By some MTA miracle, you arrive at Pearl early for your appointment. You give a glorious audition, and you don't have to be at work until 6:30. You're debating your movie options until you see someone you know down the hall auditioning for... a show you'd be perfect for. Do you try to crash? Or do you blow it off for the latest Star Wars?
Crashing an audition requires one thing: balls.
Despite the epic odds against us, most of us don't want to be perceived as pushy. Or rude. We're afraid crashing an audition will piss casting off, and that it will come back to bite us in the ass in some way. We forget that what casting's looking for is someone who's perfect for the show. Now, if you crash an audition and you aren't, the casting director will be annoyed. But if you're perfect for it, why not? Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. The worst they can say is no.
Here's what you do.
Linger on the edges of the audition space, chatting with your friend, eyeing the competition, and figuring out who's in charge. When the moment comes, strike! Maybe the monitor is waiting for someone who is late. Maybe someone is taking forever digging out their materials. Whatever. Sidle over to him or her and say something like, "Hi, I'm Bill. Is there any chance I could get seen for this if there's time?" If the casting director knows you, mention him or her by name. "Could you ask Gayle if she'll see me for this?" If you have any credits that distinguish you from the competition, mention it. Be shameless. For example, "I'm not sure if my agent submitted me, but I've played Eliza Dolittle three times." Or "I know insert director's name from a season at Sacramento Music Circus. Is he in the room?"
Most of the time the monitor will trot your headshot into the room and come back with an answer. Here's what you will most likely hear, from best to worst case scenarios.
1. "Sure! We can see you right now if you're ready." WIN
2. "Do you mind waiting? If things slow down, they'd love to see you." WIN
3. "They don't think they'll have time today, but they'll hang on to your headshot." Whenever I've been told that, I've gotten an appointment the next day, or maybe gone straight to callbacks. Then I can watch Star Wars AND audition. WIN/WIN
4. "We're in callbacks already." Hopefully this is something you've ascertained from lingering outside the audition room. It's also possible the monitor is lying to you to get you to leave. I would only push it if it's a show you know really well and could do the material cold. Then you say, "Oh, I just closed this show three weeks ago in the title role. I already know the scenes and songs." The monitor may go in and come back with the go-ahead (WIN), or come back and say no (LOSS). In either case, say thank you.
5. "They don't think they'll have time today/They're only seeing people with appointments, sorry." LOSS. Okay, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So in just about every scenario, I'd say crash. Sometimes you have to bang down your own doors.
However, there is one important crashing rule that will separate you from everyone else, and prevent the casting director thinking of you as a pain in the ass. Always, always follow up with a thank you note, whether you were seen or not. Say something along the lines of "Thank you so much for your consideration for X project at Pearl Studios on Y date. I'm passionate about the show, and I know that role well. Please consider me for future productions. I hope to see you again soon." And the next time the CD is casting that show, maybe you'll get a traditional appointment.
Whenever I've crashed, I've gotten at least a callback, or been called in for another show in the season. If you do it right-- be assertive, but not aggressive; be polite, but not slimy-- you could find yourself cast! What have you got to lose?