Kenyan casting director Gerald Langiri’s advice to actors

Gerald Langiri was one of the guest speakers and panelists at the 25th Edition of Cinema Alliance that took place this past Monday (3rd April 2017) at the French Cultural center auditorium (alliance Francaise). The event which takes place every 1st Monday of every month saw the topic of discussion being on the subject of Casting and who better to have in the panel other than this renowned casting director.

Gerald, other than being known for his acting prowess, is also known for his casting expertise with his resume ranging from casting for TV series, movies and infomercials. Some notable projects that credit Gerald as a casting director include; Going Bong (movie), Wazi Fm (movie), We are football (Barclays premier league Advert), Veve (movie), Facebook (Informercial) , Eat Fish Ad campaign (Informercial), The unprotected (movie), Top Actor Africa Season 2 (reality Show), BBC News Ad (informercial) among other projects.

During the event, Gerald made several key points as highlighted below;

  • “I dread auditions both as an actor and a casting director. I dread them as an actor because the thought of people judging my acting capability to see if I fit a role despite having my work out there for the whole world to see is nerve wrecking. I however understand why this sometimes has to happen even to the best of actors and there is no escaping it when I put on the casting directors cap. Sadly we can’t escape conducting auditions because it is simply one of the ways to get into the acting world. Do not however see auditions as a place of judgment but as another opportunity for you the actor to meet other people in the industry and another chance for you to showcase your skills”
  • Sadly, it is during auditions that you get to realize that there are very few exceptional actors out there. Out of say 1000 people, about 10 or 30 people will really impress you and stand out while a few are averagely good and a majority really bad. While you can see talent in some actors that is usually lost in the nervousness that many portray. There isn’t much time in that audition room and you will most likely have one take to make a good lasting impression. I advice actors to take time to learn how to audition and kill those nerves that will water down your performance. This takes a lot of practice, attending audition acting workshops, watching and reading tutorials etc.
  • After attending an audition, forget about it and move on to the next one. A lot of actors get depressed thinking whether they’ll get that call back and if it doesn’t come through, then it really puts them down and discourages them. Sometimes not getting a call back doesn’t mean the actor wasn’t good enough or talented, sometimes it can also mean that they either dint fit the role, there was someone much better, client changed the requirements last minute…among other reasons that could not entirely be the actors fault. So once you are done with an audition, forget it and do not make those many phone calls to the casting director to know whether they reached a decision on the actor or not either.
  • This is kind of obvious but you’d be surprised how many people will still not stick to this rule; KEEP TIME especially if allocated an audition time. If not, try coming in early for the audition. The Casting directors energy and patience is still high during the morning hours and as time goes by during the day, they being human do start getting tired and start rushing the audition process and not giving the actors who show up in the afternoon the much needed attention that is required. This of course is not a rule but do try to come in early for an audition.
  • Audition for roles that fit you. It is important for actor to know what their type is. This helps them know what auditions to attend and what characters to try out for. There is nothing as annoying for a casting director to get an actor in the room who doesn’t know what role they are in their to audition for or get an actor auditioning for a role that clearly doesn’t fit the character description put out. This is the rule but the exception to that is;
  • Go for as many auditions as possible. Yes, this could contradict the previous point but sometimes, I have cast people who showed up at auditions who did not fit any role set out but they were so good, I had to try and fit them somewhere or kept them in mind for a future project. Going for as many auditions as possible also helps you get used to the process and kill the nervousness.
  • Actors need to remember that the casting directors want the best for you the actor. They also have a job and reputation to maintain which is “He/she will get you the best cast” They are therefore people to not fear. They are human. They are there to get the best out of you by also directing you through it hence called casting directors.
  • Last but not least, auditions are not the only way to get into the film industry; I know I have cast actors based on watching their web series or funny videos online. Or through a film premier or networking event. So it is paramount for actors to be visible and put themselves out there where they can easily be spotted.

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