An Actor on Where to Look When Recording Monologues for Taped Auditions

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Q: When recording monologues for taped auditions, do you face the camera and talk to the audience or face as if talking to someone off-camera?@ChrissyBartels, Backstage Community Forums*

This is such a great question. The answer depends on the situation.

What is the audition for? We often think of the monologue as something designed for theater, where the character breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly out to the audience. If you happen to be auditioning for the theater, breaking the fourth wall and looking directly into the lens would be acceptable as long as it’s indicated in the play. However, when taping a monologue for a film or television audition, you should adjust to adhere to a film and television format. In these, the character is almost always speaking to a specific person just off to the side of the lens of the camera. The camera helps create the illusion that the audience is peeking into the situation as it unfolds before us.

Where is your monologue from? If it’s from a film or TV script, you would only look into the lens if it was indicated. If your monologue is from a play but you are auditioning for film or television, adjust your approach. Based on the context of the story, you can make a choice about the person your character is talking to and place them just to the side of the lens. Adjusting theatrical monologues for film and television auditions is quite common and can prove to be a fun creative challenge!

There are also times when you may be asked by an agent, manager, or casting director to put a monologue on tape. Agents and managers sometimes ask for this simply as a tool to gauge your ability. It’s rare for casting directors to ask for this, but sometimes the script for the project is not available, or the director may have requested that actors do a monologue. In these cases, you should consider where the monologue is from when deciding whether to face the camera.

The next time you’re not sure where to look, consider these factors to help make your decision. 

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This story originally appeared in the Nov. 7 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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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.

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Greg Braun
Greg Braun is a professional actor and co-founded New Collective L.A. in 2009 along with Matthew Word with the mission of creating a nurturing and empowering conservatory-style acting studio in Los Angeles. Greg has previously taught for Susan Batson at her acting studio for more than fifteen years in New York and Los Angeles combined.
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