Don’t go to get booked. Go to book the room.
It’s what we commonly hear as actors if you’ve been in the game for a minute, have taken an on-camera class, or have been on many auditions, but you haven’t booked anything yet – you’re getting frustrated and a mentor, actor friend or teacher reminds you of this…oh so golden piece of advice.
If you are new to the acting scene and you’re now learning this for the first time, keep reading and once you begin to audition – own it. And watch your career and confidence unfold because of it.
If you consider yourself a working actor who auditions regularly, what does “book the room” mean to you?
I’ve seen and heard some varied answers. And I want to make sure your definition is fully working for you.
I admit, the first time I heard this – I was in an on-camera acting class and I liked the way it sounded, I pondered it, but for some time I didn’t exactly know what the teacher meant until I began to discover it on my own.
Once I did figure out what booking the room meant for me, I started to enjoy the auditioning process more, my confidence grew, I began to book, and now Casting Offices call me in often.
So let’s dive in, just how do you book a room and walk away knowing that you did?
Top 3 Ways to Book the Room:
1. Lead with a Storyteller Mindset
The story, who you are in the story, and what you have come to do in the story always trumps you as the actor who is ready to show your talent and choices. What I quickly learned in LA, many are natural and talented so that no longer carries all of the weight.
Before you step foot into the Casting room, make it your priority to become and step into the world you’ve come to play in and let go of actor thoughts like:
“I hope I book this.”
“If I book this, I’ll get my first tv credit!”
“I’m so nervous what if I forget my lines.”
“Why am I freaking out, I only have two words to say?”
“I gotta book this or my agent is going to drop me.”
“I know I’m gonna book this because right now I’m on fire!”
“I’m not going to book this because I’m the only one I see that’s my type.”
I share this because I used to do it too! However, we as actors truly have a job to do. Ask yourself, if you were the writer, would you want an actor having those thoughts before telling your story or would you want them more interested in bringing your story to life?
Bottom line, make the story more important than your thoughts and needs as an actor.
For none of those thoughts have anything to do with the story you are about to tell. So share with your heart and tell a great story.
2. Be Yourself
Wait, you just said, who I am in the story trumps me as the actor – I’m confused? So glad you’re listening, let me explain.
I had to share this one with you because my goof of a slate turned into a win.
In that short amount of time to connect with the casting office, you wanna make sure you are being authentically you.
You see the power is in your hands to be able to switch it on and off when it comes to the quick greeting, that small window of time for any questions, and the last seconds before they turn on the camera for you to slate and/or read.
Why is this important?
It helps them get to know you, you get to build upon your relationship with them, it shows you are easy to work with and would be a great addition to the cast, and it gives you an opportunity to have a voice and be you(a person) not just an actor that’s next in line hoping to get the job. You in this equation matters.
This will take time in a lot of rooms to get comfortable with this process so give yourself permission to not have to do anything special more than being yourself. When there’s too much pressure that takes the fun out of it. I too had to be uncomfortable until I naturally found my own truthful way to share my personality.
Now, this can look different from actor to actor depending on your own personality, what’s going on in your head, and in your life. Remember to be authentic – some days I’m open and chatty and some I allow myself just to feel good about my read and confidently leave wishing them a good rest of their day. As they too appreciate you respecting their time and will dig your confidence.
And then sometimes, things naturally happen during or right after my slate and I’ve learned to just allow myself to be me vs melting into my insecure actor mind or discuss with myself.
Here’s my Goof of a slate that turned into a win:
Just recently for a theatrical audition in a casting office, they said the usual, “Slate your name and height.” And for the first time ever, I said my height first…then my name and it felt odd as I realized I said it backward. My goofy humor naturally came out to clean up the fact that I just did that.
I put my hands on my hips and bounced them up and down while saying/singing – “And I just said that backwards.”
We all laughed and I slammed the read. Remember they are human too and most casting directors are super nice.
So, begin to find those moments when you can be yourself, connect, and have fun.
3. Come Prepared
The sides are your friend. Lean on them.
Set yourself up to stand out. Know who you are, what you are doing, how you feel, what’s happening from scene to scene, the environment, your relationship with others, why you act the way you do, your lines, and all those other yummy tools you learn in acting class.
LIVE it out truthfully.
If you’ve only come to book the job and are ready to show them what you have worked on – they can sense and see “your work” where talent and choices will look too much like a pushed product.
Let go of needing the credit, the booking and what your day rate will be. Truly live out the story. It grabs their attention and the big decision makers that will later watch you on tape.
So come prepared and be able to handle whatever comes your way be it – your given direction, the reader went up on a line, or perhaps you’re feeling like crap that day – it all can happen.
Now go walk away with the feeling of…”I just booked the room.”
P.S. Having trouble booking the room, getting into the rooms, and getting booked? Sign-up for a complimentary 30-min. Flow Session so we can begin to turn your journey into a successful one.