The Competitive Edge: A Good Disposition

Do you have the important trait that will make you stand out?

In my book Breaking Into Commercials I list seven elements that give you the competitive edge.

  • Know The Technique
  • Maintain a Positive Attitude
  • Always Expect The Unexpected
  • Expect to be Put at a Disadvantage
  • Be Flexible
  • Convey a Feeling of Intelligence
  • Give The Feeling That You Have an Unending Well of Creativity.
  • As an actor auditioning, these are common occurrences you come up against every day that you have to come to terms with.

How you deal with these everyday audition occurrences can be frustrating hard work. However, once you understand and control these elements and figure out how to eliminate the frustration, the happier you’ll be and the better you will audition. Not surprising, you will gravitate towards positive situations and opportunities.

Recently, I realized there is one quality that is the result of handling all of the above that makes an actor most impressive to me, a casting director…and that is HAVING A GOOD DISPOSITION.

The definition of “disposition” is: the predominant or prevailing tendency of one’s spirits; natural mental and emotional outlook or mood; characteristic attitude.

I expect an actor to be good at his craft and audition well. Beyond that, I recently realized the final element of an actor standing out is having a good disposition; it is the icing on the cake.


  1. Waiting patiently in the waiting room and understanding if things are a little backed up. (Granted, I have seen waiting rooms where it is apparent whoever scheduled that casting session does not know what she/he is doing. There is no excuse for forty or fifty people waiting. Okay, that is frustrating and just wrong.)
  2. Feeling appreciative
  3. Being nice to everyone in the audition process
  4. Not bringing complicated “baggage” into the audition room.

In addition, I’m impressed with talent who:

  1. Arrive at the audition in a good mood, audition, and leave in a good mood.
  2. Love working out in their acting classes. I respect actors who come and study with me in my commercial acting workshop or any other workshop. I experience actors showing up to class excited, anxious to learn, hone, and improve in their craft.
  3. Appreciate their agents.
  4. Appreciate avails and bookings.
  5. Don’t get overly bummed out being released from an avail; letting go of disappointment in minutes.
  6. Participate in theatre. I go to theatre all the time and love the buzz and happiness of the actors when we all meet in the common areas after the performance.
  7. Believe in what they are doing and send out emails to market the plays they are in. Who market themselves with genuine conviction that their performance is good.

An appreciation for and liking what you do is attractive and appealing.

WHEN SETTING UP AN AUDITION, I go through the process of first finding an actor who looks right for the part, then assess their acting chops for the particular role. Then, when I go to click on the “yes” to move that talent into the schedule, my final thought is “good guy, good disposition.”

Look at yourself starting out the new year. Are you an actor with a good disposition?


Any reproduction or usage of this article on other websites must be credited to Terry Berland, Casting Director and linked back to here.

Sign up for the Berland Casting newsletter or to communicate any subjects you would like covered. Click here for more info on Terry’s workshops.

Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voice-over, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has lent to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development and is the co-author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”




  1. Terry, I agree with you that a good disposition is imperative for any situation. I live by the adage “To get a friend, you’ve got to be one.” Last April I was booked for a photo shoot where I knew nary a soul, but fortunately it was a friendly crowd and it wasn’t long before we were all old friends. When two gals heard that I previously worked as a production assistant on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show at Walt Disney’s, soon many wanted to know if I knew Annette Funicello, which I did, and even had dinner at her parent’s home one night. I was also the studio liaison for the Musketeers’ PR appearances. For that assignment a good disposition was imperative.

    • it applies to me too. Sometimes we forget.

  2. Thanks for the info that will help my 9 y/o son improve on his auditions!!
    We Love our agent “Hale Talent”!!

    • Hopefully 9 year olds are in a good mood and love auditioning and are having fun doing it.

  3. I am told I have a great disposition by many I have worked with.Have you heard of people that do not test well? Well that is me.I get so up tight about being on time for an audition and finding the place that by the time I get there I am frazzled,I go in and know they are not getting the real me. Any suggestions?

    • If you know the technique for the venue you are auditioning for that should not happen. If you need commercial Acting help, e mail me at

  4. Thanks Terry! Luckily, happy disposition isn’t something I lack. I’ve often been told I’ve got a lot of positive energy. it’s a natural state but also a choice. I LOVE your golden “tidbits” and will keep them in my back pocket.

    • Thanks Rhonda!!!!

    • Always good to get a “home run”.

  5. I never, ever will lose the need to be reminded of what’s important, and why, in our industry–no matter the specifics of the job, audition, or submission! Thank you so very much for your support, and honest influence! –JANNA MCKENZIE


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.