I think all drama training is always about how the character is connected to the text. Because the text gives you all the clues.
But the thing about auditioning and screen tests is that it’s about the delivery. The delivery is the communication to the decision makers.
Therefore at the Self Taping School, here at The Audition Technique, what we talk about is how you connect the character, not to the text, but to the frame.
The thing is in terms of the delivery of the character, a glance actually speaks volumes. A look away speaks volumes.
Have a look at Rachel McAdams test for The Notebook where she turns her back on the reader.
That is connecting the character to the frame, and that’s what we explore at the Self Taping School.
John Doe is an unidentified person. Someone with no individuality. Which alas, so many actors deliver in auditions.
You know when you see Kristen Wiig acting in ‘Bridesmaids’ there’s all these little ‘ums, ahhs, ohhs’. There’s all that kind of territory.
Do you think if you read the script of that film do you think all those moments would be on the page? No.
There are two different versions of every character. The writer’s version, and the actor’s version. I believe the great movie stars, the great screen actors, deliver their version of the character.
Not the version that’s on the page, but their version, the version unique to them. They don’t improvise, they don’t ad-lib they keep delivering the same dialogue but they find a rhythm that is theirs.
That’s what you’ve got to find. Your rhythm.
To regular viewers of my blogs here, you’ll be aware of a couple of things. The first thing is I’ve had a haircut. Yes low and behold I’ve had my annual haircut, and the second thing is we’re no longer in Kansas. No I’m in Italy at the moment.
So how does one, in a foreign country, how does one organise a haircut? How do you brief the hairdresser?
The brief I gave him was George Clooney. That’s the brief I gave him and now you’re looking at my hair going ‘how George Clooney is it really?’
The point I’m trying to make is as soon as I was able to give him a specific person, a specific brief, he knew exactly what was required.
Now think of you preparing an audition character. What I want you to do is spend a minute and just think – who is the best person in the world to play this character?
Now you can build a character. Because you’ve just given yourself a very clear concise brief on exactly the type of character you want to create.
Because it’s not about the characters intention, the subplot or motivation. It’s about what message are you sending? And George Clooney sends a clear message, but not really with this haircut. My problem not yours.
My journey in terms of a day of auditions.. and you just deal with it entirely from your perspective don’t you? You sit in the waiting room, you’re worried, nervous. You walk in and do your best job.
What do I want? What does the casting director want? I want you to be fabulous. I want you to be absolutely wonderful.
I am on your side. Why? Because the better you look, the better I look. So yes it’s entirely selfish.
I want you to be fabulous. I’m there to help you. Don’t ignore that the casting director is there and we are working as a team. We are working as a team to make you look fabulous, trust me.
Of course some casting directors have bad days and then it’s a different approach, and ultimately different casting directors have different approaches. But the bottom line is.. the better you look, the better I look.
Talk to you soon.
Traditional distribution is dead. That’s it. We’ve called it.
Gone are the days of ‘primetime’ slots, Nielsen ratings, Thursday nights vs Friday nights, Network A vs Network B. It’s Done. Finito.
This week Melbourne based production company Robot Army released the first episode of their new series ‘Rostered On’ over Facebook and Youtube, to a combined audience of almost 300,000 at time of writing.
Those are some mightily impressive numbers for a self-funded production, shot (in its entirety) over just six days!
In the current age of streaming and social media it has become almost impossible for traditional methods of distribution to compete with the accessibility and immediacy of their digital counterparts. Outside of live events, scheduled programming is living on borrowed time. Netflix and Youtube have officially taken over. Audiences demand to watch what they want, when they want… and they want it NOW.
For example, it has recently come to light that six major Hollywood studios are flirting with the idea of allowing their new releases to be streamed (à la Netflix) for $30 mere weeks after their initial theatrical release. This is hardly surprising, and while traditionalists will proclaim this is the death of cinema, it seems an inevitability if they are to catch up with younger audience tastes. Money talks, and studios will look to accomodate their consumers in any way they can.
It seems there are fresh examples of disruptive distribution wherever you look these days:
The creators of the much anticipated third season of ‘Rick & Morty’ streamed their first episode live over Facebook on April Fools with absolutely no promotion or fanfare. Relying on word-of-mouth alone. Given the insane online reaction, it’s safe to say it worked.
Currently the ‘Rostered On’ Facebook page stands at 169,000 likes and with five more episodes to come over the next few weeks it’s likely that number will only continue to grow.
This ‘Retail Justice’ clip from the series featuring TATer Andrea McCannon has 11 million views on Facebook. 11 million.
We spoke to the creators of the show and they explained that the ability for people to share and tag their friends in their content on Facebook was one of the main reasons they opted to release the series on social media. Word-of-mouth is everything and so they have bypassed traditional channels and found their audience on the world’s biggest social platform.
The likelihood of a major distributor like Netflix or Stan now picking up the property for a second series is extremely high. It’s simply impossible to ignore the reaction and the numbers.
The series coincidentally features a number of Audition Techniquer’s and we couldn’t be prouder to see the impression our graduates are making in the industry. A big congratulations to everyone involved in the project.
So what does this all mean for creators and creatives?
It’s simple, there is no better time for you to create your own content and release it to the world. There is no better time for your work to speak for itself.
Whether you’re making sharable character-based clips, stand-up, short films, a web-series or a full-blown feature, the opportunity to get eyeballs on your work has never been greater.
It’s time to stop waiting to be chosen by increasingly powerless networks and studios.
Find, build and cultivate your audience. Create your own ‘big break’.
I want to try and take you into a new territory at the moment in terms of everything you may have learned/been taught in terms of drama. And that is auditions are not about acting.
Auditions are not about showing what a good actor you are. Auditions are about a relationship. Two relationships in fact.
Every audition scene is about a relationship. Every audition scene is about the characters relationship to the others in the scene. That’s what we’re exploring.
You’re good enough. You don’t have to show you can play the part, we know you can play the part. What we’re wondering is; who is the character in your hands? What is the relationship with the other character in the script, in this sequence, in the scene, if we choose your version of the character.
There’s a second relationship, and probably just as important in terms of delivering relationships in the audition room. And that is the relationship with the people who are making the decision.
Do they want to spend 6 weeks with you? Do they want to see more of your work? Do you leave the room and they are intrigued and want to see more? Or do you leave the room and they go ‘Well, that’s what they do. That’s what he does, that’s what she does.’
Relationships are the most important thing you can deliver in an audition. Certainly drama teachers don’t teach you that.
We teach you that. We teach you that at The Self Taping School because that’s what it’s all about. All the Self Taping School is about is the relationship between an actor and the casting director. And the more you understand that, the more you can embrace that, the more opportunities you’ll get.
I want to pose a question to start you thinking and that is what is the role you were born to play?
To which many of you will go ‘I can play any role’. Yes, you can play any role.
But what is the role you are absolutely right for?
So you hear they’re casting a guy in a pink shirt and you go ‘Pick me, I’ve got a pink shirt!’
The point I’m making is there are certain roles. There a certain roles on TV you are absolutely perfect for.
And it’s not about whether you get the part or not. The main disappointment would be if you didn’t get the opportunity to audition. Did you get asked to self test?
That’s the main thing. Work out the roles you were born to play and make sure your agent knows you are perfect for those roles. Then your agent will go into bat for you.
The roles you were born to play. That’s the first answer you need in terms of your success as an actor. Talk to you soon.