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Aspiring stars travelling for auditions, delivering their best performances to impress casting directors, with dreams of launching a successful career in their trained art – it’s not just Hollywood, it’s National Internship Awareness Month.

Like the preceding, annual Academy Awards, National Internship Awareness Month recognizes and celebrates the benefits of auditions, reaped by both its employers and jobseekers. For the second year, NIAM aims to dispel myths surrounding internships to shine light on how unknowns can become stars. And because many casting directors have misconceptions about hosting auditions, NIAM also attempts to generate buzz on how they, through offering temporary tryouts, can find the right talent to produce a Best Picture nomination.

Casting directors may assume that auditions don’t attract performers who can provide insight into their customer base, a myth dispelled by Ayesha Zubair, formerly a recent graduate who now serves as an advisor.

They may assume auditions don’t attract performers with skills or leadership potential, a myth dispelled by Ian Kroetsch, a Canadian Armed Forces Reservist who has instructed more than 40 junior personnel.

They may assume auditions only attract local performers, a myth dispelled by Shaunelle Valley, an internationally qualified professional whose casting director was so impressed that he hired her before she arrived in the country.

They may assume auditions don’t attract performers willing to commit to future sequels, a myth dispelled by Matthew Devine, formerly a recent graduate whose character earned more screen time and a leading role, and now stars on the fourteenth season! (okay, we know, we’re switching from movies to TV…)

Actors also have misconceptions about auditions.

Career Edge’s Four Key Pillars for Success

Auditions aren’t exclusive to one demographic. Many casting departments open their Career Edge auditions to recently graduated actors, recently graduated actors with disabilities, actors recently immigrated to Canada, and actors serving as a Canadian Armed Forces Reservist.

Auditions aren’t only repetitive, meaningless tasks assigned without guidance or support. Many casting department offer Career Edge auditions that feature four key pillars: coaching/mentoring, work-integrated learning, industry knowledge transfer, and networking.

Auditions aren’t exclusive to one season or genre. Many casting departments offer Career Edge auditions across many fields and sectors, all year long for varying lengths.

Some casting directors extend their actor’s contract before giving them a full-time role. When actors aren’t extended, they include these related experiences on their resume to expand their portfolio, improving their chances of landing a full-time role elsewhere. In the last year, 78% of Career Edge actors secured a meaningful, permanent role in their trained art, within three months of completing their audition. Take Natalie Goldring’s story for example. After her nine-month audition, the casting department brought her back to play a supporting role for eleven sequels!

And most importantly, auditions aren’t exclusively unpaid. In fact, all Career Edge internships are paid.

Sarah Finn, the casting director for Black Panther (already regarded as one of the all-time best superhero films in its infancy) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (a Best Picture nominee), said,

“If a casting director’s job is done well, there’s an imperceptible melding of their choices with the director’s vision for the film. The actors are so perfectly suited, one cannot imagine anyone else in their roles. The whole becomes much greater than its individual parts, with each performance seamlessly integrating and igniting with the others. It’s almost as if the casting director never existed and the actors just magically appeared on screen, perfectly inhabiting and breathing life into their characters.”

NIAM has much more work ahead to catch up to the Oscars, but with a shared dedication to celebrating diversity, the ninetieth NIAM in April 2106 will shine an even brighter light on diversity, inclusion – and auditions.