Hate auditioning? Think you’re terrible at them? You’re not alone. Actor Travis Fimmel, star of such shows as The Vikings and films like Warcraft, totally understands how you feel.
“I’m the worst auditioner ever known to man,” he tells Casting Networks. “I cannot get out in front of people to talk to them. I think it’s very terrifying.”
The one-time Calvin Klein model, who made his first foray into acting in the title role on the short-lived 2003 series Tarzan, says he’d “be happy never to audition” again. Luckily, it appears he’s now getting to that point in his career.
The Australian native currently stars in Ridley Scott’s new HBO Max sci-fi series Raised by Wolves, playing a high-ranking officer of an army fighting an intergalactic war between religious humans and atheist androids harboring human children. It’s a role that did not require him to audition.
“I was very fortunate with this,” he explains. “I got to meet with Ridley, we spoke for an hour and half, and then I pretty much signed the contract. His storyboards, the way he described the story and his vision for it was so seductive. There was no way I could say no. Working with Ridley Scott is an amazing experience.”
Fimmel says that due to his nerves during in-person auditions, he tends to do mostly self-tapes. He estimates that 95 percent of the acting jobs he’s earned came from this submission type.
“Everybody’s different,” he says. “For me, I can’t do a speech in front of anybody. I can’t even read out loud in a class because I get too nervous. I just want to get out of the room.”
The actor feels the best thing casting directors can do for actors who get nervous like him is to have a reader in the room who is an actual actor, not another associate.
“An actor reading with you can make you more comfortable because you can concentrate on a person who is not judging you,” Fimmel explains. “When you’re reading to a casting agent, sometimes you think, ‘Do they like me?’ ‘Do they like the way I’m reading to them?’ It’s helpful for me, as an actor, to have another actor there.”
Interestingly enough, Fimmel says he never gets nervous during shoots, because those around him are not necessarily focused on his acting on set. Even though they may be looking at him, they could be focused on his clothing, or a prop behind him, depending on what production department they work in. “But as soon as there is a live audience sitting in front of me, I crumble like a little child.”
However, he does credit certain casting directors in his career who have made the audition process bearable for him.
“There are a couple that I really love and who have been so great to me,” he says, citing casting director Mary Vernieu as one example. She cast Fimmel in 2016’s Warcraft and 2012’s The Baytown Outlaws.
“They understand you, they get what you’re good at, and get what you want to be. They understand your mentality and bring you in for the right stuff. They don’t force the wrong stuff.”