So what’s been going on after the first book!?!?  Here’s a little promo image and some news!  Click on the link above.

PREPARING TO ACT: For Auditions – Present & Comfortable

Disclaimer, at the end….

I’m not in the mood
If you’re not in the mood, and you don’t really want to be there, maybe you shouldn’t be there, but if you DO want to be there, then you need to start adjusting your attitude and perspective so you are.  This is something actors need to do ALL the time, to get themselves in the mood to do or be something they currently are not.  *This may involve some acting, but if you’re gonna fake it,.. fake it to make it.  Meaning, only fake so much, at first, to get yourself to where you would be if you were your best, and let it take over when you’re there.

In the end, just … Connect with yourself.

Be present and comfortable, the rest will follow.
So true. This is very important for life in general, but integral for acting and auditioning!  It almost doesn’t even matter if you have the material for the audition prepared, IF you are not mentally and physically prepared.  YES, ofcourse it matters, BUT, what I’m trying to get accross is, all that prep work won’t mean anything if you can’t do it to the best of your abilities.  Sometimes, I find it’s better to be present and ready, than it is to say, run things over in my head over and over again before an audition.  It’s either going to be there or not, and it’s MORE likely to BE there, if YOU are there,.. present and grounded.  So, yes, do prep, learn lines and figure out your emotional transitions, and practice them a bit earlier, but when you’re getting ready to head out to the audition, you start to prep yourself mentally and physically, to be present and connected.  I’m going to refer to that as being ‘comfortable’ because that’s what it’s all about, to be completely be in your element, and comfortable to do anything it is you need to do.

Quickly I’m going to talk a little about preparing to play a character, say for an audition,.. Use the sides you’re working with to create an impetus from which to create your character’s story.  Where are you, were are you coming from, what is your state of mind, how old are you, what do you look like, what are you wearing, how do you walk, what is your general attitude, what do you believe in, who are you, why are you here, what’s time of day, what is the environment, what do you see, or smell, who are you talking to, who could this person be in your own life?  What is this scene trying to say, what is it you are trying to get across, what is the tone of this project, is it super realistic and you need to play things down, or is it super heightened, and stylized?  What do you want, what do they want, etc.  Asking all these questions and let a whole story play out in your head as if you were reliving a memory.  Fantasize the circumstances, see images, hear sounds, feel everything out.  How does EVERYTHING make you feel?!?  Basically, you are creating the inner life, the interior monologue in the context for your character.

I may talk more about all of that in-depth in another post in the future.  Right now, it’s just what comes to mind, when I think to prepare.

Like I said earlier, sometimes it’s more important to be comfortable, to be READY to perform you best, than it is to have practiced lines, and focusing on getting lines right before the audition.  What if there aren’t any sides?!  Well, then what’s left, and what I’m suggesting is to just focus on being comfortable, after you’re done whatever character or scene work that is needed for the audition.

How do I get myself to be comfortable?!?  And I don’t necessarily mean, comfortable like if you were drunk, with confidence and not self-conscious, worrying or caring about what others think, leaving you free to your thoughts and words.  Though your drunk mentality can be useful for that sense of confidence, I’m not talking about drinking before an audition.  I’m talking about how to get yourself, personally, mentally and physically THERE, present and focused, and ready to be your best, versus getting prepared for your character.  This is about preparing to BE; to be present, and BE you!

First I’d say, if you’re having trouble, adjust your attitude, and perspective or “fake it to make it,*” as I mentioned before.  No need to waste your time, if you’re not ‘there’ yet, fake it first.  Do whatever it is you have to do to get to where you are when you’re the most comfortable and confident, where you feel you can tackle anything; and you’re really really grounded and present.  Maybe you need shake it up a bit, and get out of your head.  Maybe get into your body a little first, wear it out, with some exercise.  Do anything to engage your body and connect your physical self to your emotional self.

Maybe then you get yourself emotionally connected, grounded and focused, so then you have something emotionally to work with in connecting with your body more later.

For me, to mentally be present and focused, I often listen to music that normally would move me, something that I have connected to, and I listen to it, over and over, until I can connect with it on the level in which it would move me.  Normally that means I listen to a song or songs, until I can REALLY hear it;  hear what it’s saying, feeling every note and lyric of the song, connecting to the ideas and words.  It’s a shortcut, a guide to getting your self present by following the thoughts, ideas and associations presented in a song and lyrics.  You begin to tell yourself a story, and creating imagery of what those words mean to you, who the song is about to you, etc.  Maybe you pick a song that would fit the character; that represents their inner life.  That’s when you really connect.  Otherwise, without music, I would say to do the same thing, but without a guidance a song may provide.

Don’t over think it
Before going to the audition, stop worrying about everything else in your life.  Stop worrying about the audition, the scene, the lines, etc, all the technical stuff and prepare yourself emotionally.  Maybe it’s getting into the emotional life of the character if there are sides or a breakdown.  Regardless, really truly try to enjoy yourself, otherwise, you’re going to come off as trying too hard.  Don’t try so hard.  What I mean, when I say that is when we try to SHOW our emotional life, or we really try to ‘feel’ so that we can connect.  Maybe you just don’t, fuck it, just don’t burn it.  Don’t just throw it away, unless it works, and makes sense for the character.  Less is always more, and sometimes throwing something away is a good choice, or atleast an interesting one.  If that’s not what you want, then like I said, fake it till you make it, you just have to not try too hard to fake it, or they’ll see it ha ha.  It may be hard to do it on the spot, but if you know in advance you’re gonna have difficulty connecting, and you’ll have to fake a little, try to have it connect to something internally, so that it’s informed by something organic.  Remember to be a real person, a person who breathes, and isn’t perfect in delivering every line, as quickly as possible.  Sometimes it’s ok to take your time to find a slight connection, it’s human, and that’s what they want to see.  They want to see someone who can portray a human, with emotional life, even if it’s wrong for the character or not what they’re looking for.  Your goal is to have a choice and connect, otherwise, they’d hire a robot.  At the end of the day, fuck it, you have to enjoy yourself!  If anything, that is the only way to do it.  You won’t have fun, if you’re not comfortable, and you will NOT connect.  Don’t put an importance on whomever is casting.  Your feeling ‘comfortable’ is of utmost importance.  You want to do your best, that’s your goal.  And then when you don’t, move on, don’t dwell too long and beat yourself up.  Let go of the toxic idea of its importance.  You weren’t ready, so start now, for the next one.

So complicated right?
The key I think is, fuck it.  Be and feel comfortable, and don’t fake anything if you can help it, so long as you’re tactful, and not disrespectful or judgmental.  Be honest.  If you really connect to YOU, others will really connect to you.  Don’t try to connect to what you THINK they want, just focus on connecting to you.  Be you, anyone can play what we think people want to see, but no one can be you.  So be genuine.  I mean, you want people to like you and connect to you, for YOU, cause that’s what make you different, otherwise, you will probably be the same as anyone else who trying t be what they think they want them to be.  Boring.

I try to be me, and try not to be aggressive, kissing up, or be fake.  Some may say it’s better to be aggressive, as the end game is to make a professional connection, so it’s a game, and you have to hook them in.  I see others who are super confident, and are aggressive, and it seems to work for them.  I want my work to speak for itself, and I don’t want to come across desperate, so I let things happen organically.  But maybe they’re right.  Maybe I’m not aggressive enough.  Maybe it speaks of my own confidence.  Maybe, my fear of being aggressive is just my insecurity of being judged.  In that case, I’m really losing out and should practice being more aggressive no?  I think another way to look at it is to do your best to be confident, to be at your best, and let it lead you, may it be considered aggressive or not, atleast then it’s organic.

Connect with the other actor(s), or more realistically the reader
Make eye contact, but don’t stare either.  Look to where your heart takes you.  What I mean, is to let your eyes land where they land when your focus is on being really connected to what you’re saying, not talking superficially, but feeling what you’re saying.  Real people don’t stare into eachothers eyes when talking.  Try not to fidget, don’t look all around, etc unless your character is scatter-brained.  Listen and watch for body language, and micro-expressions, and react accordingly, unless it’s deviating from the script.  Try to make everything as organic as possible.  Let it flow, don’t force anything,… except for when you have to take what is given to you by a reader into something that you can use.  Sometimes, your reader isn’t going to give you what you need to react to, so you have to have that prepared in your mind and body, which only really looks real if you’re connected to the material.

In the room with the casting person
Not saying anything to the casting person is a double edge sword. If nothing comes to you, it should be ok.  Don’t panic.  You should feel ok about that, otherwise, you’ll look like you’re trying too hard.  On the other hand, it might make them feel uncomfortable, forcing them to carry on a conversation, if you just don’t have a response.  Sometimes, it’s part of their way of differentiating you from others.  Getting to know you.  A feel for who you are, which informs them to whether they feel you are right for a role.  Or, they may be ok with not saying anything also, especially if they are stressed, and behind.  Normally, I kinda feel for it.  I prefer to try to say something casual, when it comes to me, like it does in real life when I’m my best, to set the tone, for myself, to maintain my comfort level.  Keep it casual.  Formality is what can mess you up sometimes, just be tactful.

The attitude and perspective adjustment here is that’s you’re here, for a reason, you might as well enjoy yourself.

I have to say that, most of what I write is just off the top of my head.  I rarely edit, outside of organizing my thoughts a little bit more in hopes that it’ll be atleast readable.  So, I’m sorry if some of this comes off like a journal entry flow of consciousness, preachy, or repetitive



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s