Rules of Your Own Road
Whether you are new to the biz and don’t know where to start or a veteran in need of some gentle reminders, today’s blog is intended to help you with your upcoming auditions, so thanks for checking in! But I want to be careful. Advice is a tricky thing. What works for one individual does not always work for everyone. Advice is nothing more than the projection of one’s own experiences, and the following have helped me along the way. That being said, feel free to try out the following:
- Don’t prepare with the intention of memorizing. I used to do this. I used to stress too often about memorizing the lines on the page, and that’s exactly what happened. No, I didn’t memorize the lines, but I did stress! The stress blocked my creativity and made it impossible to make interesting choices. When we look at lines with the intention of memorizing them, we are only hurting ourselves.
- Figure out what you want. What do you (the character you’re portraying) want in the scene? Furthermore, how are you going to get what you want? By specifying these details, amazing and interesting things will happen in auditions without them being forced or phony.
- Find one obstacle. What is stopping you in the scene from getting what you want? Again, knowing this obstacle will make your audition a little different and more interesting than others’.
- Change those intentions. Once you run into an obstacle in the scene, switch intentions. You still want the same thing, but you are going to go about it in a different way, now. Making these specific choices is key to any audition. It keeps things interesting, and it keeps you from playing everything one-note.
- Identify the relationship. Who are you talking to in the scene? Is it your mother? Your lover? Your teacher? Your relationship completely changes the mood of the scene. Often times, casting directors can tell if you’re just reciting the lines instead of actually talking to a real person.
- Identify the environment. Where are you? A subway? A bar? The doctor’s office? A grocery store? Try to visualize your surroundings. If you keep your eyes locked on the reader the whole time, you will freak them out! Seriously, it’s weird. If you need work on this one, just note your mannerisms when you talk to friends in different environments. Let’s say you’re at a bar. You make eye contact with your friend, but then you look down at your drink. Maybe you see someone walk by and check them out. These little -isms make your audition grounded and interesting.
- Try it several different ways. Do not get glued into one way of saying and performing the sides! What will happen, then, if the casting director asks you to try it a different way? You’ve already carved a groove in your brain, and it will be very difficult to untrain yourself. Sometimes to test myself, I’ll try an audition while doing jumping jacks. This is a good test for me to see how familiar I am with the text.
- Always say it out loud. Always. Always. Always. Do not rehearse the lines in your head because there’s no way you will do that in the audition room!
- Practice with a friend. Something strange always happens with me the first time I say the lines out loud with someone in the room for the first time. The words all of the sudden sound very foreign to me. It’s strange. If you can related to this, always make sure you can run your auditions at least once with a friend before the audition.
- Think about the casting director’s intention. The casting director is rooting for you. They are on the same side as you are, otherwise you would not have been called in. They want you to be the solution to their problem Remember this if you get nervous before your audition.
- Have fun! Yea, I know. Cheesy, right? But it’s important! Because of how much we audition, we should be called professional auditioners, not actors. So make the most of it! This is your life, and you’ve given up a lot to be here. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the journey.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. I saved the most important for last. This blog post for auditions is like the “Rules of the Road” book for driving. If all you did to prepare for your license was read that book before you got behind the wheel for the driver’s test, you would have failed. Instead, you needed to not only read and study that book, but you also needed to put several hours in actually driving. Furthermore, the only reason you are a natural driver now is because you driver every week, or even every day. I’m certain driving would not be as natural to you if you only drover once a year. The same goes for auditions. If you aren’t practicing audition technique every week, or even every day, why are you surprised when you don’t book? Enroll in an audition class. Print off audition sides online and rehearse them in your apartment. Don’t be a slactor.
In the end, you gotta find what works for you. I have a friend who refuses to say her auditions out loud before her audition because she doesn’t want to get stuck saying it the same way every time. To me, this is ludicrous, but guess what? Not only does it work for her, but she’s an incredible booker! So again, this post is my personal experiences with audition prep. As an actor, it’s your job to pick and choose from others’ experiences to find out what works for you.
Remember: This is your career. This is your life. Make it one that works for you.
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