Have you ever wondered, "How do I create chemistry with my scene partner in the audition room?" I'm sure this thought has crossed your mind or you wouldn't have clicked the link to read this blog post. Guess what? You're not alone. This, along with other questions like, "What should I wear to the audition?", "Should I wear the same outfit for the callbacks?", "Should I bring my sides into the audition or show them how amazing my memorization skills are?", "Should I shake the Casting Director's hand?", etc are some of the most common questions actors ask their friends, their teachers and of course at all of the Meet & Greet Workshops. For now, this blog post will only explore the question of Creating Chemistry with your scene partner. We will cover the other topics in other blog posts. OK...let's get to it.
You're at the audition, in the room, and you're supposed to have some chemistry, some spark with the other actor, but you've just met, you're nervous, they're nervous and there are just too many obstacles in your way and too much pressure and tension that are all creating blocks and disconnectedness. All of this sabotages your ability to actually connect with and create chemistry with your scene partner, so...before you even start thinking about applying a specific craft technique to create the chemistry, YOU MUST REMOVE ALL OBSTACLES AND TENSION SO YOU CAN BE PRESENT AND READY TO CONNECT.
TENSION IS THE ACTOR'S NEMESIS
If you do not already have a Relaxation process, you must acquire one immediately. Tension, at some level, will block your ability to connect with your senses, your imagination, your emotions, your instrument and of course, with your scene partner. There are three amazing Relaxation guided meditations inside the TOOLBOX. If you're not a member yet, please check it out. I would love for you to learn what's inside the TOOLBOX.
So, let's now assume that you have reached a complete state of relaxation and you are now ready and present. Here are 7 different Craft Techniques that can help you Create Chemistry. Please just let this be the start of your journey to find the tools that work for you. There are so many more amazing techniques inside the TOOLBOX.
This is the most obvious, but often, the most overlooked. Available Stimulus means using what is actually present with you right in the moment that naturally impels the desired response in you without you having to do anything other than open your heart up and be willing to receive and be effected. In other words, if you need to be attracted to the other person and you find them sexy, beautiful, hot, seductive, alluring, sensual, etc, and all of these are your natural feelings about the other person, well you would be a fool to not simply allow your body's natural response to lead you. Just be present. Look them in the eyes, breathe, feel exactly what they make you feel and simply trust your body's impulses. If your body tells you to smile and flirt, do it. If your body tells you to be shy and play hard to get, do it. Trust your body. Your body knows what to do long before your head figures it out. But of course, always be respectful and never cross any physical/sexual boundaries that have not been agreed upon beforehand. Available Stimulus is by far the clearest and fastest path to the desired level of chemistry if in fact the other person impels that response in you naturally. You don't have to really do anything other than share how they make you feel through the words of the script. What could be easier?
Now we are working our way towards being a smart actor. Let's say that you do not have the option of Available Stimulus and you still need to create chemistry. Well, here's a craft option for you. Can you find 1 quality or attribute (physical, emotional or behavioral) on the other person that you are attracted to? Perhaps the entirety of the other person does not arouse in your the desired chemistry, but you noticed that they have the most interesting hazel-green eyes. Or perhaps their choice in clothing is something you truly admire. Maybe they have just the kind of hairstyle that you find attractive. Perhaps they are wearing perfume or cologne that you're drawn to. Perhaps you find their personality attractive. I hope you get the point. Select the 1 thing on or about them that you are drawn to focus your initial attention on just that 1 thing. And over time, slowly expand from that 1 thing to their entire body so you are taking all of them in. And of course, if during the scene, things seem to die down, well, just refocus on that 1 thing you were originally drawn to and stay with it again until you've recaptured your initial attraction to it. Obviously, you still need to be natural and not just stare at their dimples the whole time. You need to be a bit covert about it. The point here is that if the entirety of the other person does not trigger the chemistry in you, then find the 1 specific thing on or about them that does and start from there.
A QUICK COMMENT ABOUT SENSE MEMORY
The next three craft tools require you to have some level of mastery with Sense Memory. If you are unfamiliar with Sense Memory, you should do everything possible to learn and master this critically important acting craft tool. It is a foundation craft technique that so much of what we do as actors is built upon. I teach Sense Memory inside the TOOLBOX, so please consider joining to learn more. But even if you do not join, please do your own research and study and master Sense Memory. It will serve you for the rest of your career. OK- assuming you have some mastery over the Sense Memory process and you have the ability, through your senses, to create things that are not present so that those sensorily created objects impel in you the desired response, the next three craft techniques are incredibly powerful to help you create chemistry.
This is probably one of the most familiar and widely used approaches, but it does not come without it's own inherent risks that you must be aware of. Obviously, what we are talking about here is using your senses and imagination to substitute someone else in place of the person you're acting with and the hope and intent is that this substituted person will trigger in you the desired chemistry and then the folks running the audition will perceive that chemistry to be between you and the other person, and not with some imagined/substituted other person. And that is where there is a risk. Yes, you can use this approach effectively, but you must do two things at once. You must be effected by your created person, but you also must still listen and respond truthfully in the moment and work off of the real person in front of you. You cannot get so wrapped up in the substitution that you either miss the reality (the Available Stimulus mentioned above) right in front of you, or you react to things you've created in your imagination that the people in the room do not see. So use this one with a bit of caution and intelligence so that you don't get too lost in your make believe world of replacing hot movie stars for the plain person in front of you. And circling back to the comment above about Sense Memory - in order to truly create this other person that you will use as your substitution, you must understand and have mastery of Sense Memory to really do this technique with success. If you just try to do it with generalities and just wing it, what you will create is a foggy, muddied version of the person you wish to create that really won't effect you in the way you hope. Bottom line...learn Sense Memory.
Here again, we are going to be using our senses and imagination, but this time, instead of creating a whole person to substitute, we are going to create qualities and attributes on the other person that do not exist, with the intent that the sensorily created endowments will stimulate the response of chemistry that we desire. As an example, lets say the person you're working with has short dark brown hair and their hair does not stimulate anything in you. Through your sense, you can endow them with long blond or red full-bodied wavy hair that seems to bounce and light up the room. You actually endow them with that feature through your mastery over Sense Memory and by doing this, you all ow your body to respond to the sensorily created endowment, which results in the desired chemistry. Perhaps you can endow them with piercing blue eyes, or deep mocha-colored skin, or a strong jawline, or a tattoo that you like, or large muscles/breasts, or full sensual lips, or a scent of fragrant perfume/cologne, etc. Through your senses, you endow the other person with qualities and attributes that trigger the chemistry in you and then you allow your body to respond and then you put that response right back into the truthful give and take between you and the other person. But, the same caution as above applies here. Always ensure you are living truthfully in the moment and working off your partner as well as the sensorily created endowment.
Once again, using your senses and imagination, you speculate and allow your speculations to trigger the chemistry. What can you speculate about? Well, here are just a few thoughts to get you thinking.
If I ran my fingers through their hair, what would that sensation feel like?
I speculate that it would feel like soft strands of silk gently caressing my fingers and palm.
If I got close enough to put my nose near their neck and take in a deep breath, what would I smell?
I speculate that I would smell a sweet scent of coconut and that would make me feel warm and drawn to them.
If they embraced me in their arms what would it feel like to have our bodies pressed against each other?
I speculate that I would feel the contour of their body and the warmth would relax me and I would feel safe, protected and loved. I would feel their heart beating and our breathing would slowly become synced.
And on and on and on. So you can see that by asking speculative questions and allowing our sense to respond, we can evoke in us the desired chemistry...so long as we are asking the leading speculative questions that will bring us to the desired result. Clearly if I asked a speculative question like "What would it feel like if they punched me in the ribs?" This would likely NOT lead me to the desired chemistry, so...I have to be smart and ask appropriate questions.
DIRTY SEXUAL THOUGHTS
And now we get to the one I know you've all been waiting for. I suspect that many of you scrolled down and are reading this one first, which I suppose is exactly what I might do too, so I'm not offended or surprised, but I would say that you should scroll back up and read from the top down, because there are some amazing craft tools explained above. OK, now onto the juicy stuff....
If you want to create sexual chemistry with this stranger across from you at your audition, look no further than Ivana Chubbuck's amazing acting book "The Power of the Actor" - You can pick up a copy through our STORE too. Turn to Chapter 14 (page 228) "Creating Sexual Chemistry" and learn from a true master teacher. I will summarize her approach, but I strongly recommend learning this one from the source. What Ms. Chubbuck advises to create sexual chemistry is to do what you can in advance if possible and try to find common ground, common experiences, something to bond you at an emotional, experiential level. Once you've established that level of connection, commonality, and can truly see that shared experience in their eyes, the sexual chemistry that layers on top is more readily attained and more deeply experienced. The deep chemistry comes from something more than just raw sexual attraction. At it's core, Ms. Chubbuck's approach it to simply allow yourself, while you are actively listening and responding during the audition, to have very detailed and explicit sexual fantasies with the other person actively involved in the fantasy. And don't be predictable and safe in your sexual fantasy. Get raunchy. Get nasty. Imagine things you've never done sexually and allow yourself to experience them with full intensity. Feel and experience the other person doing things to your body that no one has ever done to your body before. Imagine doing sexual things to their body that you've never done before, but always wanted to try. Fantasize, Fantasize, Fantasize. Be present, take them in, work off of them and allow all that sexual energy to pass back and forth between you and the other actor. OK. Time for a cold shower :-)
Well, that brings us to the end of this long blog post, but it was a truly important topic and I sincerely hope that you got value out of the 7 craft tools explained above to help you create chemistry. If you liked hat you read, please leave a comment below and please share this blog with your actor friends. And if you're not already a member of the Toolbox, please consider joining. There is so much more inside the toolbox explained on so many videos. If you liked this post, you will love what's inside, so come join us.
I hope this post has inspired you in some small way. I look forward to reading your comments.
Bye for now,
See you inside the Toolbox.