Whenever I have auditioned for a film/TV or a commercial, I am always very familiar with the words, but only on rare occasions will I have them memorized. In most situations, I will have the words memorized for a call back, and certainly have them committed to memory for the job.
I just had a chance to sit and talk with a manager and a casting director who are based in L.A. The manager works with some really successful actors and the casting director is currently casting a kids, TV show. They both said the same thing to me. If the actor is given the script a few days prior to the audition, they are expected to have it memorized. I was really surprised.
So now I know, if I am ever auditioning for a project that is being cast on the West Coast, I will do my best to have the lines memorized for the taping. For projects being cast in other locations, I would recommend you ask your agent to see if the lines need to be memorized for the audition.
After 25 plus years in the business, I am still learning new things all the time.
I am the type of person who likes to arrange things way in advance. If I know I am giving a workshop in a distant city, I like booking my flight and hotel a few months in advance. I love getting details out of the way, so I can stop thinking about them and concentrate on new things.
Like many people, I am filled with contradictions. In the acting and modeling world, I rarely get to experience arrangements and details that are given to me long in advance. Unless you are a pretty well known talent, and a project is written and produced around you, we are some of the last people who get the necessary information. I have learned to accept the pecking order and understand how this business works. For example:
I got a call from a New York agent to find out if I was available on certain dates to do a print job. I told him I was available. They were also considering a few other models. Then I got a phone call about those dates changing, and was asked about availability for other dates. Finally, I was confirmed for the booking, but was told that since we were shooting outside, the date would change if we had bad weather. So, the day before the shoot, I found out the weather was good, and we were on for the next day.
The day before the shoot I found out my call time was in NY. I live in Maryland, so now I scrambling to figure out where I am going to stay that evening. If I needed to look really tired and have circles under my eyes, I would have considered driving up at But, for this shoot I needed to look alive and healthy, I knew that I had to sleep within an hour of N.Y. I jumped through that hurdle and found a place to stay.
Now things got trickier. Since I was going to drive directly to the park in Brooklyn, I would not have to meet the mobile home in NY. The mobile home was picking up the other model, stylist and makeup artist, and driving them to the set. The mobile home was also going to be used as our holding area and transportation around the park for the different shots. I had to find everyone at the park at I learned that the park is huge, like Central Park, and finding them would not be as easy as I thought. So now I am the phone with the park people and their web site to get directions to the specific entrance where the mobile home was going to be parked. Fortunately, I had cell phone numbers for both the stylist (who was on the mobile home), and the photographer who was also driving to the park.
Because I always give myself plenty of time to get to a set, I actually wound up getting to the park at and sat in my car. When I did not see the mobile home by I decided to call the stylist, just to make sure I was not in the wrong area. The mobile home was running late.
As it turned out, the shoot was incredible; and I had such a fun time shooting until , After the shoot, I drove straight home, and slept very well that night.
The point is, in this business, you have to be ready for anything, be flexible, and understand there are many people who make decisions on projects. When things change, just keep in the back of your mind, that as crazy as our lives get sometimes, this is the way the acting and modeling industry works, and you simply have to learn to go with the flow.