Learn How Selfishness In Your Work Ruins Your Audition
Let me start off by putting a stake in the ground by saying this:
YOUR CHARACTER'S NEEDS ARE NOT
THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.
Let me explain.
I have observed and coached actors for many years and there is one consistent quality in the work, especially in audition monologues, that both consciously and subconsciously turn off Casting Directors, thus limiting your chances of being selected for the role.
All well trained actors know that knowing your character's objectives is critically important. We know that if you don't have clear objectives, wants, desires, goals to fight for, that your work typically comes across scattered and mis-focused. Emotional for the sake of being emotional, but without purpose and intent.
During audition monologues, we love it when actors have urgency and passion for what they are fighting for and without that energy in the material, again, the audition piece typically misses the mark.
And whether or not a Casting Director can put their finger on what it is specifically that made them feel like the work was "ok" or "good", but did not pull them in, is irrelevant. The fact that they remained a disconnected observer of your work instead of an active participant in your emotional journey is what matters. Your job is to pull the Casting Director into your world so they have a transformative experience. When you accomplish that, you've given the Casting Director a gift that most actors do not.
Here's the secret to elevate your audition
from just "good" and just "emotional",
to "impactful", "compelling" and "transformative".
Get ready and put your ego away.
YOUR CHARACTER'S NEEDS ARE NOT THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS and if you deliver a monologue that is only "all about what you want", "what you need", "how you feel" and you remain unaffected by the imagined response from the other person you're talking to, then you plant the seed in the Casting Director's mind that you are SELFISH, that you lack EMPATHY and that you are UNAFFECTED by others. AND THIS IS ALL BAD NEWS.
Think about it like this. In your personal life, when you are having a heated and emotional encounter with someone important to you, there is an energy that flows back and forth between you and the other person. Both are affected by what each of you are saying and doing. It's never just Uni-Directional (You to Them, with nothing coming back in return) A heated encounter is always Bi-Directional (You to Them and then Them back to You and then again, You to Them and then again, Them back to You, and so on and so on).
And although one person may get the upper hand for a moment or two and the other person shuts their mouth for a moment or two and stops fighting back, THE NEEDS OF BOTH PEOPLE IN THAT ENCOUNTER MATTER EQUALLY. It is never the case that the needs of just one person is all that matters throughout the entire encounter. That is not true to life.
But, in most audition monologues, the actor makes it all about what they want, what they need, what they're fighting for and remain unchanged, unaffected, unaltered by the other person.
This typically happens because the actor is selfish or lazy and not taking the time to truly create the other person through their imagination and senses [hint hint - SENSE MEMORY IS A VITAL SKILL FOR ALL ACTORS TO MASTER], so it makes sense that it comes across to the Casting Director as your work is "ALL ABOUT YOU AND YOUR NEEDS".
But a Casting Director is looking at you as one piece of a larger puzzle of other actors/characters that have to fit together perfectly. And in life, people that make it all about themselves and their needs rub us the wrong way and we consciously distance ourselves from them.
The same holds true here. If all you show to the Casting Director in the audition is that you can get emotional and fight for what you want and NEVER stop to allow the imagined person's response to affect and alter you so that YOU are transformed by THEM as much as THEY are transformed by YOU, then you come across to the Casting Director as a SELFISH person (a selfish actor). And, again, people don't like to be around selfish people.
Now that we understand the problem, we can address it head on to transform you from coming across as selfish and shift more to someone who is full of passion, but equally full of EMPATHY.
It all starts with you first truly understanding your Objectives and why you are fighting for what you're fighting for. You must know what you want, why you want what you want, what is at stake if you succeed or lose, and why you need to reach your goals NOW.
Next, you must take the time needed to truly create the other person so they are 100% real to you. So real that you can not only see how they are responding to what you are saying and doing (in your imagination and with your senses of course), but that you allow yourself to open your heart and be truly affected and transformed by their response to you.
This takes great concentration, a powerful imagination, full access to your senses, and most certainly, an ability to be SELFLESS and EMPATHETIC to their needs - to put their needs on equal ground to your needs. To give their needs as much respect and attention that you are demanding from them of your needs.
You must strive to have balance between what you are fighting hard for and what you want, with what they are fighting for and what they want. Your needs are important, but never at the expense of true human connection. And true human connection is built on the premise that we both have value, we both have needs, we both deserve respect, and that we both matter.
If you can deliver an audition monologue that respects and honors your needs and the other person's needs, the Casting Director will think of you as an actor full of EMPATHY and UNDERSTANDING. And the thought of you being selfish won't even enter their mind.
And THAT is a beautiful thing.
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I hope this post has inspired you in some small way. I look forward to reading your comments.
Bye for now and Stay Safe My Fellow Travelers.
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