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4 Vital Points on Auditioning for Film, Television and Theatre
by Jason Bennett, 2010
Here are some essential pointers on auditioning for film, television and theater that performers of all levels can benefit from!
1. Develop Your Unique Artistic Agenda -- What kinds of performing are you great at? What kinds of projects do you want to be involved in? What do you care about on the deepest levels? What kinds of performance and story-telling do you think the world needs? How can you contribute to serving audiences with great entertainment? The answers to these questions require personal, in-depth exploration in great acting and audition classes.
2. Give Them A "Piece" Of You During Interviews -- Obviously, you need exceptional acting and/or musical theater training and talent. And in auditions, in a very short amount of time, you need to reveal who you are -- not just your resumé, not your training, not just where you are from. Instead, you must learn to connect with the auditors by experiencing who they are, respecting them, and offering them a bold, authentic experience of who you are on an appropriate, meaningful level.
Coffee-talk, superficial pleasantries and submissiveness in auditions is often not what the situation calls for. And smiles are not enough. Achieving a balance of factors like this requires dozens of audition simulations, with acting teachers and coaches, who can play all kinds of casting directors, directors and agents. There can be severe penalties if you try and learn these skills "on the job," or in front of casting directors or agents. The penalty-free learning zone is in private acting schools among teachers and peers that know your work at its best.
3. There Is No Such Thing As An Audition Acting Technique -- Auditions are bizarre circumstances. They require a special skill set you don't simply learn from regular acting or singing classes. You need to learn effective interviewing skills, how to deal with all kinds of casting directors and with all kinds of actors you will audition with. You need to practice the difference between film, television or musical/theater theater auditions, and whether they're on-camera or not.
However, there is simply no such thing as an "acting technique" for auditions. You are either a great performer because of hard work and top-notch actor/singer training, or not. And you either know how to distill your creative process down to the bare essentials in auditions -- on cue, effortlessly, or not.
Achieving great auditions results 98% from developing yourself as an actor or singer overall, not from simply focusing on auditions. This comes as a shock to some beginners, who imagine that performer training is all about doing great at auditions.
Audition workshops are vital for teaching you what is unique about and specific to auditions -- not to learn performance tools. You need real acting, voice and movement training to learn how to be a great performer.
To sum up this section: Achieving great auditions is 98% about being a great performer; running dozens of audition and interview simulations in audition workshops; and engaging in whatever kinds of exercises you need so auditions feel exciting and easy.
4. If You Are Ready, Getting In The Door Is Easy -- Some aspiring performers spend lots of time figuring out how to "get in the door" with a top casting director or agent. But they won't be interested in seeing you unless they have evidence it will be beneficial for both of you. Once you can provide that evidence through networking and marketing that is professional, they will want to see you! Getting in the door is not the issue, it's whether you are qualified. Once you are qualified to get in the door, you will. And it will be easy.
Here are several examples of evidence you are qualified to be a working performer, though certainly not all are always necessary: you've studied with respected acting, voice and movement teachers for at least a year or two; you've successfuly completed many scenes, monologues or songs in those classes; you've done student films; you've done live theater; you know how to present who you are in interviews, on the phone or at parties in ways that reveal your depth of character; you know how to respect and deeply connect with others; you have a headshot that is a work of art, with charisma that radiates from your eyes like wild-fire; your resumé has perfect grammar and syntax, perfect alignment, and "special skills" that are appropriate and not seemingly desperate (like "chews gum well"); you know performers and directors that the casting director or agent knows; you are endorsed by established professionals; you are familiar with agents, casting directors, writers and directors of all mediums you are interested in; you have received great reviews for something you've done; you seem charming, confident, humble, fun, intelligent, creatively on fire, respectful, generous and bold -- instead of seeming like a fan lucky to meet an established entertainment professional...and the list goes on and on...
When you are skilled at these kinds of things, the doors will open for you. To beginners all this may seem daunting. But you learn these things one step at a time, when you're ready.
Agents and managers only make money by finding the most talented people around and working for them to get work. Casting directors only have successful careers if they know the most talented people around and choose wisely who to bring into auditions. If they have the kinds of evidence about you listed above, they will want to call you in right now -- before others do. And of course, if doors aren't opening for performers, it may be time to get back into an acting, musical theater or audition workshop with a top-notch acting teacher.
It is the unique job of the acting teacher to help you do great work -- no matter what. The only way acting teachers succeed is if you impress agents, casting directors and audiences. The only reason for an agent or manager to work with you is if you do great work and earn money doing it.
Agents and Casting Directors serve vital roles in our industry and many have much to offer in their workshops. And they want you to succeed. They also have massive work loads and put up with lots of headaches caused by all sorts of things -- especially unprepared aspiring performers who don't know they're underdeveloped.
Make agents' and casting directors' jobs easier and respect them by making sure you are fully prepared before you "get in the door." To expect less of yourself is to risk ruining your potential career. Before you meet top-notch agents and casting directors in any setting, you must have lots of evidence you are highly qualified.
And there is great news. Besides the talent one is born with, everything discussed here can be developed by you to a huge extent. We've helped countless beginners, and even the most established professionals, improve in these areas. As most any seasoned performer knows, booking work consistently requires far, far more than only being a great performer. Our training covers all the bases! And that is such a relief for so many perfomers, who find more joy, fulfillment and performance opportunities because of our comprehensive approach.
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