A CD Shares 1 Way to Deliver a More Emotional Performance

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In an audition, actors want to show every ounce and nuance of emotion. They believe delivering a full range of emotions shows they are an accomplished actor.

The fact is, being a great actor, an actor who can show emotion, is only one of the things we are looking for.

Robert De Niro once said, “People don’t try to show their feelings, they try to hide them.” Actors do not approach auditions in this way. They try to increase the emotion.

Think of the interviews on news programs. We see a distraught parent. Their child is missing. Their eyes swell with tears but they don’t let tears flow. They fight them. They hide them. They deliver a brave surface in the face of trauma.

And when we see a person experience that, we know they are hurting inside. They don’t show the hurt, but we see it. We feel their pain.

Actors fail to realize that if you feel it, the camera will see it. You don’t have to show it. You don’t have to indicate.

I have heard actors speak highly of actors because they can cry on cue. And yet, there is far more emotional impact if we see a person or a character fight back tears.

But an actor in an audition, prepares the sides and the dialogue ready to deliver a fantastic depth of emotion. I see that countless actors in the room.

In casting, we are looking for a version of the character that moves us. If you create a character that is carefully constructed, exhibiting a range of well considered emotions, you have delivered a performance—an actor creation, and not a character.

Ultimately, the director is looking for the character, and not solely an actor with a fabulous emotional range.

Quoting De Niro once more, “The talent is in the choices”—the choices you make as an actor. Beware of letting your passion for the performance drive you to deliver a heart-wrenching depth of emotion, when there is more impact in attempting to hide emotions.

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Greg Apps
Greg Apps is one of Australia’s most respected casting directors. In a career spanning 30 years, he has cast over 65 feature films.
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