Terry Berlandby Casting Director, Terry Berland

Does the responsibility of acting scare you?

The other day I walked into the audition room while my session director was in the process of directing someone.  The actor was charming, loose, and funny and said, “now I’m nervous that you’re in the room.” We both laughed and I said, “you’re kidding,” and the audition proceeded on its course.  And I might add, went very well. This actor was a top-notch talent.

Since I write these articles, I’m always on the lookout for new material to write about.  When she said that to me, something inside me jolted a bit.  How interesting, that the very person who called her in, who is her biggest advocate, made her nervous.

I would like to eliminate that nervousness in all of you.  I (speaking for all casting directors) am your advocate.  I/we are not looking at you with a critical eye.  I will venture to say all casting directors feel the same way.  I know too many personally and have been on many panels with other industry people to assure you this is true.

The question is, what raises the stakes for you and what makes you nervous. What throws off your game?  What gets in your way?

Maybe you feel pressure by being counted on? Let’s have some fun with this!  I’ll give you a fact that might really scare you.

You have a very big responsibility as an actor!  People are counting on you, and here is a list of some of them.

    • The casting director-  is a bad casting director if you do a bad job.
    • Your agent-  looks bad if you don’t give a good audition and they make no money until you book.
    • Your manager- looks bad if they are representing a talent who does not know their craft; and they will also make no money.
    • The session director- looks bad if they can’t direct you.
    • The Producer- wants the person who just entered the room to do a good job.
    • The Director- wants you to do a good job.

And the pressure mounts:

    • The entire commercial shoot will fall apart if you don’t do a good job on set.
    • The client won’t have a good spot.
    • The ad agency could lose the account.
    • Many people at the ad agency will lose their jobs if the account is lost…You have the ability to stress out a lot of people.

Want to get extra scared?  Be in a play…that’s live folks.  Forget a line, someone else forgets their line or a prop is missing that is essential to the scene.

No, no, no…on the contrary, this does not scare real actors.  A good stage actor laughs at this and says calmly “It’s part of the game.  It’s fun.  It’s going to happen and you work around it when it does.”

You are either feeling so scared now you will leave acting because it is too much of a responsibility, OR you feel very good knowing you have such a big responsibility.

I know my readers,  I know you have fun doing what you do.  You are living a life of your choice.  You are smart and you work out in class.  You love working out the kinks–getting better and better.  You love getting deeper, peeling away the layers.

YOU are on top of your game.  Responsibility does not scare YOU away.


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Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voice-over, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development and is the co-author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.

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