Archive for the ‘Auditions/Cold Readings’ Category
When you are breaking down Questions 3, there is an external experience (previous Acting Tip) and there is an internal experience. Today I’m talking about internal experience.
When you get a scene that is not so physically engaging or demanding, you have to look into yourself and ask ‘What does that feel like?’. You need to take a moment to let yourself really feel what is happening. Take a look at the video to see an example of a scene that explores the internal experience.
Question 3: What is the experience of the scenes?
Ask yourself: What is the experience of riding on a roller coaster? I bet you felt a lot, right there, just thinking about it. Watch this video to see how to get specific about the external experience of a scene.
Question 1: Part 4; What is the conflict between the Characters?
Conflict is the basis of all story telling. It is essential. It is the most important part of story telling. Without conflict, we really don’t have a lot of story. Every single movie has a conflict. If the Joker didn’t create conflict for Batman, then Batman would have no reason to go save the world. There would be no story. Even if you’re not into the super hero movies, you’ll see conflict in other stories like between two lovers. Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again.
The problem I see actors do so often is over-complicate the conflict in the scene. So keep it really simple. Great example; Sally wants John to apologize. John doesn’t want to apologize. The way I see actors over-complicated it, is they might say “There is a war going on”. John and Sally are in a war. But the problem is outside of them. We want the conflict to be directly between the characters. It creates a connection and it gives you something to do. Remember, Acting is Doing.
Nearly every scene has a conflict, but there are some that don’t. One example might be John wants Sally to marry him, and Sally wants to marry him. In there, there is no conflict. They both want the same thing and it’s all about love. When you get that in a scene, you then want to go to ‘Question 3; What is the Experience of the Scene?’. I’ll explain it deeper in later videos, but I’ll give you a taste of it for now.
When there is no conflict in a scene, then we’ve got to have the experience of the scene. When two people are in love and want to get married, then we are watching the scene and the experience HAS to be there. If we’re not getting that experience and the feeling of two people who love each other and want to get married, then that scene doesn’t work. Just like if there is no conflict in the scene, then that scene isn’t going to work either.
Always make sure your conflicts are simple and very, very clear. Because remember in Question 1, you want to be able to look at it like a fly on the wall or from the 3rd person. You want to be able to see the story on the screen and you want to be able to clearly be able see what is happening.
Question 1: Part 3, What Happened The Moment Before?
It’s really important to have a strong moment before, for 2 reasons. For one, as an actor it’s going to help jump start and get you into the scene. And two, it helps get the audience involved really quickly because they see the story already happening and they just have to follow along and get in there.
So how do you create a moment before? Or where does the moment before come from? You have to start by looking at the script. Sometimes it’s on the page and sometimes it’s not. I have 2 scripts from under 5 cold reads we have done in class. In the first script, it says: ‘Susie tears through a rack of clothes. A saleslady carefully approaches. “Miss, what’s happening?”‘. Let’s assume you are the saleslady. Your moment before is you see Susie tearing through a rack of clothes and then you carefully approach before you say “Miss, what’s happening?” So as an actor, you’ve got to create the moment. You’ve got to see that. You’ve got to see this lead actress tearing through all this stuff and it’s all becoming disarray. And then you might be careful as you walk over to her because she looks kind of important. You have to create all of the story before you say your first line.
In the other script, it says Hotel Guest Start. And then the hotel guest says their first line which is “Have we met?”. That’s it. There is no description of what happens the moment before. There is nothing to introduce the hotel guest. The hotel guest just says their first line. In this case, as an actor, you have to create that moment before for you. But make sure you create it based on information in the script. In this script, it later says that ‘such and such is suing you.’ The hotel guest is serving papers. So what’s important is that you know this is a hotel guest but it’s kind of a trick. You’re tricking them by asking if you’ve met and then you’re serving them papers. So what is the moment before? Even though the hotel guest has to look like it’s really casual when they say “Have we met?”, they are looking for this other character, specifically, so they can serve the papers. So as an actor, you have to create that space. You’re in a hotel lobby, and you’re looking around to see if the other character is there, and then you see them and say “Have we met?”.
You might not get a lot of time to create that moment before in the audition room, but what you can do, is start to create it before they even say action. Instead of waiting for them to say action, thinking of your first line, thinking is the camera ready, thinking should I start, you can be creating that moment before. If you’re thinking about all those other things, that is what will come through on the camera. Instead, you can immediately see yourself in the hotel lobby and you will be ready for when they call action. When you’ve already created the experience and the moment, that shines through and they can see that in the camera and in your audition.
So when you get your next audition, I want you to look at “What is the moment before?” Make a strong choice. Look at the script, see if it’s there. If it’s not on the script, then create it based on the story in the script. Don’t go make up something that isn’t there.
What is the scene About? Part 2- Where does the scene take place?
I’ve started going through the 9 Questions of Intentional Acting and today I’m breaking down the second part of Question 1: Where does the scene take place? This is an important piece to take your auditions to the next level that so many actors skip over.
You really want to see where you are and have specific details about where the scene takes place. Take a look at this video to understand how to really answer this question.
To have or not have a prop in an audition is a hot button topic. I’ve heard of casting directors getting annoyed when an actor uses a prop in the room. But nowadays, a prop we use all the time is a cell phone. They are basically an additional appendage to our lives and our bodies.
What do you do when you have an audition in which you are on the phone? Put your fingers to your ears, look at the reader or do the taboo thing of using your phone?
Here’s how I helped one of my actors.
I am excited to release the first Intentional Acting Between The Scenes Acting Tip video. My intention is to give you tools to make your next take even better than the first.
Here you’re going to see that sometimes even I need to take my own advice. Take a look and let me know what you think!
Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip? Please Share!
Actors on shows like New Girl, 2 Broke girls, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Friends seem like they are being silly and are having so much fun that their work as actors is often mistaken for being easy. In actuality there is a lot of technique to what they are doing. The 3 techniques listed below are the most common mistakes I see when actors are working on sitcom material.
1. No Dead Air
Comic timing simply defined means pick up your cues and don’t leave any empty spaces or “Dead Air.” Every moment has something happening in it whether it is a line, a sound, or a gesture.
2. Play Frustration, Not Anger
In comedy, even if it looks like anger, usually the character is just frustrated with the other character. Frustration, rather than anger is lighter and allows you to fight fore a greater variety of outcomes from the other character.
3. Make sure that when you say the lines that they are Clean, Crisp and Clear.
A line that ends in a period is one thought. Sitcom dialogue is short and very specific. To deliver the lines specifically and clearly your thoughts, your understanding and meaning of the lines, have to be specific and clear as well. When you’re specific in your mind and you enunciate clearly, your performance will feel clean and it will be funnier.
These techniques are difficult to explain in writing so please add a comment that might help a fellow actor.
As artists we choose different mediums to express ourselves. Actors choose acting as their medium to share some deep need or secret or story. And it seems safer because we are sharing through our character’s story – so it may feel like a mask, but….
The paradox is that when we actually have to get up in class, or in front of the camera, and be vulnerable and use our character’s story to express our own, we get scared and hide. Fascinating – because we are the ones who chose the profession of “being vulnerable.”
How do you move past this block and create vulnerable performances, which are fulfilling to you and your audience? You have to develop fearlessness. You must be a fearless artist and take risks. Think about it: the very best performances are when you feel someone spilling their guts out. Look at this year’s Academy Award-winning performances: Lupita Nyong’o, Amy Adams, Jared Leto. (Actually, look at every year’s Academy Award nominee list.) My opinion is when an actor really goes out on a limb and risks great vulnerability it is usually their best work. A great example is Matthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers Club. He put a lot on the line for that movie, including his own money. He was vulnerable in multiple ways – his money, his healthy, his soul – and see how it paid off.
So the question becomes: What do you need to create a vulnerable performance?
If you’re an actor or know someone who is feel free to share this article with those you believe could benefit from it. Thank you.
And risk being vulnerable right here. Share your experience as a fearless or fearful actor. Who knows, your input just might make the difference in preparing and inspiring someone to deliver the performance of a lifetime.
LIVE THE DREAM YOU WERE BORN TO
Acting should be simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you are an actor, or know someone who is, and you need a safe place to be yourself and to be challenged to continually grow and share vulnerable performances, Intentional Acting may be the right class for you.
There is no better moment than now to make the intention to take full control of your acting career and live the dream you were born to.
I’m posting this article by Dallas Travers about Scott David being fired. Casting Director Workshops have become an important part of your business, whether you like them, agree with them or not. And you as the business owner – the CEO of your acting career – need to stay up to date.
I also recommend having a coach for the Business of showBusiness and I highly recommend Dallas Travers. This article is one of her Free Acting Business Bites, which I suggest you sign up to receive. I completely agree with everything she says. Read it thoroughly and click on the link and read the Hollywood Reporter article as well.
Although Casting Workshops are set up as an “acting class,” they should not be a replacement for acting class. Class should be a safe place to make mistakes, explore, and try new things outside of your comfort zone. An acting teacher should be teaching you a process of acting and how to prepare for auditions and meetings with Casting Directors. This is how you grow as an actor.
Yes, you can get great tips from Casting Directors, but you’re going to the workshop to make relationships and to stand out. You need to be one of the top two or three actors in the workshop to be remembered. This is how workshops can lead to booking work.
If you’re not standing out as one of the top two or three in the workshop, then I recommend getting back into acting class. In Intentional Acting classes, you can use your class time to prepare your workshop scenes and bring the feedback from the Casting Directors and work on improving in the areas they see as weak.
Please take the time to read Dallas Travers’ Acting Business Bites: What Scott David’s Firing Means For You.
Also, here is the article from the Hollywood Reporter.
Intentional Acting is here to help, please let me know how.