Auditions Techniques Class 2
We’re reading a handout to kick off the class as people wander in. We are asked to read a graph from the handout and make it sound as if it’s “me” speaking to everyone. Bummer. I’m five minutes late and don’t get to read out loud. I love reading aloud. Ah well.
Again, it’s time to discuss what is Talent. It’s someone who does something better than most. But there’s competency and there’s virtuosity (where you put your individual stamp on it; doing something with your particular style).
But you can’t call yourself talented. It’s got to come from an external source. Someone else has to make that assessment or you’ll sound like an ass.
BUILDING CHARACTER- YOURS
Treat everyone with respect. Jerod Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) was a 2nd Ad on Baptist at a BBQ. He made friends with everyone.
Skills are techniques that allow you to rise and get better and be in the places where you can be seen. You can’t just play in your backyard. Just like tennis, acting is not a singles’ sport. You need to know what your skills are so audiences can perceive them. Otherwise they don’t exist.
Doing community theater? That’s you just being happy to put on a uniform and show up. Know how to do what the job requires. Actors are the biggest dumbasses on the planet. They think they can jump right to the top without developing their craft. Find out what the industry standard is and how to get there. Don’t ignore it because there aren’t that many roles made just for you.
The zenith of acting is a feature film. Length? 70pp or longer. Size matters. Are you right for the part? Who knows? Let the casting crew make that decision. You just might walk in and change their mind. Maybe you are the ‘wrong’ age or race. But still go for it.
It’s not even the acting that gets you the job. It’s everything else. It’s ‘you’ the human being. Acting is frosting before the cake. Don’t think it’s your acting. Remember the 15 second rule.
There’s a 90 percent unemployment rate for actors. Yet there are not enough qualified and excellent actors to fill the few jobs out there. Watch television and see. There’s a lot of bad acting going on.
TIME TO SHINE
Don’t feel so protective of what you prepare. You are here for them, show it off. fyi- it will never go the way you want it to but casting peeps expect you to not be perfect.
Just make sure that you are communicating the idea behind the words/your choices. Slow down; don’t go too fast.
Walk into the room and say to yourself, “I love it here.” This is where I get to do what I love to do. Relish the opportunity to finally get to audition. Don’t think about how you just want to get it over with.
When they ask you to talk about yourself, don’t state the obvious- I’m an actor and want to be in your movie. Or I’m really nervous. Or I live in Utah.
They do want you to talk about something commercial. Don’t talk about your kids or your dog (unless of course it’s an audition for a Purina or Toys R Us spot). Talk about your acting work- I just got done with project x, just got back from y. Talk about a movie you’ve seen and that you’re excited about.
Don’t try to second guess the director. You can’t answer the question what do they want? Sometimes even they can’t. Maybe you can ask your agent but there are dumb questions in an audition so be careful. If you don’t know what they want going into that room, you’re not supposed to. Or they will tell you.
Be prepared for the freak sitch. You walk in and weird stuff can happen- the director might think- you look like my ex-wife so you’ll never get that job.
If they ask you something just answer it. Don’t get into your head and try to analyze why they want to know something. Any conversation the casting director or director tries to have with you is a good thing. Don’t second guess. You can do that after you leave. They don’t waste time. They wouldn’t ask if they didn’t want to talk with you.
Don’t lie to get yourself the job! Can you ride a horse? Can you take a punch? Frank got asked that once and he answered, “no, but I fall down really well.” Personally, I’d say I’m willing to learn if I thought it was something I could learn to do well between the audition and the actual gig. I seriously doubt that JLo knew Krav Maga before “Enough” or Ralph Macchio could do that stork thing before “The Karate Kid.” But know your limits. I can learn to ballroom, to sing, to skydive but I ain’t ever going to ride motorcycles.
NEVER COME IN AS THE CHARACTER.
He CD has a job to do and they have deadlines you don’t have. Actors are usually the last piece of the puzzle. They are not looking for brilliance. Just to do what’s necessary, understand the script, be pleasant and then leave. Walk in thinking “I’m the best actor you’re going to see today” (but don’t say this out loud. Duh. You’ll be an asshole.)
Frank is happy most actors screw this up. Makes him look good.
Never state the obvious, “My first piece is Hamlet” not “My first piece is scene x from play y and it’s about…” If it’s obvious to you, don’t share it- I’m sorry I haven’t showered. Never offer unsolicited info- like you didn’t shower. Don’t bring in clippings in a book. Don’t make excuses. I’m sorry I have a cold. Speak above the cold.
This is not the time to go down memory lane with the director unless they want to. Don’t talk money (how much is this going to pay, is there a per diem?)
WHEN CAN YOU WORK?
Keep your options open. You can do anything, at any time. Say yes until you have to say no. Try not to use words like definitely. Shit happens. Use your agent if something comes up. Let them handle the difficult conversations.
WHAT SCREWS WITH YOUR MOJO?
Anxiety review- your greatest source of anxiety?
a-The competition. They’re something, I’m nothing.
b-Did I make the right choice? Fyi- There are no right or wrong choices. Just make one.
c-The slate can cause anxiety. This is the chance to shake hands and say I’m not psycho and I’m well-adjusted. Everything’s fine; hire me. The professional you.
Make sure you rehearse how to breathe and leave a room. Rehearse your slate. Rehearse saying thank you and leave.
Journaling outside of class is a way to talk and listen to each other. Sharing. Even if it’s just a few sentences. It helps Frank gauge what you’re getting from the class – his diagnostic.
Read the first line. Read it over and over in monotone until it becomes just sounds. Repeating sounds – fast- till you can’t screw up. Divorce yourself of all choices.
Hold script then head up and deliver to focus.
Go back down and read the next line. Now go back and speak it in first person, honoring the punctuation. Now the sounds become words. There are no Oscars for memorization. Don’t worry about how fast or how you do it.
Once you have the lines down, figure out the given circumstances so you give it substance.
Monologues are one person plays.
Next thing is to say your monologue as you.
Have a relationship and an objective. I.e. want to know where he’s going; telling him he has to marry me, making him feel guilty for empty promises.
Monotone, then speak like you, then have relationship and objective. But you have to know those words so well that you can do anyway. It’s liberating when you don’t have to worry about the words.
You can add a line of subtext just to help yourself (i.e. think about what you really want to say but then say the actual line in place of what you want to say. I.e. instead of saying ‘you’re a piece of shit,’ you say you were leading me on all this time? But you’re THINKING- you’re a piece of shit.
We don’t talk about emotions; we deal in ‘subtext’. The ‘e’ thing just happens.
Btw, you should be able to memorize five pages of straight dialog in one day. Learn some then walk away and come back.
Figure out ‘colors’- how you get from being mad, to on the ground begging and sobbing.
11 BEATS TO AN AUDITION
The first 3 beats are usually the most terrifying. You’re outside the door. You know you’re next because you’ve studied who’s ahead of you. You have your resume and headshot in hand. Outside of the door, Boys, check your fly and palms. We don’t want slimy palms in case you’re shaking hands.
Accept that there will be that ‘oh shit’ moment. Breathe and move.
Walk in. Speak to whoever speaks to you. Don’t rush up and hug or shake someone’s hand.
Plan an aesthetic distance for your monologue. Enter the room like a well-adjusted human, make eye contact, and say hi.
Wait for permission to say my name. Stand still.
I’m Jill Adler. I’ll be reading Rosemary from Picnic by William Inge
Or my first piece is … x from y by z, then ‘step out’ (do not start acting where you introduced yourself and your piece)
Move somewhere on the sundial. Lose your focus, breathe, see, and speak. Take your time. As soon as you move, you are the character.
Play diagonal across the eye line of the director. NEVER play to the director or the person that’s auditioning you (unless for some reason they ask you to). Head up and parallel to the floor (eye line). Pick something real to look at.
Think something BEFORE YOU SPEAK- have a thought in your head. Imagine that the person you’re about to talk to just said something to you so you’re responding. Or your partner just got up to leave and you’re wondering why.
Move your body when you’re one third of the way through your monologue.
Rehearse your entrance all the time!!
Hi I’m Jill Adler. My piece is…. Lose your focus, step out of the initial space, breathe, look up find focus, think, and then speak.
Be off book for the monologue.
Type a reflection for the yahoo groups.