Archive for February, 2015
There are many stories of actors who landed roles by making famously bold audition choices.
Here’s one such story:
When actor Michael Dorn went to audition for the role of Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he walked straight to the back of the room and stood there, ramrod straight and unblinking. He did not smile, speak, or sit. When called, he marched into the room, scowled, and shook the interviewer’s hand sharply. Afterwards, he gruffly thanked the director and walked out. He so inhabited the character that they simply had to cast him: he was the only actor *being* a Klingon warrior. He was Worf.
That’s a bold audition choice. Making bold choices like Michael Dorn can set you apart from the competition.
Or it can get you the title of “crazy actor” and thrown out of the office…permanently.
So how can you go bold without going bad?
Here are three Bold Audition Rules to help you decide if your bold choice is a good one:
I can not stress this enough! Don’t go so far out of the norm that you insult the production team. Remember, these are hard-working people who are giving you their time and energy. Respect it.
2) Justification in the script.
You have to be able to justify your choices. They need to be grounded in the facts of the show or the script. The Star Trek script called for true characters from a different world, so Dorn’s choice reflected that. Remember that your choices should also be grounded in the text and not just randomly wacky for the sake of being bold.
3) Don’t be gimmicky. Be authentic.
Casting Directors can spot a gimmick a mile away. They can tell when you’re trying too hard and it won’t get you the role. Michael Dorn was being Worf, and therefore was authentic.
Go boldly…but go smart.
Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip? Please Share!!
Many actors tell me that when they go into an audition, they just want to “Get it Right.” But “Getting it Right” doesn’t get them the part. Because when you focus on “Getting It Right…”
- You become the most important person in the scene.
- It creates no reason for you to connect to the other person in the scene.
- It puts you in judgment of your performance and doesn’t allow you to be in the moment of the scene.
“Getting it Right” doesn’t allow the actor to experience what the scene is about, which leaves an actor feeling unsatisfied…and that leaves the Casting Director unsatisfied and on to the next actor.
Make sure you breakdown that scene and you know what your character’s intention is: What do you want the other character to feel or do. Connect to that intention, how you relate to that, make it personal, and fight for that intention. Then allow the experience of the scene to unfold.
Share your audition experiences and how you prepare for an audition below!
The life of an artist. The world sees our work and because of the blood, sweat and tears we pour into our craft it all looks so easy. But, the moments that seem easy are due to all the hard work it took to get there.
Make It Easy
A couple of years ago I found myself watching the contortionists at the Cirque du Soleil and realized that they make acrobatics look so easy that I forget how impossibly hard it is. I took for granted the strength, the flexibility, the practice, and courage it takes to achieve those feats.
Acting is the same. Great actors make acting seem easy. But I see a lot of actors who take the craft of acting for granted. They think “I can do that” and they audition, go to casting workshops, do showcases; all without having a good teacher, being in a regular class or even practicing in front of a camera. By the way, these are the same actors complaining that they’re not booking.
Respect Your Craft
Great acting requires consistent practice, a good coach and personal courage to build the emotional strength and emotional flexibility required to perform great roles. Respect your craft.
The way you show casting you’re an actor who respects their craft is by ensuring that your audition tape is as good as it can be. Let us not overlook the obvious here: if you want to book jobs this pilot season (especially when you are one of a 100 submissions), you have to deliver an audition that makes casting say “WOW.” At the very least, don’t leave them with a bad impression by submitting a lame audition tape.
If you don’t have the time or can’t afford a professional to put you on tape, then make sure you master the keys for an awesome audition tape.
Here are 8 tips to help you:
1. Pick a quiet space that has little to no back ground noise. TVs, fans, running water and air conditioning distract the viewer when heard in the background.
2. The wall behind you should be white or blue.
3. Position yourself a few feet away from the wall to avoid casting shadows.
4. Be sure you are lit well so that the viewer can clearly see your face and eyes.
5. Record a test sample. Check it on your computer. Make sure that you can clearly see and hear yourself. Remember: if you can’t see or hear yourself, neither can the Casting Director.
6. The camera should be on a tripod to keep the frame steady. If you don’t have a tripod, use a stable surface.
7. Before shooting the scene, do your script analysis and research and ask the 9 Questions of Intentional Acting.
8. Record all your rehearsals. Your rehearsals may be your best takes!
Know someone who could benefit from this acting tip? Please share!