When politicians face the media, they are ready with well-prepared statements. They clearly and concisely deliver the policy of their political party.
Pre-scripted, well-rehearsed. It doesn’t matter what question he or she is asked, these overworked lines will be delivered in the approved manner. And this makes them sound dull; it makes them devoid of natural personality.
There is a similar trap for actors in an audition. You too, have well-rehearsed lines, and you ready yourself to deliver them with authority, conviction in a rhythm that you have honed and perfected.
Your audition and the politician’s media interview are the same. You are not there to engage. You are there to minimize mistakes.
You present the casting director with an obsessive compulsive delivery. You cannot help yourself. You obsessively yearn to deliver a fault-free audition.
When you deliver an audition in this way, when you are ready to say lines regardless of what else happens, then you, like the politician, are preparing to talk at the other character and not to the other character. Your character has been given a personality and individuality bypass.
You deliver speeches, not conversation.
And many actors do this in their approach to auditions, where your key goal is to make no mistakes!
When we choose a scene for auditions (many times it is the casting director that chooses), we select a scene that explores the relationship between two characters. Sides are two-handers with an ebb and flow of lines, relationships, moments, and responses.
When you forsake listening and engaging in conversation for a preordained delivery, you do not hear the lines of the other character. Instead, you are too busy concentrating on what you are going to say next.
Shirley MacLaine calls it the spontaneity of not knowing, but you forsake that for the security of knowing every syllable and intonation.
Think of a politician you like (if there is one). They engage with you because you do not what is going to happen next. They connect to you. They speak as if they’re only talking to you.
The politician you don’t like (just pick any one of them), is predictable. You know what he is going to say and how he is going to say.
Now think of me, a casting director watching actor after actor come into the room. The actors who practice obsessive compulsive delivery are dull, devoid of uniqueness. They are predictable. They conform.
Listen, hear the other character, and connect to them in the scene. Hear their lines for the first time. That is true acting.
Do not worry about what you say. Do not worry about how you say it.
Worry about whether there is a connection between the two characters. That is the difference between a good actor and a great actor—the difference between a good politician and a great politician.
And in the room, believe me, you do not want to come across like a politician!
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