Musical Theater: An Interview with Tina Marie Casamento, Producer/Vocal Coach,

If acting in New York City involves musicals for you, here are some tips of the trade offered by renowned vocal coach Tina Marie Casamento.

How did you get started in Musical Theater?

I began performing right out of high school doing roles in local dinner theatre productions, but I think I knew I had to be involved in musicals since I was a small girl. It is a passion of mine, and I adore all aspects of the art.

What skills do Musical Theater actors need to have to compete in today’s Broadway market?

I think a good knowledge of the repertoire and how you fit into the market from a casting point of view is essential. You need versatility in your voice and range, and a variety of songs in your book that represent the kind of roles you can play. You also need the drive to create your own opportunities and look for the theatres that may have a show that you are right for.

What do you see as the future of Broadway?

We are moving in a direction of pop and contemporary musical styles that incorporate the kind story telling inherent in musical theatre. This makes musicals  accessible to new audiences and is inspiring the young writers and new artists. There is something for every taste in musical theatre, be it opera, jazz, pop, or even rock. Still, I love the traditional styles that are  influenced by Rogers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Bernstein and the greats. I think these paved the way and have influenced the hits  like Les Miz, Wicked, Light In The Piazza and  Beauty And The Beast. These types of shows will continue to represent Broadway along side the newer forms.

What does your company do?

We provide an affordable means for musical theatre artists to record a high quality vocal demo, and we go a step further by making their demo available to casting professionals 24/7 in a simple yet individualized web page. Artists who wish to have mp3s of their tracks can purchase our Premium Package, while budget minded artists can purchase our lower priced Producer Package, which includes 24/7 online access to your demo but not the mp3s. From helping the artist choose their song list, to recording several takes of each song and editing the best takes, to creating the webpage, we do it all! We pay all licensing to ASCAP and BMI so online sharing of your demo is legal, and you can embed you Broadway Demo into your personal site too and still be covered by our licenses. We also promote our members on Facebook when they have success stories, as well as inclusion in our showcase page, which is frequented by new composers looking for voices for demos of their new works.

Why is a Broadway Demo needed by today’s musical theater actor?

As an artist you must be proactive! It is becoming more and more competitive, and harder to get seen for projects. When a casting director or agent is deciding who to give that last appointment spot to, a vocal demo and an online presence is the difference between getting seen or not! We have so many clients sending us stories of how their BroadwayDemo got them an agent, got them a big audition, got them a callback when someone Googled them after an EPA or Chorus call.  After an EPA or Chorus Call when the casting pros are looking through their “keep” pile they can actually visit your demo on an iPhone, computer or iPad and might hear a different style or sound they didn’t know you had. I was offered a cruise contract without even going to an audition. They simply FOUND me on Broadway Demo.  Broadway Demo is what mailings were when I started in this business. Everything is now a click away

Do actors need a webpage or website for their business?

A webpage should be like a headshot and resume. BroadwayDemo is like a digital headshot and resume with a vocal demo! We consulted casting directors and agents when opening the business and designing the pages. They wanted simple, easy to access, clean and unfussy. As few clicks as possible.  The casting professionals know that we do not do any pitch correction, and it is an accurate representation of the singer. You wouldn’t hand a headshot resume that was 12×14, with a 3 page resume to a casting pro, so why have a webpage that is over stuffed. The main information should be right their and easy to navigate.

Follow this link for more information on

Tina Marie Casamento

(Producer/Vocal Coach) Tina Marie is one of NYC’s premier musical theatre coaches.  She a Casting Associate for NETworks tours with several projects, and is also a working actress. Acting credits include understudying the lead roles in the First National Broadway Tours of Victor Victoria and Kiss Me Kate,Marie/Ensemble in Beauty and the Beast (Las Vegas) and regional productions of Into the Woods (Bakers’s Wife and The Witch) and Falsettos (Trina) . Currently, she is in a development deal with EMI Music Publishing for a Broadway musical that she conceived entitled Chasing Rainbows about the childhood of Judy Garland with book by Tony Award winning writer Thomas Meehan, and existing music from the MGM/Feist Robbins catalog. She spent 4 years as the Musical Theatre Panelist for the Young Arts, National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) ending her last 3 years as Chair. Tina Marie directed Oklahomaat the Village Light Opera Group in NYC and The Fantasticks at Gallery Players in Brooklyn, as well as “Little Shop of Horrors” at Infinity Theatre Company.

David Libby

David’s Music Director credits include Play it Cool(Off Broadway), The Shadow Sparrow (O’Neill NMTC), That Other Woman’s Child (NYMF and Chattanooga Rep), A Lasting Impression (East 3rd Productions),The Fantasticks (Gallery Players and Infinity Theatre), Little Mary (Not For Broadway Festival) My Way (Infinity)and Little Shop of Horrors (Infinity, Music Supervisor).  Pianist/Keyboardist credits include Beauty and the Beast (Las Vegas) and Kiss Me Kate (First National Broadway Tour), as well as rehearsal/audition pianist work for the national tours of (among others) Hairspray, Spring Awakening, Oliver!, The Drowsy Chaperone,and Rent. He is currently arranging songs from the MGM catalog for a new musical about Judy Garland’s early life entitled Chasing Rainbows,in collaboration with EMI Music Publishing, book by Thomas Meehan.

Voice Overs: An Interview with Richard Bianco, On the Air Studios by Tony Nation

on the air studiosHow long have you been working with V/O actors?

On The Air Production Studios was established in 1988. My background was originally in broadcasting. One of our services at On The Air Studios consisted of producing demos for clients who were interested in becoming on air personalities. At that time, radio enthusiasts wanted to become the next Imus or Scott Shannon. The radio market started to decline as radio stations started more and more to become dominated by big radio conglomerates’ and DJ’s were for the most part replaced by automation. We started receiving inquiries from actors who wanted to add a Voice Over demo to their resume.

What are the common misconceptions about the Voice Over business?

The belief that all you need is a great voice to make it in this business and that Voice Over is a fast and easy way to make money. It is not your voice but how you use it and market yourself.

What are the skills that V/O actors need to possess?

The ability to sound natural, confident and believable all require a myriad of acting skills. The narration talent is a master story teller. The reason that celebrity actors are booked so often for major commercials is not necessarily for their notoriety but because they do it so well. V/O actors do possess many talents which to the untrained ear are overlooked. This is because they make it seem so effortless.

When should a V/O actor record their commercial demo reel?

Only when they feel that they are properly trained and confident in their skills. Also, V/O actors should work with a seasoned producer that can guide them the process.

What should be on the commercial demo reel?

My answer to that question is always ‘You’….. We all have different personalities, unique little inflections in our voices and so on. My job as a professional producer is to find that niche that makes the VO actor marketable and stand out from others. The material selected must take advantage of the VO actors uniqueness. The final results in the demo reel should be the essence of ‘you’.

Do V/O actors need other types of demos? Promo, animation, narrative?

Yes they should. As a VO actor you need to be as diverse as possible. It is very important though to find the areas you are the strongest at and focus on that. If you can interpret commercial copy well or if narration is your forte then that’s where your efforts should be….. Do not try to over reach. If your plan on adding a lot of variety to the demo, don’t mix them all in one reel, it will only confuse the listener and make it more difficult to place you. It is sometime common to have two tracks on one reel consisting of a Commercial and Narration, Radio imaging and Animation etc, etc should be on separate demos.

Richard Bianco has more then 25 years of experience in broadcasting and audio production.  At On The Air Studios, Richard prides himself in providing one-on-one service to his clients in a relaxed,  professional atmosphere.  Check out his website for more information.

If you’re looking for a voice over class in New York, visit our classes page here at Actors Connection.

Ask a Casting Director: What’s the difference between first refusal and a hold?

If you want to be cast to perform in NYC, it’s important to know what casting directors mean when they talk about a hold versus a first refusal. A casting director explains.

Q:  What’s the difference between first refusal and a hold?

A:  This question come up a great deal. Technically nothing. Many years ago SAG came up with a rule that we weren’t allowed to use the word “hold” unless we were just about to book someone. We needed to use the term “first refusal”. Anyone who used the word “hold” and didn’t book the talent was subject to a session fee if the talent didn’t get booked. Most Casting Directors will put all talent on first refusal when the callbacks are given to them because the advertising agencies only want to submit talent to the client if they know that they are available. However, “first refusal” is just a courtesy. Talent is allowed to accept other work even if they were on first refusal for another project. It will not make that Casting Director very happy but they do have that right. When talent is put on first refusal all that it really means is that you are still in the running. You may be the only one on first refusal for that role or there may be 50. Also if two different clients want to put you on first refusal for the same date, the proper thing to do is give the first one who calls a first refusal and the other one a second refusal. If the second client is ready to book, it is customary to do what is called a “book or release” which means that first client has to make a decision. One disclaimer…..rules change all the time but this is my understanding of the the rules.  It is not locked in stone.

Getting Started in Horror Films with Pamela Kramer, Casting Director, Bradley Baron by Tony Nation

pamela kramerI recently had the pleasure of interviewing Pamela Kramer, Casting Director and owner of Bradley Baron, who has cast for film and TV as well as hundreds of commercials, industrials, and voice-overs.  Pamela recent film casting includes the independent film, “Torture Chamber”, scheduled for release in late 2012.  Currently, she’s in pre-production for TWO Horror films, a sci-fi/fantasy film called “Out of the Lantern” with award winning Director Peter Vinal and just finished casting for a new TV series called TAILGATE 48 on the Big 10 Network.

How did you get started in casting?

I’ve always had an eye for talent and one of my many strong points is that I can see the energy/aura around people. Therefore seeing their potential, not only for actors, but people from all walks of life.

I was teaching acting and wanted to offer opportunities for my students. So I went to the local cable networks in NJ and got them interested in using my actors in their local commercials. At the time, no one thought that cable would actually last, and well look at it now! From there I went to other producer’s and then to film producer’s, writer’s and before I knew it, it started to take on a life of it’s own.

I had at the time over 150 students and wanted to open up a variety of doors to help them gain experience.  Through some of the more well known Casting Directors of the time, I assisted with  background for major films & commercials. I was still young and not sure what was driving me, but I had many nights of no sleep from organizing the talent so they could gain experience. In actuality I lost money helping them. But those early days of figuring it out, help me to find my own passion into the casting world.

I cast for principals down the board now, except for Theater, to which I love deeply, since that is the roots of my beginnings.

How did you get started casting horror films?

Through my cable contacts I became friendly with several young filmmaker’s who were working at one of the local cable companies. I started working with them on low budget horror films and one film lead to another. 100 percent of all my work comes from word of mouth and I would get calls from people who had heard about me from other Directors or Producer’s.

It does pay to be a people person. Remembering a person’s name, being dependable and being of service to whatever situation might arise, get’s you noticed. Now I am not speaking about picking up trash……but I am speaking of being a team player and working to make the project work. Everything I do for my clients is for the benefit of their projects.  Loving the subject that your casting for, such as horror films, makes it that much more exciting. I grew up with horror films of all areas of the genre and being involved in that process brings your creativity to high speed.

What are some of your favorite horror films?

There are so many that I love! I love all the Hellraiser series of the 80’s, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, The Hand, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, the television series Dark Shadows. I would run home after school everyday to watch it.  Bloody Sunday, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Rosemary’s Baby…way too many to list all!

What are some of the skills that actors need to have for this medium?

Patience. Excitement for the genre. The openness to change and bend. Having the ability to work together for the best outcome of the film. On some of these low budget films you really do get your best training. Usually you have one or two takes, and then they move on. Many times the scripts are not well written, but you need to as the actor, make it work. On most sets, there are dialogue changes at the last minute, so you need to bend and go with it. Actors that pull prima donna moves, usually don’t get asked back. No one has time to cater to anyone’s ego. Especially when there is such a huge pool of talent that wants your role.

If an actor wants to get started in horror films, what are some of the things that they can do to move forward?

Go to the conventions like Chiller Theater. There you can meet the Directors & Producers in person and bring a business card with your picture on it. Producers/Directors quite often in low budget horror films will cast the actors themselves. This opens up opportunities that most actors would not ordinarily have.

If you’re interested in NY acting classes with Pamela, her next 4-Week Horror Film Class starts on Thursday, November 15th at 7pm.

6 Tips On How Actors Can Deal With Loneliness by Stan Popovich

Some actors and celebrities deal with loneliness when they are not in the spotlight. Here is a short list of techniques that actors can use so that the fear of being alone doesn’t become a major issue in their lives.

1.Find An Activity
Find an activity that you enjoy and where you can meet a lot of people. Lots of New York acting schools have short-run classes that you can enroll in. Doing something that you like to do will make you happy and will increase your chances of making friends.

2.Spend Time With Animals
Spending time with an animal or pet can help us to feel better. Animals can be of good company to all of us whether we are alone or not. There are many local shelters that could use your time and talents.

3. Helping Others
There are many people out there who could benefit from your time and skill sets. Helping others can give you a source of pride and accomplishment and also can lead to friendships.

4. It Could Be Worse
It isn’t fun being alone, but sometimes there are worse things. For instance, imagine that you are married or stuck in a relationship that you can’t get out of and also makes you miserable. As a result you are stuck living with someone that you can’t stand and makes you depressed. With this viewpoint, being alone doesn’t sound that bad.

5. Be Constructive
Sitting around and doing nothing will not make things any better whether it is dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Take it one day at a time and stay committed in trying to solve your problem.

6.  Things Can Change
Nothing remains the same forever. No one can predict the future with one hundred percent accuracy. Events change all of the time. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. You never know when the help and answers you are looking for will come to you.

Remember that everyone deals with loneliness sometime in their life. Focus on your life and don’t compare yourself to others.   If being alone bothers you then seeing a counselor can help you with these issues.


Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to:

Creating Your Film/TV Demo: It’s All About YOU!

by Tony Nation

Lately, the subject of an actor’s film and TV demo has been coming up over and over again.  From actors who I work with here at Actors Connection to currently re-editing my own.  It’s a tough subject as you can spend weeks trying to guess what the industry wants to see.  But in this day and age of technology, it’s all about selling what you do efficiently and effectively.  New York casting directors want to see film and TV demos. So what does an actor need in their demo and what should it say about you-the actor?

The first thing to remember is that you want to showcase your best work FIRST!  Why?  Well if an agent or casting director doesn’t like what they see they aren’t going to continue watching.  Pretty simple right?

Second, your demo is all about you.  This is your time to be selfish and to sell what you do in three minutes or less.  It’s not about other actors and their work, it’s about YOU!  These are your 3 minutes to shine and to spotlight your range and the types you play.  And speaking of time, your demo should not be longer than 3 and a half minutes.  You should be able to show everything that you do in that time using three to five scenes.

Third, you want to sell yourself as a leading player.  To sell yourself as a one line actor is not what you want to show on your demo as a lead in.  Save that for the middle of your demo to show that you’ve been on TV shows or films with stars and that we can trust you on set.  For your film/TV demo reel, you also do not want to use commercials or anything where you are not speaking.

Fourth, you want to make sure that we recognize you right off the bat.  From your headshot with contact information leading into your first scene, we need to identify you.  If you are disguised or we aren’t sure who you are in the scene from the get go, that isn’t the scene to begin with.  You never want to confuse your viewer.

Fifth, you want to use reel from actual projects.  For your demo, I don’t recommend using taped monologues or class work.  It’s just like headshots.  It’s all about quality.  Would you want to use a photograph for your acting business that was taken by your friend or mother in your backyard?  No, you want the best professional headshot that you can get as it represents you and your brand.  It’s what gets you in the door for auditions or meetings with agents.  It’s the same with your demo.  From showcasing it on your website to appearing on, you want to make sure that it’s all about YOU and marketing yourself well to your next buyer.

Sixth, how should your demo reel actually look?  Here are a couple of demo reels that I feel showcase the actor extremely well:

Demo Reel 1

Demo Reel 2

If you are looking for an editor for your Demo Reel, I recommend Todd Wall at Wall2WallProductions-he’s one of the best!

CD Jen Rudin Talks Casting Office Etiquette for Adults and Kids By Kelly Crisp

Jen RudinCasting offices can get crowded, especially with kids. Imagine a large group of children in a cramped space, waiting to be judged by strangers. Add strollers, siblings, gameboys, iPads, food, backpacks, and cell phones to the picture. Then imagine kids running lines and primping, preparing for their “big break.” Not to mention the chatter about who booked what job and the catch-up conversations between parents. Acting classes for children (let alone for adults) may not ever have covered audition etiquette.

Auditioning is part of life for a child performer. And it’s tough.

Jen Rudin, an award-winning casting director for film, television, animated movies, video games and theater, began her professional acting career at age eight. By twelve, she knew she wanted to be a casting director. Rudin believes in “creating an honest, positive, and comfortable audition environment.”

“It’s a very small world and certainly casting directors talk to agents and production managers,” says Rudin, who has spent much of her career casting for Disney and now works through her own agency, Jen Rudin Casting. Her work includes “The Princess and the Frog,” “Chicken Little,” “Meet the Robinsons,” and “The Incredibles.” Upcoming films include Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” and Peter Bogdanovich’s “Squirrels to the Nuts.”

Rudin views the waiting room as a professional workspace. “You may not think you are distracting [actors] but subconsciously you are shifting their focus away from their audition material and ultimately depleting their focus,” she says. “That can be really detrimental.” Rudin believes that casting office etiquette begins with kindness and respect. “As my father likes to say ‘All you have is your name, so leave a good name.’”

Casting kids means, to some extent, casting their parents as well, and Rudin looks for “good” people. “Be pleasant to the casting assistant in the waiting room because they are going to tell me anything wacky that happens,” she explains. “It’s their job. I hear plenty of stories. Sometimes I will love a kid and say to my assistant, ‘So, what happened in the waiting room today?’”

Rudin suggests that conversations, especially between families, be kept to a minimum. “There is nothing that another actor, or another mother, is going to say to you in the waiting room that is going to make you feel better at that moment,” she says. Any audition-related conversations with your child should take place once you leave the building and be limited to “Did you have a good time?” “Whatever you say in a public space could end up being overheard,” warns Rudin. “You never know who is in the elevator or in the toilet stall next to you.”

Shaking hands is one of Rudin’s pet peeves and strongly discourages the practice to prevent the spread of germs. “It’s bad enough I have to touch hundreds of resumes during the day. I don’t want to shake everybody’s hands,” she explains. “A kid should come in and be themselves. Shaking hands seems a little manufactured and a little artificial to me.”

Finally, Rudin adds, “Take it all with a grain of salt. You’ve got to go on a million auditions before you get something. If you can remember that, you are going to be a lot happier in the waiting room, and your child will give a better audition.”

Casting Office Etiquette Tips

Arriving at the Audition
Arrive 10 minutes before your appointment time. To ease overcrowding, don’t arrive too early or late.

Don’t bring strollers or siblings, especially toddlers.

Finish eating, drinking and attending to the bathroom before you arrive.

Come Prepared
Actors should prepare before they arrive. You can’t control the casting office environment and there are times when casting may run ahead of schedule.

Review the audition sides quietly without distracting others.

Be Quiet and Respectful
Do not speak with other actors. A simple hello is best.

Do not discuss industry business such as recent auditions and bookings.

Use of Electronics
Never play electronic games.

Headphone volume should be kept to a minimum.

Do not talk on cell phones. Place cell phones on silent.

Privacy Considerations
Don’t stalk the sign-in sheet. It can make others feel uncomfortable and lends itself to gossip.

Listening at the door is awkward for your child and others. You don’t want to be that parent.

The Audition
Be ready when your name is called.

Greet staff with a simple hello and be ready to slate. Allow staff to direct any small talk.

Do not shake hands with casting director or staff.

Parents should not go into the audition room with their child, regardless of their age. An important aspect of the audition is how confident a child feels in a room with strangers.

No tears. Reevaluate if your child does not enjoy auditioning.

Leave the room with a simple thank you and goodbye.

After the Audition
Don’t linger. Quietly collect your belongings and leave.

Do not discuss what took place during the audition until you are outside of the building.

Do not correspond with the casting through social media. Use a post card or email.

Be cautious about reading or sharing information about castings via the internet.

LOOKING YOUR BEST! with Brandi Washington

Brandi Washington is a makeup artist who learned the ropes from her mother at an early age. Brandi is pursuing a career in acting in New York City but feels that her creativity is too outrageous to put into only one craft. Since living in NYC Brandi has worked at Sephora where she learned how to apply makeup on different skin types, tones, and textures. After Sephora, Brandi started freelancing and doing makeup for local artists’ music videos, weddings, Independent movies, head shots for actors and fashion shows. Brandi loves applying makeup, because it allows her to create, and make others feel good while doing it.

1. How do you approach the “look” you’re going to give a client? Is there an initial consultation?

BRANDI:  Yes, there is an initial consultation either in person which is usually done for a bride to be. If I’m doing makeup for a photo shoot or video I will talk to the photographer or director to get their vision via phone or email. I’m usually told the theme or mood of the occasion, and then I go from there using my own creative expression. I stay within the guidelines that I’m given, but I like to add my own personality to my art as well.

2. Is there a standard when it comes to head shot make-up? Or make-up for auditions?

BRANDI:  The standard for head shot and audition makeup is to be as natural as possible. When you take your head shot you want it to look the way you look in person so the casting director will recognize you. When you enter the room to audition you want to look the way you look in your head shot for the same reason. They go hand in hand.

3. What are the key essentials a do-it-yourself-er would need to create the perfect look for head shots/auditioning?

BRANDI:  The key things you need to do make for your own head shots are an HD (High Definition) foundation that matches your skin; Natural lipstick or gloss (pinks & nudes); Soft blush that brings a pinch of color back to your face after your foundation application; Translucent setting powder to apply to your face after your done applying your makeup (the powder holds your makeup in place for the shoot); Mascara; A natural based  matte eye shadow (light brown, nude, pink) applied only to your eyelids; Soft pencil eyeliner (I prefer brown over black for a more natural look); Any basic brush set will get you started (foundation, blush, and eye shadow brushes are the most important). Things that also help is to clean, moisturize, and prime your face before you apply any makeup. Any primer that has oil control is best. You can find most of these products at any pharmacy in the makeup aisle or at Sephora. Also there are a host of Youtube tutorials to help you once you gather all of your supplies.

4. How cohesive should hair/fashion be with the make-up job?

BRANDI:  Your hair should be natural just like your makeup, and how you are on an average day in the city wearing it down in some pictures and up in others will showcase different features and give different looks for your head shots. Your clothing should be the same, nothing over the top, just relaxed and YOU. If you are going for more sophisticated roles, still pin up your hair in some and wear it down in others. Wear a nice blouse or dress shirt… whatever the role calls for, but remember to be natural in whatever you do.

5. Do you have any recommendations regarding make-up for men in head shots/auditions?

BRANDI:  My suggestion for men is to bring blotting papers to wipe the oil and sweat from their face during the shoot. Translucent powder does wonders for men as well. It just keeps the oil and shine under control. Wear your hair and facial hair according to the roles you are aiming for and be natural with your selections.

Contact Brandi at OR 646-351-7832

$50 Make Up Application for Headshots


CBS New York Names Actors Connection One of NYC’s Five Best Acting Studios!

Actors Connection is pleased to announce that we’ve just been named by CBS NY as one of the “Latest Best of New York: Best 5 Acting Classes”.  Check it out here. Thanks for recognizing our NY acting classes, CBS!

How to ACE an Audition By Daniel Lehman from BackStage

Casting director Sig De Miguel has cast dozens of independent and studio films, first with mentor Amanda Mackey and then as an independent casting director. He partnered with CD Stephen Vincent in 2006, and together the duo has cast more than 40 feature films including “Rabbit Hole,” “Holy Rollers,” “An Englishman in New York,” the 2011 Sundance hit “Gun Hill Road,” the new film “For Ellen” starring Paul Dano, and the upcoming “Affluenza.” De Miguel’s previous casting credits include “United 93,” “The Cooler,” “The Matador,” “A Love Song for Bobby Long,” and more.

Although he now specializes in casting independent films, De Miguel cautions, “Actors should not think in terms of studio films versus independent films versus episodic television versus theater versus commercials. They should aspire to be working actors and work in all mediums available to them. The reality is unless a project is doing a search for an unknown, most actors starting out are going to be considered for small roles and day players.”

We asked De Miguel for his advice regarding auditions, submissions, and acting résumés for those seeking to perform in NYC.

What should actors always remember to do when they walk into an audition room?
Sig De Miguel: The two most important things an actor should bring into the audition room are preparedness and professionalism. I always admire it when actors come into the audition with a strong knowledge of the text, a defined point of view on the material, and assertive, specific choices. Actors should try to approach the most truthful state of being of the character and since it’s usually done in a very short period of time, knowledge of the role and material, preparedness, and specificity are the actor’s best tools.

They should also know how to read an audition room. They should be able to gauge when a casting director is open to conversation or when they have to move quickly. If they have questions, they should be concise and they should be the type of questions that help inform the choices they are about to make. I also love it when an actor has a strong sense of their space and their frame on camera. Even if you have very little experience, learning audition technique and practice can make you come across like an old pro in the room.

And what are your audition pet peeves?
De Miguel: My biggest pet peeve nowadays is actors not bringing their sides to the audition. Because we are firmly in the digital age, a lot of actors are going through their lines on their iPads or phones, but they should always bring their sides to the audition. Somedays it’s like we are Kinkos! But seriously, when you are printing sides for 12 people, it becomes an annoyance. I also think that actors should always carry a couple of headshots with them, as you never know who might want an additional headshot.

What do you wish more actors knew about auditioning?
De Miguel: The main thing I want actors to know is that the power is in their hands. That might be a strange concept to understand, but they are the ones coming into the room and giving the auditions. There is nothing that makes me happier than when an actor comes in and blows me away with an audition. That is why we do our job. When someone walks into the room and does extraordinary work, our job is done. It is very rewarding to see that.

No one is going to do the rehearsal and preparation but you. No one is going to give the audition but you. That audition room is your room to shine. It’s your room to show your specialness. Actors who revel in that are the ones that succeed—the ones who enjoy and take command of the process. Unless you reach a certain echelon of the business, you are going to be auditioning for many years and the audition room needs to feel like home. Regardless of whether the audition room is big or small, whether you are auditioning for two people or 10 people, whether the casting director is warm and friendly or is rude, the great work must always remain the same. The only constant is you and your work in the audition room. It is your moment to seize.

How can actors get your attention, and how do you discover new talent?
De Miguel: Please never visit or call. You never know what is going on in a casting office on any given day. An actor could decide to stop by or call on a day where there is a very time sensitive deadline and things are very urgent. It would not be a good idea. In addition, think of the number of actors that live in New York and try to imagine just a hundredth of them calling every day. It would be chaos.

I strongly encourage specific self submissions, submitting for a specific project and role with a concise paragraph as to why they would be right for the role… By being specific and defined as to their type and skill is how actors tend to open their first doors. I’ve always been critical of actors who put 100 skills in the special skills section of their résumé. “Special skills” means just that—you are very knowledgeable and experienced at these skills. Too many actors put everything and the kitchen sink into this section, and it weakens it. Can you do a dialect listed on your résumé at the drop of a hat if asked by a director in an audition, and can you do it very well? If not, then you should take it off your résumé. Also don’t say you are fluent in a language if you are not truly fluent, because a director or producer could start speaking to you in the language.

How important is acting training on an actor’s résumé?
De Miguel: Education is important to me, whether it means having attended a theater school or currently studying with a teacher, taking a class, private coaching, etcetera. It doesn’t mean that you need to have attended the most renowned theater program in the country, but you should always strive to further your education. There are some great teachers and classes in the city and even successful, established actors continue to take classes.