Preparing an audition is an exciting, hopeful, yet solitary and sometimes lonely process.
For all the talk about the collaborative process of acting, this is the one moment when you’re faced with just yourself and the words on the page.
If only you had a brilliant director to lead help you navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of the audition process.
Well, if you have a solid audition technique that you can rely on to open you up to infinite possibilities of the piece—and that helps you to stand tall in the room—you have just that.
Here are three ways having a great audition technique can direct you to success:
1. It tells you when to start. If you have a technique that demands access to your inner being—the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that will let the people in the audition know what is most powerfully unique about you—you know you can’t be random about how you begin your work. You need to be ready.
I can’t tell you the amount of times actors will call me for a private coaching, usually from their car, and when I ask what work they’ve done so far, they tell me that they pulled up the sides on their phone, read it numerous times trying to figure it out, studied the breakdown, called a friend who went in for it, tried to think of what to wear and on and on…
Scenarios like this are why I turn down almost 40 percent of private coaching requests. Yes, I could calm them down and steer them in the right direction, but because they started in such a frantic and unfocused way, they’re not in a job-getting position and, at this point, it would really just be damage control.
The skilled actor knows that the first moments they spend with the piece are precious, and the opportunity to see those words and feel how they affect them is never more pure than in the first read.
Just as a good director would make you warm up before rehearsal, the actor who has a strong technique doesn’t look at the material until he is ready in mind, body, and heart. He has the awareness and the tools to check in with himself and to do what he needs to do to get to the relaxed and energized space that opens the heart and calms the mind.
2. It helps you explore. A good director doesn’t let you settle for the first choice that comes to mind. Even of you say it was your strongest instinctual choice and you couldn’t be surer of its effectiveness, the good director says, “look deeper.”
So it is with a good technique. It gives you the tools to explore and uncover yourself and the piece; to find the choices that resonate with you on the felt level, not the thought level, and to explore those choices further to find their specific color and tone so that each line of the piece is alive with your specific voice and energy.
A great technique directs you firmly but kindly so that you can dig deeper and deeper and find the most exciting intersection of your life and the life of the character.
3. It let’s you know when to stop. A winning audition is the perfect balance between preparedness and flexibility. You’ve got to know when to stop so that you don’t turn the piece into a solid, immovable mass. A good director would tell you when you were done with a scene at just that point: prepared—but with something left for the actual shot.
This is another function a strong technique can perform.
After you’ve explored and discovered your strongest way into the piece, used your skills to organize and maximize the affect of the all of the decisions that will bring it to life, and put all of that fine, true work it into the rhythm of conversation, it’s time to ask if there is anything else to do. A reliable technique gives you a clear perspective so you can see and feel if it’s all in your body and heart and ready to go, or if you need to do a little more work.
And when it finally has the compelling personal resonance that it needs to get the job, you can confidently put it away, with no doubt that you are finished; feeling safe and secure that when the times comes you can let it all go and be a vibrant, alive, and undeniable presence in the room.
In auditions, a strong reliable technique is the director that guides you to the strongest intents, relationships, and choices within yourself as well as the strongest job-getting moments in the text, and helps you to deliver it all in the room with a fierce, open, confident heart. It can remove the doubt and confusion that can come from preparing a piece all by yourself and give you the self-guiding skills that will help you prepare with a creative boldness that comes from a great collaboration—you and your technique.
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