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Are AUDITIONS the ONLY 'Yard Stick' that should be used to determine an actor's inclusion in, or exclusion from, a film project.....? This is a question that I've always asked myself and wondered about 'Loudly' and shared with some players in the Kenyan Film Industry.

Shouldn't an actor's acting experience count when casting them? Given their proven delivery ability, they can, and shall, deliver on, and execute the role as required?

I ask this because for a long time I've seen talented folks miss out on roles simply because they 'FAILED' an audition. This basically means, they failed to ‘IMPRESS’ the Director/Casting Director/Producer at that particular time.

Personally, I DON'T PERFORM IMPRESSIVELY AT AUDITIONS and I think I've lost numerous acting opportunities because of this fact. I however say, without fear of contradiction that I have ALWAYS DELIVERED 110% ON THE ROLES THAT I'VE BEEN ASSIGNED IN VARIOUS FILMS by trusting directors.
The truth is some of us may, sometime, simply NOT BE ABLE TO PASS 'EXAMS/INTERVIEWS' but, given THE REAL CHANCE/JOB, we perform better and with determination, surpassing our directors wildest imaginations.

I am NO expert thus, I can't pretend to explain why auditions might be an 'uphill task' for some of us, but from the very nature of auditions, TWO SCENARIOS emerge that may incline one to wonder if indeed, it is possible to give an extremely brief but impressive performance.

SCENARIO 1: Most folks freak out when in front of (most times) a 'Strange Panel' of people whom, for example, an individual has always been looking up to. E.g. an 18year old girl straight from High School has always admired the achievements Lizz Njagah has attained over the years and has been imagining how they would ever achieve the same.  This girl goes for an audition and finds Lizz as the lead panelist in an audition. She may be bound to freak out and lose composure during their audition, thus losing out on a role.

SCENARIO 2: I believe I fall here. At any audition one is presented with a piece/side/part that they should either read at the audition in a performance fashion or in most cases internalize the lines and character/role before 'presenting' the performance to the casting panel. Either way, the piece is normally too brief, given a few minutes before the audition and lacks any information that builds up to the piece an “auditionee” has been presented with. I understand that due to time constraints at any audition, this is how audition pieces should be. However, as much as my concern is NOT about 'How auditions are carried out', I can’t help but wonder if it is indeed possible, to perform at an audition, and execute the role as perfectly as is always required by the casting director within That SHORT TIME and WITHOUT PROPER SCRIPT/CHARACTER BACKGROUND or BUILD-UP!

THUS, my question remains: Shouldn't an actor's proven-acting experience count even if they happen to 'FAIL'/ not impress at an audition?
This article assumes that the actor in question has all the other factors (Age, Physique, Appearance, Diction...wide acting experience... et al!) and has presented themselves at the audition in person.

What are your thoughts?

By Odek Ochung

Odek Ochung is an accomplished performer (Actor, Singer & Dancer) with experience spanning Thirteen years!

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