Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your Audition Begins When

the first line is read? you slate? you enter the room? your name is called? you sign in? you enter the building? you get out of your car? you leave for the audition? you get your stuff together? you wake up that morning? you are notified of the audition? you...?

Perhaps I should point out that there are actually two auditions. The one everyone thinks of. You know, the one during which sides are read and you hope the powers that be see you as the character. And the one where you play yourself.

This is about the audition where you play yourself. And it is constantly happening. Constantly happening because you are consistently developing habits which define you. Habits which will come out on set, regardless of how careful you are to keep them in check. Not every set, but eventually because in the end we must be true to who we are.

How do you play yourself? Sorry, can't tell you. There are too many factors I don't know about you. I would, however, highly recommend knowing yourself. And I don't mean knowing the name on your driver's license. I think this is where a lot of celebrities get into trouble. They are constantly being the personality their agents, managers and public relations decided on instead of being their authentic self. Yes, it is possible to make your authentic self work in harmony with your brand regardless of how different they might seem at first glance. Because your authentic self is not a one note person and your brand should not be either.

What does being yourself have to do with auditioning? Whether you're playing the title character or Under Five refers to the number of syllables you speak, you will spend a lot more time as yourself. You are the character between "action" and "cut". The rest of the time, you are pretty much yourself.

Does this come into play during the casting process? Every CD could probably, from projects they worked on, list actors that have not been hired, or were fired, or won't get called into their office anytime soon because of the actor's behavior. The good news: You can develop any habit you want as well as break any habit you want. Yes, it will take work, but it is doable.

Think of it this way. Someone who tells inappropriate jokes, burps in peoples faces and belittles others asks you on a date. You'll probably say no. But let's say, for the sake of discussion, you say yes. And let's assume this someone genuinely tries to be the perfect gentleman or lady on the date. How long before that joke slips out? And you'll probably spend the evening waiting for a face full of burp.

You think I'm kidding or you can reach a level in which your personal behavior won't effect your acting career? Think again. Look at Charlie Sheen and Two and a Half Men. Judging from his salary, I'm guessing he did a superb job playing the character, but he was fired because of his personal behavior. (No idea what the "official" reason was, but I can assure you he would be filming an episode had he behaved differently.) About the only thing bigger is if something like Jerry Seinfeld being fired from Seinfeld had happened.

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