When I worked at Halpern & Associates talent agency, clients would often call to report in after their auditions. After awhile I started to see the correlation between the comments the clients made and the actual result of the audition. For instance, hen a client would say “The audition went exactly the way that I planned it,” that was the end of it. There was no call back or booking. But when they’d say, “I showed them what I wanted them to see, but it went a little differently than I expected,” there would almost always be a call back or booking.
It makes perfect sense. A great audition strikes the perfect balance between preparedness and flexibility. You need to be guided by a clear intent, dynamic relationships, and strong, personal choices as well as being technically sharp and prepared to connect with intensity and depth. Energized by the confidence that comes from this preparation, you then need to walk in to the room and let it all go, allowing the decisions to manifest in the way that is most appropriate to that room at that moment. Prepared, flexible, and completely available.
A not so great audition has the actor ignoring the needs of the moment in the interest of delivering every word of every line exactly the way it was planned, trying to make what sounded good yesterday work today – not connected in the least to what is happening in the room in the present. This often happens with actors who are not dealing enough with how their choices feel and instead become obsessed with working out the look and sound of their choices, thinking that the manifestation is more important than the feeling. Well, it isn’t and these overly choreographed auditions are just stale recitations of the words on the page and bear no relation to what will actually get the part. You are, after all auditioning to play a person – not an actor reading lines with over rehearsed inflections.
An audition is simply a series of moments and the strongest moments, the ones that often book the job, happen when honest and interesting decisions combine with the energy of the moment they are being delivered in. An audition that has each moment looking and sounding a predetermined way is cramped and small and leaves no space for the possibility of anything bigger or more interesting to happen.
Preparing your audition piece with creative, personal choices allows you to show the people in the room all of the wonderful qualities you have to add to the role.
Being flexible in the room provides the present moment freshness that adds job getting color and texture to those choices. Both are equally essential to your success.
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of The Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent and casting consultant. In his 14 years of teaching, he has seen the careers of hundreds of his students take off. He is also the author of the best-selling book, “The Best of You – Winning Auditions Your Way.”
Craig is currently teaching his audition technique classes and his Meditation for Actors classes in Santa Monica, CA. For more information visit www.wallaceauditiontechnique.com.