Terminology Tuesday – Studio/Network Test

Anyone here actually miss testing in-person for a pilot? …Anyone?

Well, ok, while getting to the studio or network test portion is usually a GOOD thing, it can also feel pretty daunting. 

Let’s power through the testing process to help you understand what it’s about, why execs do them, and how to nail your pilot test. 

What is exactly is a studio or network test?

A studio/network test is essentially the “last” audition in the casting process for a pilot. It’s like a fancy callback but with more people, less actors involved, and even some pre-negotiating. 

Yup—before you even walk in that room, your agent has pre-negotiated your rate should you get the job (known as a test deal). 

Not every studio/network does tests for pilots. But if one entity wants to test, generally the other will follow suit. That means 2 tests (one for the studio and one for the network—unless the studio is also network, which is a thing. That’s a whole other Term Tuesday). 

What to expect:

Walking into a test can feel daunting at first but it helps to know what to expect. Don’t expect a similar-sized crowd to an episodic callback. Expect a decent-sized audience. Don’t feel pressured to know everyone in the room, however your agent will likely supply you with that information ahead of time. As long as you know the key players: CD, director & showrunner, that is far more important. 

Before the test:

Before the test, we’ll do everything in our power to help you get the job. Usually that includes one or more “work sessions” where the CD and/or director will work with you to get the scene worked as thoroughly as possible. Take. Advantage. Of. This. Time. Ask questions, explore, see what works/what doesn’t. Don’t hold back. This time is specifically for YOU. 

After the test:

Unfortunately, you won’t be walking away tearing up those sides just yet. You’ll need to park yourself in the waiting room to see what else we might need from you. You might go back in for an adjustment or you might be sent home. Don’t. Overthink. This. I can’t tell you how many times the actor who was sent home early ended up getting the role. Trust yourself and process. 

Try not to panic (easier said than done?) Remind yourself of the facts:

1. Everyone in that room wants you to succeed.

2. Everyone in that room wants to HAVE FUN.

3. Your life is not in danger.

4. We are just people at work trying our best, just like you.

5. The lack of response/comments/direction is not tied to lack of performance. Tests can take HOURS and these people are exhausted and probably stressed (it’s a pilot after all). Expect little reaction and think of anything else as a bonus.

#themoreyouknow #thecastingdirectorscut #terminologytuesday #actorlife

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