It may come as something of a surprise to you, but regardless of whether you’re auditioning for on-camera or voiceover, you’re not likely to get much direction… at all.
So, what gives? Don’t they know what they want?
To answer the question, yes, they do have an idea of what they want, however, as confusing as it may seem, casting directors, producers and potential clients typically want YOU! They want to see what YOU would do with what they’ve given you. (i.e. “Conversational. Real. Natural.”) Not what you think they want from you. You’re the ultimate variable in the production equation, simply because no one does what you do quite the way you do it.
They want you to surprise them with something extraordinary. They want you to think outside the box, use what they’ve given you as a jumping off point and become a valuable member of the creative process. So, rather than waiting for them to mold and shape you into one person’s vision of a single, solitary take that barely fills the bill, you need to be prepared to surprise even yourself.
Believe it or not, that takes practice.
As talent we must risk. And not just in our day-in, day-out running the daily operations of our careers (which we do—it’s imperative to act on the opportunities that come your way, however meager), but also in every session, on every set, in every booth, audition, and with every take… it’s imperative you make a habit of challenging your comfort zone. In doing so you will come to trust your impulses, gain greater confidence in your ability to simply ‘play’, and allow discovery to become one of your greatest assets. This is a key component to making you skillful.
In fact, developing your ability to self-direct is a vital component to making yourself a valuable talent. It’s in part why as talent we continually train. Like athletes we need to stay sharp.
This is how we develop agility and confidence in ourselves as talent instead of obsessively wondering about what someone we’re auditioning for, whom we may never meet in person, is thinking, which is an impossible proposition. (I don’t recommend it. Ever.)
Your objective with every performance is to confidently walk into the audition as if it were the session, and give them something interesting to think about within the context of the piece.
The truth is, they aren’t thinking about anything—yet. You’re there to supply your skill and imagination, not the other way around. Besides, you’re going to have an interesting thought, I promise you. You have them all the time! Allow a few of them into your performance. It’s why you’re there. You’re paid to have a pulse.
Best rule of thumb: head in to every audition and every session prepared to play.
Copyright © 2018 by Kate McClanaghan. All Rights Reserved.