Gearing up for pilot season, actors always have hundreds of questions. Here are a few with some simple, straightforward answers—answers that always bring us back to self and what it is that we have to contribute as artists, storytellers, and people.
The most important thing to remember is that it all comes down to trust. You have to trust that there is something unique about you (or sexy or weird or dangerous), and the casting director will see that. Whatever these intrinsic qualities are (which we all possess), you have to trust that people see it without you feeling you have to “show” them.
It’s called your essence.
It’s also about perception. Let people project onto you what they want. That’s part of the mystery of what it is to not only be an actor, but to simply be alive. We make up stories in our heads about who we think we know people to be, only to discover that humanity in general—and individuals in our own lives specifically—continues to surprise us.
1. How can I make choices and still allow myself to be spontaneous? Spontaneity is the fullest expression of the strongest choice. And that comes only by being available fully to the moment. You also don’t trust that your choices—based in the moment of how you choose to react—are interesting, so then you either second-guess your choices (which leaves you neutralizing yourself) or you overwork them because you don’t believe that your way of interpreting material is enough.
2. What happens when a casting director asks me to recreate something? Then recreate it. It doesn’t mean that your inner life won’t be slightly altered. It will. You’re still having a different moment-to-moment experience even if it’s ever so subtle. You distrust that fully listening to what you’re hearing won’t slightly change you each time. It does. That’s like saying hello the same way to everyone you meet everyday. Well, at one level you may say hello a lot, but with each circumstance and each interaction it’s slightly altered. So trust that you can hit your marks the way you are directed to hit them, but in the experience of the moment, you will be affected differently.
3. Why don’t I feel free when I audition? I do my “homework” but then can’t let it go. Because you’re too consumed with “Is it right?” “Is it correct?” “Is it too much?” “Is this what they’re looking for?” “What will they say?”
Do it your way and something will come out of it. Great casting directors see when there is a spark of genuine life force within a person. If you don’t allow yourself to do it your way, they can’t see anything. They want you to be genius, but you have to give yourself permission. Not them (or anyone else for that matter). When you start to do that, unapologetically, you’ll not only start having a lot more fun in auditioning, but you’ll also start booking a whole lot more.
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