Also known as a read-through, a table read is an organized reading of the screenplay or script by actors in a production.
In addition to the cast, table reads are usually attended by studio/network executives, producers, heads of department, writers, directors, among others. It’s the first time everyone will be able to hear the script aloud for the first time. Because of this, table reads are extremely helpful for the writer(s) to identify problem areas in the script.
Some differences in TV vs. film table reads include:
· Additional attendees may include the film’s principal financiers
· It’s usually the first time everyone involved will have gathered together
· Usually a slightly “bigger” event & might even be recorded
· Not every show holds table reads. Table reads are largely based on 1) showrunner preference & availability and 2) shooting location
· There is a sense of “family” in the room (most people know each other already)
· They go by MUCH quicker as TV table reads are typically held during cast/crew lunch
Now here comes the important part.
Over the years, table reads have garnered a bit of a “scary reputation” in terms of it being a second or third audition. Meaning, you have an off-day, and you’re out. Closed deal-shmosed deal.
While some of the stories ARE true (actors HAVE lost jobs from table read performances), it’s also pretty rare.
Remember: no one WANTS to see an actor fail or lose a job.
And if someone expresses concern, it starts with a conversation (usually with us). At that point, we’ll either advocate for you by explaining anything we know about your current situation or we’ll do some further investigation and talk to a few other CDs who have recently hired you. By that point, usually, the worry has faded.
If not, a whole lotta people have to be on board with a re-cast. And if their day 1 is tomorrow? Guess what, probably ain’t happening.
This is not to say that it doesn’t happen. It has and it can. But it’s generally pretty easy to avoid a situation like this.
Here’s the lowdown:
The majority of people in the room haven’t seen your audition and likely don’t know who you are.
—> 𝕋𝕙𝕖𝕪 𝕒𝕣𝕖 𝕝𝕠𝕠𝕜𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕒𝕔𝕥𝕠𝕣 𝕨𝕙𝕠𝕤𝕖 𝕒𝕦𝕕𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟 𝕨𝕠𝕟 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕪𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕠𝕧𝕖𝕣 <—
NOT the actor who nailed the audition and then came in reading the script like it’s a grocery list.
Point is: bring the same energy you brought in the room or in your self-tape and you’re golden.
And before you go into a table read thinking it’s another audition, remind yourself: 𝕐𝕠𝕦’𝕧𝕖 𝕒𝕝𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕕𝕪 𝕨𝕠𝕟.
Now you get to play. Create. Discover.
Enjoy it. And likely everyone else will enjoy you too.
#themoreyouknow #TheCastingDirectorsCut #terminologytuesday