There are many, many different commercial audition scenarios. Just when you think you’ve experienced them all, I guarantee there will be a new curveball thrown your way. And it’s part of the fun, yes? But there are consistent scenarios that you can expect to encounter on a regular basis and those are the ones you want to know how to handle like a pro. If you are a commercial actor, you will be partnered up and placed into families on a regular basis. There are ample opportunities to shoot yourself in the foot when attending a family or partner audition, and I’m not sure actors always know when they are doing it. So let’s discuss.
Okay, so you’ve gotten your audition sides. You’re lucky enough to have 48 hours to read them, research the role and get at least functionally off book. You’ve worked with coaches and friends, mouthed the words over and over at the coffee shop, on the train, in the cab, at the supermarket and in the waiting room. You’ve got this puppy nailed. You take a breath enter the room, smile at the casting director, reader and anyone else present, get a polite-to-warm response, deliver the sides the way you’ve done them literally a million times and you hear … “that was great, but I just want you to bring more of yourself to it, loosen up, have more fun with it,” or some version thereof. Your brain blasts the music from the shower scene in “Psycho,” and you politely say “Okay! Got it!” But in your head you’re thinking, “What do they mean ‘myself?’” “What did I miss?” “What should I do differently?” “I don’t know what they want!” “I’m sure they didn’t say that to the other actors!” “What am I gonna do now!?”
A neutral performance or audition is a bad audition. You need to get to the point where you know if your performance is too big or too neutral.
Acting too big and too over-the-top is a legitimate concern, resulting in a performance that is fake and not connected. However, I’m finding that when some people bring their performance to what they think is “real,” what is actually happening is their performance becomes neutral. A performance this is neutral reveals no personality and results in us not knowing who you are. Revealing nothing gives us no chance to like or dislike you. You need to cause us to react to you. You can’t let yourself disappear.
Nothing is more exciting than the words, “You’ve got an audition!” And at the same time, that phrase can make your pits sweat, heart race and anxiety course through your blood! There are many moments in the business of entertainment and life as an entrepreneur, that require balls out courage and showing up with confidence. It’s imperative to utilize these anxious feelings and make them our bitch.
With a number of dietary and lifestyle choices that ease anxiety and nervousness, it would almost seem like self-sabotage to make choices that encourage these crappy feelings. As a performer, or anyone who wants to take control of their emotions, what we put into our bodies not only feeds our cells but our brains too! So, let’s stock up that noggin with the essentials needed to make anxiety lose the job!
How to transform this self-defeating habit into a powerful tool for success
It’s easy to fall into the habit of being self-critical, thinking that being hard on yourself will lead to success. You’re encouraged to be perfect, productive and most of all a winner. There’s nothing wrong with having goals in life. But, some people have difficulty knowing when to ease up on themselves and stop the continuous self-criticism. If you are in the self-judgment mode most of the time, you are actually hindering your chances of achieving your goals. Taking yourself to task when you make a mistake, saying damaging things like “I can’t believe how stupid I am,” actually creates fertile ground for more failures to occur.
HOLLYWOOD WON’T CHANGE FACE UNTIL YOU FACE CHANGE
Seems like the only one that doesn’t see your beauty
Is the face in the mirror looking back at you.
QUESTIONS: I read an article where Hollywood was having a hard time finding actors in their fifties and even sixties, because of the Botox in their face; they were expressionless. I just hope we become a society where the talented get to act, regardless of imperfections on the face. Do you think Hollywood is facing this change?
Come on! It’s Hamilton. Musical Theatre geeks across America have either already made the trek to New York, the theatre homeland, and spent their life savings on tickets, or they’ve waited impatiently for it to arrive at the major metropolitan city closest to them. The fine folks in Chicago and San Francisco have had their turn and, well, it’s finally time for Los Angeles. And we are EXCITED.read more
I don’t know whether it’s being a September baby, someone who doesn’t tolerate heat well, or just a plain old nerd, but my favorite season has always been fall, a.k.a. Back-to-School season. Just like the new chronological year, a new school year speaks of possibilities, potential, and other great, clean-slate things.
Even though we don’t live with academic years as adults, we can borrow the best of those good old school days to rejuvenate our acting lives. Because doing the same thing with no variation can lead to a lackluster approach, and acting hardly thrives on that. Here are a few ways to add some new-year newness, starting now.read more
It’s so easy to get caught up in the c-word. Oh, ya know, comparison. Even when we achieve impressively high goals, we don’t stay in that feeling of accomplishment as long as we should. It takes one measly scroll through Facebook to instill feelings of inadequacy and maybe even anger. Or is that just me? Lol. Then we wonder, “Does he/she ever feel this crappy emotion too? Maybe they’ve just got it all figured out?” Unfortunately, since we are all human, these emotions come and go. But, it’s about letting them go fast and minimizing how often they come.
I don’t know who the heck originally said this phrase, but they are spot on. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Makes total sense, right? You book a guest star on your favorite comedy and could not be happier. That is, until you read the #blessed #actorlife post of your fellow classmate who snagged the lead in a short film. This comparison literally robs the joy from our own life and radiates negative energy out. This can be applied to all areas of life, not just entertainment. Why do we think the grass is greener when we’ve all got weeds the neighbors can’t see? Believe me, I suffer from this thinking too! The forward movement comes from focusing on our own growth, accomplishments, the small things that make us really happy and practicing gratitude. These healthy habits shift our vibe and mindset.
You might be familiar with the idea of “being impeccable with your word”. It comes from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. Or perhaps Robert De Niro’s character in Meet the Parents and the “circle of trust” talk with his future son-in-law played by Ben Stiller may be more familiar to you. Surely one, if not both rings a bell and strikes a chord. Trust, and your impeccable word plays a huge part in your reputation as a commercial actor. You gotta keep your word. Period.