From Judd Apatow's MasterClass

Advice for Actors

Learn how to knock 'em dead in your next audition. Judd explains the essential dos and don'ts for actors who are trying out for roles.

Topics include: Show Enthusiasm About the Project • Be Comfortable as Yourself • Don’t Be Needy • Enjoy the Process of Auditioning • Stand Up for Yourself

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Learn how to knock 'em dead in your next audition. Judd explains the essential dos and don'ts for actors who are trying out for roles.

Topics include: Show Enthusiasm About the Project • Be Comfortable as Yourself • Don’t Be Needy • Enjoy the Process of Auditioning • Stand Up for Yourself

Judd Apatow

Teaches Comedy

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Preview

In every audition, you should appear like you like the project. Because you'd be surprised how many people come in and they seem like they don't even like the movie. I've had people come in and read and they seem kind of annoyed with the pages. That's not really the moment to tell people you have notes. You know, if you don't think it's great, they are not going to want you. They want someone that is so excited to do it. So maybe your best piece of acting will have to be, I think the script isn't shit. But you want to work with people who you think get you and are very enthusiastic about the material and about the potential for the movie or the TV show. And that seems like an obvious piece of advice, but it really comes across when this is your fifth audition of the day and you don't care that much. You know, when someone writes something they feel like, this is so special. Don't you think it's special? And if the other person's like, yeah, it's all right, you know, the writer's like, get the fuck out of here. [LAUGHS] So enthusiasm is also important. One other bit of advice I can give about casting is no matter what you're trying to do, you do come through. So what you're trying to accomplish when you walk in that room, in addition to doing your scene and doing your scene well, is being comfortable enough to be yourself. And if your main intention is to get across who you are, you have to like yourself. Because people who have some self-esteem-- and we're all struggling-- are able to walk in a room and say, this is me, because we can tell anyway. Whatever you are is coming through. And that relates to what I was talking to you before about Garry Shandling talking about how his intention was to just be Garry Shandling. And I think that is what you're trying to do when you walk in all those rooms is just go, yeah, this is me. I'm comfortable as me. Auditions are terrifying, and it's much better if you can find a way to get rid of as much of that fear as you can, if only because it is an obstacle to coming across. If we see a nervous person, we don't actually see the person that you are most of the rest of your life. We're getting a different version. It's like Jay Baruchel doesn't like roller coasters. And so if I say you have to go on this roller coaster, he might start crying. So imagine if you were introduced to Jay in front of a roller coaster. You'd go, oh Jay, the guy that cries, because you don't actually know who he is. You just know him in that situation where he's afraid. See how long a road I took you on a strange metaphor to make my point? Neediness is not helpful. You know the scared, needy, I need this job, you know, that I think-- is the word repulse, repulsive, repulses people? Is that too strong? Yeah, you don't want to seem like needy and desperate and, hey, how's it going? You have to find your grounded centered to talk to people. A lot of times people feel like there's a time limit and if they're...

Get serious about comedy

No joke: at age 15, Judd Apatow took a dishwashing job at a comedy club to watch the acts. Today, he’s the comedic genius behind hits including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, and Freaks and Geeks. In his first-ever online comedy class, the Emmy Award winner teaches you how to create hilarious storylines, write great stand-up, and direct movies that leave audiences laughing.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

It was thought provoking. I learned a bit about writing movies, which makes me feel more comfortable in working out my own scripts.

I am going to write GD jokes 😭 and stalk comedians at SNL. If I get arrested - please bail me out!

Judd was truly great. He effectively and persuasively covered seemingly every aspect of a career in comedy and made me look at the business and the art of comedy with fresh eyes. Yes, I will go write a joke right now.

I loved this class. I didn't only love it for the wisdom that Judd imparted, but I also loved it because it made me feel good, knowing that someone like him struggled a lot too. And it helped shine a light on this mysterious, impenetrable career.

Comments

EK T.

When an actor is great, I have a tendency to be intimidated by their work. I would probably cast them in a role that they may not be right for.

George C.

This whole piece could be from Judd's Apatow's self-help book for all of life's circumstances. The advice seems to me to be universal to nearly all situations. Have fun with it, assert yourself, be enthusiastic but not weird, indicate you know yourself and what you need to be of service, don't be needy or desperate, understand if this doesn't work out that it may lead to other situations that do work out, show people that you like them and what they are trying to accomplish, etc.

Ralph F.

This great advice for presenting yourself in any situation. And very relatable to doing stand up. I love listening to Judd and learning what goes on behind the scenes.

CLAU

I always get some advice from directors about my acting which is fine with me because I always want to get the best performance to the audience

Andre L.

Wow! Thant is the most valueable and concise advice I have received EVER! Love you Judd! Thx

Amy J.

My first Improv class was ridiculous. I have never been involved in any kind of acting, nor any kind of performance entertainment. The following class was canceled, I had time to think about my attitude, the ideas I gave to my classmates and instructor. It wasn't my best. Wasn't my worst either, no one cried. If I were a man, I would have little man syndrome on a high level. I'm little , feisty, mouthy and I stick up for myself. This week, class met again, and I killed it. I knew I didn't have to go in there in survival mode. This wasn't a Wyandotte County event. I didn't have to be anything other than me and I only hope I continue to get better. My first {audition} class was ridiculous, my second shot was ridiculously funny!

Mia S.

"You need to learn how to relax. How can you do that? Is there any trick to not being terrified? It's good to have some nerves, because sometimes that's the energy that sparks your interest - but you have to realize that you're going to go on an enormous amount of auditions and you're going to get almost none of them, and you have to enjoy the process of auditioning and the process of meeting people. A lot of times you go on an audition, you don't get it, but they like you, but not for that, and later they might go, 'You know, this person came in for something else, they're right for this.' You have to be aware that that's what's happening. People are judging you, but not just for that part. Now you're on the list for that casting director of people they like or people they don't like, they might decide they hate you. Try to do things where they won't hate you. [Kevin Hart], every audition, he's tried to have a great time, to connect with everyone, be real, and be himself. When I audition people, I expect them to have thought about it and worked on it. I'm not nuts where if they change a few words or it gets sloppy, I think that's a bad thing. I do want to feel like they cared about it. You should tell them, before you start, you want to do it a couple of times. I think you're allowed to do that. You could walk into an audition and say, 'I'm never good on the first one, so if you don't mind I'd like to do it two times.' Every time I think the casting director will say, 'Great.' It shows that you know how you work, and you're confident, and you have a sense of what's going to help you give them what they want. They ultimately want to see you do it great. I've had auditions where people come in, and they're just terrible on the first take, and then there's a minor talk about what to do, and the second take it's the best thing you've ever seen. It's important to stand up for yourself, if you think there's something the director can do for you, you're allowed to tell them."

Mia S.

"In every audition, you should appear like you like the project. You'd be surprised how many people come in and they seem like they don't even like the movie. I've had people come in and read, and they seem kind of annoyed with the pages. That's not really the moment to tell people you have notes. If you don't think it's great, they're not going to want you. They want someone that is so excited to do it, so maybe your best piece of acting will have to be, 'I think this script isn't shit.' But you want to work with people who you think get you,and are very enthusiastic about the material and about the potential for the movie or TV show. It really comes across when this is your fifth audition of the day,and you don't care that much. When someone writes something, they feel like, 'This is so special,' and if the other person's like, 'Yeah, it's all right,' the writer's like, 'Get the fuck outta here.' Enthusiasm is also important. No matter what you're trying to do,you do come through. What you're trying to accomplish when you walk in that room, in addition to doing your scene and doing your scene well, is to be yourself. If your main intention is to get across who you are, you have to like yourself, because people who have some self-esteem - and we're all struggling - are able to walk in a room and say, This is me, because we can tell anyway. Whatever you are is coming through. Just go, 'Yeah, this is me, I'm comfortable as me.' Auditions are terrifying; it's much better to find a way to get rid of as much of that fear as you can, if only because it is an obstacle to coming across. If we see a nervous person, we don't see the person that you are most of the rest of your life. We're getting a different version. Imagine if you're introduced to Jay in front of a roller coaster, you go, 'Oh Jay, the guy who cries.' You don't actually know who he is, you just know him in that situation, where he's afraid. Neediness is not helpful - the scared, needy, 'I need this job'- it repulses people. You don't want to seem desperate. You have to find your grounded center to talk to people. A lot of times people feel like there's a time limit, if you're only going to chat for 20 seconds I've gotta get certain things in, and sometimes I can get manic and nuts. The first thing you're acting, when you walk into an audition, is you're not desperate and hungry. You should look excited to be there, not too excited, and comfortable."

Tim T.

This is great advice even for writers too. Maybe you aren't fit for one project, but perhaps you are more fit for another.