Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston believes it’s a must for actors to embrace the art of auditioning. He says, “If you love to act, this is the test. If you say, ‘No, I hate auditioning,’ why? It’s an opportunity for you to act, so are you not telling the truth when you say you are in love with acting?”
To him, every character is an integral part of a production and every audition is an opportunity to learn. “When I look back at auditioning, I [remember that I] always looked forward to them. It’s a chance to perform and to stay sharp and come up with a character that serves the text but also is interesting. But if you’re doing Clerk No. 2 and the line is, ‘Here’s your key sir,’ you don’t want to make it too interesting because then you’re distracting from the story. Your aim is to be honest so if it’s simple, keep it simple and learn from that.”
Cranston especially loves theatre. “You get to convey a full beginning, middle, and end to your audience,” he explains. “What I want to do, and what I want our company to do, is to be on our toes, to lean into the play, be slightly ahead of it and present it to the audience, not prematurely, but at just the right time. That takes energy and that takes rest.”
With each new opportunity that comes his way, Cranston relies on the same go-tos. “There are things that I look for when I look to develop a character; I call it ‘the Big Five,’” he says. “What is your strength? What is your weakness? What is your ambition? What is your fear? And what is your secret?”
And, because he believes much of what leads to booking work is not in the actor’s control, it’s all that much more important to embrace the things that are.
“Be on time, have a good attitude, deliver your job, be responsible, and try to make friends of those people who may hire you,” he said. “Send a personalized note to the casting director and say, ‘I just want to say thank you. I appreciate it.’ It matters, it makes sense. You should manage whatever you are in control of – your audition, your thank yous, your personal contacts, you’re keeping up with people. You need to manage that and manage it well. You are your business – and you need to tend to your business.”