THE HOBBIT PREPARES TO ENTER THE ROOM
If you haven't read PART ONE, please start HERE
The actual techniques we use to help actors memorize and break down scripts for auditions will have be part of a much longer, detailed blog. In fact, it most likely will have to wait for my book or a training video. However, the point of this blog series is not the particulars of “how to do” this or that, but the state your brain is in through it all. Your brain goes through many different chemical stages throughout the audition process. From when you prepare for your audition to entering the audition room, the audition itself, to leaving the room and your recovery from your audition experience. It is my belief that any approach (mine or anyone else’s) still requires a core state of being. No matter how good you think your techniques, tools and tricks are…a well-built house on a faulty foundation sinks.
The advice I got when I was very young from Joseph Papp in New York was “never walk into a room, wanting anything. Always walk into a room with something to give or offer”. I can't say I am always able to accomplish this, but I can say this is always my north star. We must train ourselves to walk in the “room” in a state of offering and sharing not conquest and taking.
So, you have prepped your scene(s) for your audition. Whether it’s live, online, or a self-tape, I’ll review the unique properties of each medium in subsequent blogs, but the first thing to point out is an audition is not a test or an exam. An audition is an opportunity to SHARE.
Read THIS BLOG if you need a quick refresh on how to steady your being when you receive the 'ping' that you've received an audition.
The idea is relatively simple - you have to change the way you think in order to find fulfillment in the audition process. Dread and anxiety must be replaced with joy and the thrill of doing it. I know you may be thinking “what have you been smoking Lewis? You'd have to be crazy to think “I am going to take great pleasure in doing something where the odds of me being successful are very low.” Fair enough – but let’s realign those thoughts. Of course, you're not ever going to find any joy or happiness IF THE GOAL is to impress or stand out from the crowd when you go for an audition.
Here are a couple of further thought aids to consider in pursuit of us changing your audition narrative:
You've been invited to the audition because they truly are considering you for the part. Why else are they seeing you? So…
- They believe you are talented and are quite possibly right for the part.
- They want you to succeed. You have something to offer.
Reminder: Your character does not want to impress a Casting Director or book the part (unless you're going up for a character who happens to be an actor who wants the part)
Ok, Lewis…What’s next?
I've been an acting teacher for half a century and what’s been consistent in my actors path to booking/success is that they worked harder and with passion and they did their audition NOT to book, but simply for the love of doing what they do. The goal is to view every opportunity, every set of sides, as an opportunity to learn a little bit more about yourself and the world around you and share it with others. This is your guiding force, your main reason for going to the audition - to bring yourself and share that essence in the audition room. If this has been accomplished, then it's a good day….the booking is secondary. Bryan Cranston and many other actors give the same advice: when they stopped being neurotic, obsessive and full of desire like Gollum they started to do better and book more.
Joy is first. Ask yourself: Why am I doing this? Most A-List actors being interviewed on talk shows, sit on the couch and emphasize that they would still be acting even if they didn't make any money at it. It is who they are and what they do! Just like you.
Over the years, many actors have been in my office complaining that they haven’t worked in a while. They are negative and overall, miserable. My follow up question in this situation is “who is going to hire you?” You're a misery. Every actor that has found the joy again, has started working again. No one wants to hang around miserable people and that includes Casting Directors.
Are we there yet? Am I ready for the audition? Almost!
VIRTUAL AUDITION. SELFTAPE AUDITION, OR LIVE AUDITION - keep reminding yourself that you're there to share.
You will rarely (if ever) get asked this question, but it's a good one to ask yourself: Why you? Why should I cast you? What do you have that’s unique/special? Often actors, in trying to answer this question, have a level of insecurity attached to their answer. “I don’t know. Other actors are also good and probably deserve it more than me/Other actors are equally talented, maybe more etc.”. This is the underlying dread. If you can locate that thing in you that says “this is what makes me special, I get this character. They are my twin and soul sister/brother.” When you access yourself at that level of internal truth and share that in the audition room, that's really all of what casting is looking for and all you can do within what is in your control. Once you strip everything away, you’ve made it very human. They are looking for somebody who gets it.
For all of this, whether it's self-taping, zoom, auditioning, going live in the room, in the end, truth still matters. When all is said and done, all you need to do is bring as much of yourself to what you're doing and be as honest as you can. In the end, any technique that serves that in some way, shape or form is going to be a good one.
Again, Truth still matters.
The main difference between the various mediums has to do with eye lines, the intimacy of the medium, the nature of each of the rooms, and their impact on consciousness: ours and Casting.
More on this….next week...