CAZT - An Actor's Friend

If you've pursued acting in LA for any amount of time, I'm sure you've come across CAZT Casting. Hell, I'm sure you've auditioned there a number of times. It's a cozy little building hidden away off of La Brea with nice couches, offering the same mind f*ck that every other casting agency offers. That's pretty much what auditions are right? Mind f*cks?

As an actor with any type of normal psyche, how are you expected to prepare these pieces on such short notice, pump yourself up, deal with the rejection, and then completely forget about it minutes later? Not only does auditioning take its toll emotionally, but the process itself is practically the antithesis of everything actors consider acting! "What do you mean, Conrad", you may be asking yourself. You ask great questions! Allow me to elaborate.

In ACTING, an actor usually does extensive research to understand the character's psyche, emotions, and the motivation of what's driving him/her to their ultimate goal. One of the most basic ways of doing this (and usually the FIRST thing) is by reading the WHOLE script to get a sense of perspective. In AUDITIONING, you're given ONE scene, if that, and less than 24 hours, if that, to become a character whom you have no knowledge about.

In ACTING, it's ALL about listening, responding, and going off of what the other person in the scene is giving you. In AUDITIONING, you're acting across a monotone script reader who could care less to even give you any inflection, let alone an emotion, yet you're expected to ignore that lack of energy and "act".

I do understand that this is all due to time constraints and the number of people they're seeing but from the actor's point of view, everything about this process is nerve racking and awkward and it's so refreshing that an agency like CAZT Casting has a little feature that actually HELPS an actor grow.

I'm sure many of the actors reading this have heard of the feature CAZT has on their website that allows you to view back your audition tapes. Like many, when I first heard of this I thought it was pretty cool but when you actually use it, you realize how invaluable this feature is. If you're an actor, I'm sure you know how much it sucks going home after an audition not knowing how you did, if they liked you, what didn't they like, etc. With CAZT, not only do you get to see how you did and how you looked to the CDs, but you also get their actual feedback and the great thing is only you can see it.

Some of you are probably saying "But as an actor, you should be practicing and putting yourself on tape anyway." To which I say, yes that's true but we all know that auditioning is a completely different beast from being alone in the comfort of your living room with a Flip on a tripod. I only have a couple of auditions up but when I watched them back (especially one in particular), I was like "Good God! I was horrendous!!". But despite the pain that it caused me to watch it, I got to see how my energy, gestures and emotions translated and what I need to work on and I truly wish that all casting agencies had features like this.

Which brings me to the only negative I could think of which is, of course, the fee it costs to view your auditions. While it isn't much ($14.99/mo), as a "struggling" actor, you're very cautious as to where all your money goes and between rent, utilities, food, student loans, and other online casting sites, having one more thing to pay a month may cause you to wince a bit.

As helpful as the feature to watch your auditions is, you'll have to decide for yourself if it's worth the money because at the end of the day, that's the main feature you'll be paying for. Sure you also have the option to create a profile and submit to their online list of Los Angeles auditions, and sure, they'll email you directly when there's new roles to be auditioned for, but if you've heard of CAZT, then chances are you're signed up with LA Casting or Actor's Access and already receive most of their breakdowns and submit online through that. But if you don't mind the extra monthly overhead (and yes it gets cheaper if you pay quarterly/half a year) and you get a good amount of auditions through CAZT then I highly recommend you sign up!

I can't promise you'll be a better actor if you sign up, but I can say that it will provide enlightenment and a bit of perspective and light in an otherwise dark process. I definitely will be taking advantage of this feature to make myself better! Happy Auditioning!!