How to Overcome “There are No Actors in Nevada”
“There is talent in Nevada, the problem is that all too often those who come in to cast to not see it, or it is buried in massive cattle calls of people with little or no training, models and glamour seekers” says casting director Bill Dance, “but what I know is that it is worth the looking and there are diamonds in this desert.”
“Sergeant Bilko”, “Indecent Exposure” and other Bill Dance cast projects that have filmed in Nevada employed many local actors and background extras. Dance’s credits include “Seabiscuit”, “Legally Blond II”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Bilko” and “Exposure”. Casting Director Bill Dance has returned many times to Las Vegas, and upon volunteers with the Nevada Screen Actors Guild Conservatory, where he shares his unique presentation on performance level auditioning.
“The line is not important, it’s what’s underneath it. Find the subtext, put life underneath even one line,” advises Dance, who is an actor, singer, dancer, writer as well as casting agent. “Start with being yourself and add the character to that foundation.”
Dance warns that your audition begins the moment the casting director or any member of their staff sets eyes on you.
“I watch people as they come in, catalog them and pretty much make my initial decisions long before the actual audition begins. My decision is made as you walk through the door, and usually before you ever open your mouth to speak. You can tell a great deal from the eyes, how you carry yourself, your gestures and physical type.”
When you prepare for an audition, remember, “they may not listen to the lines. They have heard them a thousand times before. The casting director and director will be looking at you, looking into your eyes, your soul.”
“Prepare before your audition. Do relaxation exercises, do whatever it takes to have your energy in the right place and focused. Energy gives life to what an actor does. Avoid negative energy, avoid negativity. Think and feel positive!”
“Young directors want a performance,” believes Dance “from the first moment they see you. They do not understand artistry and the building of a role. They will take the person who fits the role now, who is most prepared and who is ready to handle the job, now! Do your best work the first time, right there at the audition.”
Consider the audition to be your performance, the chance to “show your art form” and talent. The audition is where actors get to do what they live for, act. It should not be a test or a stress. An audition should be when you proudly showcase your best work and enjoy doing it.
Auditioning is part competition, part chance and part a numbers game. “There may be 500 actors right for each part. You have to keep on trying. The more you do, the better your odds become.”
Work your sides, work the script, do not just put in in a file and leave it there. If you have an opportunity to take the sides home and study them “live the sides” says Dance, “Study them, take them with you everywhere...because someone else is!”
Do not make the “obvious choice”, put a “human being” behind the character with a full life and a point of view.”
Get together with friends and simply have fun with the scripts. Work them until you feel you are comfortable doing them a variety of highly different ways and all of them work for you.
And finally, “Study. It does not matter who with, at first, just that you are doing the work and working at your craft, your art. Talent, time and dedication are what it takes to make an artist.”
Dance has developed an ongoing performance art play based on his own experience and observations titled “Mindgames”. His first love is and always will be the theater.