjustments to make. And if you can’t make those changes on a dime, I’m with you. You’re really setting yourself up to fail.
Kate Martineau Adams: Well, especially during the audition process. The first time we come in and see you in a pre-screen audition, we’re not expecting the world. We’re not expecting a fully-realized portrayal of the character, because you may have only had the material for less than a day. We’re looking to see if you have potential.
The next time we see you at a callback, we expect you to have grown in the role. And if we see you back again for a screen test, we expect you to be further along in the role. And if all the preparation you know how to do is just a very surface, shallow preparation, you’re not going to grow through the audition process as we see you. And that’s going to be a huge tipoff to us that you would be unable to handle the amount of material that we process.
Specifically with Dr. Reid Oliver, and seeing Eric, that audition scene was very difficult; because it was so easy for actors to come in and read it, and make the character so unlikable. There needed to be a kernel of likability there that we saw from the beginning. Otherwise, why would we want to see this character on our screen on a daily basis?
And Eric was one of the very few people that made this character interesting and likable. Everybody else just came in and made him a total mustache twirler. So, that tipped us off from the very moment he stepped in the room, that he was a contender for the role.