Aspiring actors listen up! This piece of advice is for you.
Do not walk into your audition holding the script. It’s an immediate, “No.” But don’t take our word for it, this advice is straight from Scrubs’ actor Zach Braff.
“Listen you actors, as someone who is more often a director these days,” said Braff on his podcast Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald. “If you’re trying to audition and you don’t have that stuff memorized and you’re looking down at your page, you don’t have a shot in hell.”
Being "off book," or not needing a script for a rehearsal/audition, is something his former partner Florence Pugh swore on. Braff recalled that Pugh’s auditioning advice was always be "off book."
“I have to give Florence a shoutout for this because she’s a better actress than I am,” he said. “She goes, ‘I just can’t be present. If there is a part of me that knows I have that crutch there and I can look down, I am not present in the scene enough to perform.”
“And that is coming from an academy award nominated actress,” said cohost Donald Faison. “So uh, I am going to be listening to that.”
Braff said that as a director, actors who come into audition without their scripts are more present. Those who come in looking down at their scripts during their audition don’t stand a chance. But sometimes, the casting decisions have nothing to do with performance, but rather with appearance.
“You could literally walk in and be the best actor for the part, but you look too much like somebody else,” Braff said. “Or you are too old, or too young, or we just cast the father and you look nothing like him. There’s so many... variables. All you can do is go in and crush and do your best.”
In the end, it all boils down to being prepared. As both actors point out, it's impossible to control every part of an audition other than your own performance. Assume that the person who came in before you, and the one behind you memorized everything.
Check out “My Identity Crisis” to hear the full conversation as well as a breakdown of the Scrubs’ episode of the same name. Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald is working its way through the seventh season of the medical comedy, find it on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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