I was told in college that when I audition I should never make eye contact with the people assessing me. Since this was my first time taking any kind of theatrical class and I was an impressionable 19 year old, I believed it. I also carried this nasty habit with me through graduation and I finally rid myself of it about a year ago.
Who was the first person to make this "rule"? This falsehood is accepted by so many people in show business, usually the people on my side of the lens. People are so averse to looking a CD in the eye that I think they are afraid of being turned into stone, or as I call it.... "getting Medusa'd".
It's bullshit. Complete and utter lies. Acting (and admittedly I'm painting with a broad brush here) is about making a connection. You either make a connection with your scene partner, or you make a connection with the people viewing your work. You want them to feel with you and, in the lamest way possible.......buy that Hyundai*.
It's impossible to make a connection with someone if you are staring at something. It doesn't matter if it's the most specific and tiniest crack on the wall, no one buys it. No one will believe your dead mannequin eyes. No one. Make is easier on yourself and make a connection with a sentient being, and guess what....there's one standing right next to the camera.
My acting coach told the class something yesterday that I thought was so wise. "The whole thing [acting] is phony, they just keep calling it the truth." When you talk to someone in real life, do you stare off into space? Nope, of course not. You look them in the eye and speak like a human being.
Do yourself a favor and be an actual human being when you audition.
*Sorry Jeff Bridges, nothing personal.