Chapter 20 of 32 from Judd Apatow

Advice for Actors

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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

Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy

Judd Apatow teaches you how to write, direct, produce, and perform comedy for film and television.

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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 class, the Emmy Award winner teaches you how to create hilarious storylines, write great stand-up, and direct comedies that leave audiences laughing.

Learn Judd’s creative process through case studies, scene deconstructions, and practical insight in 32 on-demand video lessons.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Judd will also answer select student questions.

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Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy