Casting tips: How to hold sides during an acting audition

Aaron Marcus is a full-time actor and commercial model who has worked for over 30 years and his new book, How to Become a Successful Actor and Model is an Amazon Best Seller. He has also delivered his seminar Book the Job over 600 times spanning three continents. Here Aaron offers great advice on how to hold sides during an audition, to Mandy News readers.

24th April 2018
/ By Aaron Marcus

Casting tips: How to hold sides during auditions with Aaron Marcus AARON MARCUS

There are many ways that actors hold their sides (the short portion of the script they are given by a casting director) during an audition. Many are good and many not so. Regardless of the way you're currently holding your sides, do definitely have them to hand!

Why hold sides?
Some actors always memorise their sides but, even if they have their lines locked, and actor should always have the sides in their hands in case they get stuck during a casting. We've all been there. If you think you have your lines down, and then for some reason, in the middle of a read, you go blank, it can be very hard to recover. You will simply be in a daze trying to regroup and remember your next lines. The best thing to do is learn the art of holding the sides properly, in a way that benefits you.

How to hold your sides during an audition
The first tip for holding sides during an audition is not to hold them down in your lap. When you head is down, the camera can't see your face. People want to see your face. They want to see your reaction. I hold my sides in my right hand at head height and shift them to the side of the camera. What that allows me to do is glance over to grab a few words. Of course, know the sides but this position allows you to take a sneaky look at the sides whenever you want without completely breaking your engagement with the camera.

If it's a commercial, you might be asked to look straight down the lens. If it's film or television you're auditioning for, never look into the lens of the camera. Normally you'll look camera left, or your right. I'll take a look, take a few words at a time and say what I need to say. That way it seems conversational. When you're talking to somebody you don't necessarily stare into their eyes for the entire time you're talking – that might be a little bit creepy. You talk to them, look away, talk to them some more and look away – that's how conversations work.

Also, don't worry too much about the sides being seen from time to time – as long as they're not covering your face, you'll be fine.

Watch Aaron's video on How to hold sides during an audition – with an example – below:

Check out Aaron Marcus's brilliant How to act and model website here.

Auditioning for a commercial soon? Check out our three tips on how to audition for commercials.