How to Be Brilliant in the Room

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We all want the same thing. We all want actors to be absolutely freaking brilliant when it counts.

But what can we all—agents, managers, casting directors, teachers—do to support actors so they audition with confidence and power? How can we squash the obsessive, crazy stuff that makes actors self-sabotage in the audition room and then stew in regret?

Well, often we recommend an audition class because everyone’s career lives or dies in the audition room or the self-tape. The thinking goes that if they can find the math in the audition and crack that code, then everyone's mortgage will get paid.

But what we see every casting session is that actors need more than just the tips and tricks. For one thing, those tips can be identified in a few minutes and might contribute to 10 percent of an actor’s success in an audition. And if we're all being honest, we know no formula exists anyway. If there were math in this, everyone would be doing it. No, it's art. It's fluid. No one really has the clear prescription, no matter what they promise.

What we do know is that an audition class or a workout class has to deal with the practical work of booking jobs, but even more importantly, it has to remind an actor how much she deeply loves the work, how fortunate she is to be an actor, that she has the power to move an entire room if she allows herself to be powerful, and that she must do the work of being a whole, happy person in order to kill the self-sabotage. An actor has to train her talent and do the work of getting out of talent's way.

It can feel counter-intuitive, but we know that actors book work when they move away from trying to find the math, lose all the desperate, insecure crap that gets in their way, and approach the work with love, passion, ferocity, and leadership, having the courage to make bold choices that separate them from the rest of the actors reading and desperately trying to get it right.

We all need some relief from the hideous sameness that is perpetuated by the business. Clones don't book mortgage-paying work. Leaders do.

Actors have to lead, in the room, in their careers, in their lives. This kind of leadership books work and nurtures healthy, strong relationships with reps, casting directors, and everyone else.

Our actors lead. That's what all our classes offer: hardcore, practical training as well as the tools to be a powerful, singular artist that casting directors will remember. Our fall line-up of classes is specifically designed for actors who lust after the work and will fight for their career. And of course, there are also BGB Studios’ ongoing weekly classes available to immerse yourself deeply in the work.

Ready to own the room? Check out our Los Angeles audition listings! And watch the video below for more advice from casting directors!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Author Headshot
Risa Bramon Garcia
For the past 40 years, Risa has worked as a director, producer, casting director, and teacher. Having directed two features—including “200 Cigarettes”—she has also directed for TV and dozens of plays in New York and Los Angeles. Her casting résumé includes more than 80 feature films and shows, and includes “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Fatal Attraction,” “JFK,” “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Affair,” “Masters of Sex,” and the original “Roseanne.” She is a founding partner of The BGB Studio, known for revolutionary acting training.
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Author Headshot
Steve Braun
Steve Braun is an acting coach, teacher, and communication consultant, drawing on years of acting, Buddhist practice, and martial arts training to help his clients discover and express their unique emotional truth. When he pursued an acting career, he starred in movies, was a series regular many times, and guest starred on numerous TV shows. He is a founding partner of The BGB Studio, known for revolutionary acting training.
See full bio and articles here!