2 years ago, I self published a book, “How To Run Auditions” which is available for purchase all over. It’s really a guide for film students on running effortless and efficient auditions. Today, I was asked the question, “How would you suggest that I handle an ‘ensemble’ audition. I have a number of people whom I think would do well individually as actors and actresses, but I’m not too sure how to find out if they would work well together. For ‘ensemble’ think of series like ‘diGrassi, East Side Kids, etc.’”
I thought that was a really interesting question, and perhaps you, also have that question. So here was my answer:
Partially, it depends on the type of project you’re doing. I think there are many options, here are a few ideas that come to mind:
1)If there’s a script with a scene that has lots of characters talking, then have a call back and use that scene. You can at least see if people look good together and hear how their timing is compatible to each other.
2)Play some sort of theater game with a group of people. An improve game (I can suggest a few if need be) that would use several people. But not everyone may feel comfortable in that situation, so it’s risky. Even Charades or Celebrity can show how people get along with eacher, listen and pay attention, and how creative they are. Or perhaps you know some fun games that get people interacting with each other.
3) There’s the Chorus Line option. Gather everyone, sit around in a circle, give each person 2 minutes to talk about themselves, and then open up for a discussion. Might be time consuming, but might be really interesting!
Also, depending on the project you’re casting, check the background/training section of each person’s resume. There may be overlaps from resume to resume that will give you an idea of how each person’s process will be.
The main thing is, talk to each person auditioning. Get a sense of what they are like as a person. If YOU like them and want to work with them, that’s really what matters. You’re in charge anyway and will set the tone of the working atmosphere. As long as everyone is respectful, responsible, and hopefully fun, then you shouldn’t have any major issues. Good luck!
Readers? Ideas? Questions?