Audition Stories #1

Ryan Northcott Audition Stories 1

Audition Stories #1

Over the span of my 20+ year acting career I’ve gone in the auditioning room hundreds if not thousands of times. Some have been run of mill, some have been uneventful, while a few have etched themselves in my brain.

I’ll share some of some great audition stories…

“That was the best audition I’ve even seen”

In the early 2000s I lived and worked in Los Angeles and was represented by a great manager named Steven Himber and United Talent Agency. Looking back now, I’m blown away at the opportunity I had. Around the time I did The Beach Boys: An American Family I auditioned for one of the other mini-series that was nominated the same year we were.

My audition was for a large principal role, my first read with the casting director. I prepped the audition a few days before, had everything down, and was ready to go in. I should mention I was not terribly disciplined with auditions – I’d phone them in a bit. This one, I prepped hard.

I get into the room and do the audition…it’s a masterclass of acting (ha) and I feel really good about it. The casting director walks up to me and I can see tears in her eyes. She puts her hand on my shoulders and says, “That was the best audition I’ve ever seen.” At that point, as any actor would, I thought “I’ve got this role”.

No callback. Never heard a thing.

Just goes to show even the best audition in the world won’t get you the gig.

Going to “Network” & “Studio”

There were a few shows that I got really close to booking, one of those was “Smallville” way back in the day. Being a pretty “green” Los Angeles actor I didn’t quite grasp the enormity of going to Network and Studio. It’s basically the end of the road – you’re auditioning for execs and you’ve got a really good shot at booking the role.

It was an exhausting day – you typically do both back to back at different locations – and a few of the actors would chum around and chat. It was always pretty cordial.

I go in, in front of a lot of people, standing on a stage with one of the girls auditioning for the role of Louis Lane – I can’t remember who it was. Though I do remember Selma Blair being on the short list. We do our scenes, everything goes great, and I go home waiting for any word. It never came, obviously, but it was a spectacular experience, one I’ll always remember…almost getting the role of Lex Luthor.

“I’m terrible at auditioning”

My first audition for The Beach Boys: An American Family wasn’t so much as an audition, but more of a sit-down meeting with casting director Stacey Rosen. She was just awesome, we sat with a casting associate and shot the shit for what seemed like a couple hours.

I cringe at it now, but in that meeting I said to Stacey, “I’m terrible at auditioning.” Which, in effect, was true, but not because I was actually terrible, but rather I was terrible at audition prep. I just didn’t do it. Thankfully, Stacey didn’t take that to heart and brought me in to audition for Carl Wilson, one of the Beach Boys.

We did a few rounds of auditions for the Director, Jeff Bleckner, then producers, then a final audition where we (Matt Letscher, Fred Weller, Ned Vaughn, Nick Stibile, and myself)  lip-synced to a Beach Boys tune and were eventually all cast as the Beach Boys.

I got away with one there…lesson learned.

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Ryan Northcott

Ryan Northcott is a Canadian actor, producer, director, writer, and cinematographer living in Calgary, Alberta. He is co-founder of MEDIAPOP Films and continues to appear in film and television.

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