In life, and in acting, it is my favorite word. Before walking into any important room you must know what you want. Why are you choosing moments of your valuable life to be there? You are walking in with your own personal worth. It must be of great value to you for it to be of value to those who happen upon your path. Your actions always back up your intention. In a casting room, it is never about what you say that books the job. It's about how those in the room feel once you have left it. It does not matter that a reader or casting director is not usually an actor. If you are doing your job correctly, a part of the people sitting in the room will feel like the other character. Your energy and performance should disturb their molecules. And that is what they will remember. With every line you speak you should ask yourself, "What is my intention?" Just as in life, every time we speak it's to get the other person to feel something, think something, say a certain thing, or do something for us. And when we speak we look at the other person to see if we are, in fact, achieving our intention. We don't presume. If we are achieving our intention, we begin to feel positive emotions, and if we are not, then that brings up an entirely different set of feelings.
Understanding the wide range of acting techniques is imperative. A broad knowledge of classic and contemporary styles allows the actor a myriad of tools to excavate his or her own truth. There is no right or wrong in acting. It is a process that reveals truth. Each technique is a bit like learning a different language that will open up an artistic world, allowing the actor a grander depth of collaboration with other actors and directors from different backgrounds. But technique without the art of intention can limit the level an artist can go.
When I am coaching an actor for an audition, I rarely read the sides in advance; I read only the character breakdown. I do this so I have no preset thoughts of the other roles. If you, the actor, are connected to your intention, you will create the feeling in me as the other character. You will begin pulling the other lines from me. You take me on the ride. When my students get to that level, when their energy has affected mine, I then know I am ready to send them to the audition, because they understand their own worth that they're bringing into the room. And so do all of those who are sitting there, waiting to receive them.
Constance Tillotson is the CEO of Sterling Studio, an acting-film studio for children and adults. She is an acting-motivational coach to award-winning actors and NBA players. She is also a manager at LA Management.