Show me the actor who does contempt really well and I will show you someone whose career will not rise above smaller supporting roles.
Speaking of things that can be seen as wrong, I wanted to touch on a small issue regarding your choices in auditions. Any audition. Every audition.
It came up in the scene we worked on at a recent face to face workshop. The female in the scene showed impatience with her partner. And many females, in an environment of creative freedom, found emotional territory which included contempt, disdain, and anger. They had been given a license to go anywhere. Everywhere.
So they chose power, control, contempt over the other person in the scene.
All fully justified and can be rightly played for that character in that scene.
But if you choose this path, what you have achieved, is you have created a character we do not like.
Every movie star creates characters with qualities we admire, we like, we respect. They naturally find qualities that do not scare us off.
And you can argue ‘til you are blue in the face “but that is how she was written”.
But does the role go to the performer who shows utter disregard for her partner? Or the one who uses her charm with her interpersonal skills to connect?
And then you will find they have remembered you, because you have stopped being another actor, and started being an individual.
The most important person to convince you CAN do it, is you.
As an actor, you prepare your audition so there is no way anything go wrong which means you know EXACTLY what you are going to say and when.
You have not prepared the character. You have prepared the delivery.
What do I want? Well, what am I looking for? And don’t say an actor. My life has no shortage of actors.
I have auditioned a couple of people who attended ny workshops. In the workshops, they were brave, imaginative and experimental. They took chances and found new territory. So they showed the bravery that is needed to do a memorable audition. Then, they gave earnestly good, reliable and nice same auditions.
The biggest problem is you.
You try too hard.
How to avoid desperation:
A quote from an article on Backstage from Secret Agent Man:
“(Did) any of you ever learn how to have a normal conversation that doesn’t reek of desperation?”
What you want to say (and in many cases do say):
- “I am perfect for this part.”
- “I love this role.”
- “I need this role.”
Don’t talk about you. Talk about the character:
- “She (the character) has a great warmth.”
- “I love the way she deals with children.”
- “She has an inner strength. She doesn’t need to show it.”
At The Audition Technique, we suggest the most important person in the room is not you, not the casting director or the producer.
The most important person in the room is the character.
And it is not yours. Not yet, anyway. So treat the character with respect.
Your objective in an audition is to be seen again. If not for this role, then for something else.
If you were going to a dinner party, and you wanted to be invited back again, you would enter and find a moment to connect to the hostess.
With lines like:
- “Have you lost weight?”
- “I heard great things about the social event you staged last week.”
- “I love the colours you have used in this room.”
To translate that into what should be said by an actor-in-an-audition-funk:
- “I love your casting in (project x).”
- “You are looking fabulous.”
- “What a great project this is. Congratulations (that you are casting it).”
P.S: As I am eternally on a diet, ‘Have you lost weight’ is always good if you come into my room.