How To Prep For The Fall TV Season

By Marci Liroff

If you’ve read my columns, you can probably tell I’m definitely a type A personality. I write a lot about doing research and diligent preparation for your upcoming auditions and jobs. In my article “How Keeping a Diary Can Help You Book the Job,” I talked about how noting your auditions and meetings in your diary–journal–Excel spreadsheet will help you keep track of all the folks you’ve met and see your career trajectory through the years in black and white.

Now that the fall TV season is upon us and it’s time to buckle down and start doing your research again. In order to get ahead of your competition, you need to see at least one or two episodes of every TV show that’s out there—including the new season.

When you get a last-minute audition, it would be smart to have already done your research on the show so that you can understand the world they’re creating, the tone of the show, and how you will fit into it. This way you can spend 100 percent of your time concentrating on the scenes you need to learn rather than catching up on episodes of the show.

I spoke to actor Jen Levin, who has a very precise way of doing her research.

“My process is to research like crazy! I print out the fall premiere dates (I almost always use TVLine). Then I see where I have room on my DVR to record those first few episodes of each new show. I also use Hulu to help out with watching all the new shows.

“When I’m watching a new show, I have a notebook or my iPad to take notes. I make notes on the major characters and their relationships to each other; what the tone of the show is like; the locations of the show (both the city and what sets seem to be used a lot); and finally, I use IMDb to make notes on the producers, directors, and casting directors. I keep those notes so if I get an audition for one of those new shows, I have a lot of my research already done. I also go through my contacts to see if I have met any of the team connected with the show. If I have, I typically send a little congrats note to them, saying how much I enjoyed their new show.

“I try to watch at least two episodes of each new show since many things can change from the pilot to the second episode. I just update my notes as I go along. And for any shows that become a part of my regular viewing, I’ll update those notes from time to time as well.

“I keep the notes on each show until the show is canceled. I’ve found these notes extremely helpful, especially when I have last-minute auditions. I think being prepared has helped me to stay calm at my auditions and focus on making the best impression that I can. This is a smart way for actors to prepare for the unknown. I’ve had same-day auditions where I’ve had an hour to get to the casting office. That isn’t enough time to Google a show and figure out the plot, characters, and tone.”

What about you? How do you research the new fall shows?

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

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