Monday, September 23, 2013

Auditioning, The Eyes Have It

I love directing and I love watching actors audition. I want to experience them as fully as possible with the material they've been given. I always provide sides to auditioners days in advance of the scheduled day. I want them to have a familiarity with the material; a period of time in which the material can sink in. For theatre auditions, rarely does anyone expect you to have the material completely memorized (as opposed to film).
For all you actors out there reading this please hear me on this. This one piece of advice I am about to give you can often have the largest impact on the casting director. GET YOUR HEAD OFF THE PAGE, AND SHARE YOUR FACE AND EYES WITH THE CASTING DIRECTOR. Please excuse all the capital letters, but I cannot emphasize this enough. No one wants to watch an actor read. We want to see you! We want to see your reactions, the subtle things, the magic that happens when the ideas and words express themselves in your face and body.
Now, in order to do this takes some practice. Here's how to do it.
1. Hold the script in one hand and keep it stationary throughout the entire scene or monologue so that you don't lose your place on the page.
2. Practice looking down with your eyes only to grab a phrase and stay in character while doing it. Try not to leave the reality of the scene.
3. Do not start talking until you have transitioned from getting the phrase off the page, to engaging with the reader or your scene partner.
Just by employing this one skill, you will be making a huge improvement in your auditioning results. At first you may be able to get only a few words at a time from the page, but as you get better at it, this will increase.
It's going to feel strange at first because you will feel slow and may stumble and have pauses in the wrong place. Don't worry, this will improve. And, it's better to be slow and perhaps a little awkward, than to have your head buried in the page.
If you agree, disagree, or have any other ideas please feel free to share them here.
Now get out there and show everyone you brilliance!