(PDF Download) Audition for Your Career Not the Job: Mastering the On-camera Audition Download
Creative teams that produce and cast film and TV productions want to work with actors they can trust to get the job done. Professionalism as an actor means showing up prepared to deliver the goods on the spur of the moment and under great pressure. That includes being on time for your audition and every subsequent engagement. They need to know that you care enough to take your work seriously. A lot of money is on the line whenever shooting is taking place—and they are always mindful of it. Your audition is a chance to show them that you are capable both of crafting an interesting human being and of discovering and developing the life of this character from the screenplay.
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They want to see how you would handle the role if it were yours today. What would you bring to this role that no one else could or did bring? Ideally, that's what your audition reveals. Tall, short, dark-skinned, light-skinned, young or old, high-pitched voice, low-pitched voice—some aspects of being are beyond transformation. But what's interesting about you on film is not just your appearance; it's also the information that your life has written into your body, which emerges from your crafting while you're performing.
Audiences like to watch the combination of you and your crafting. My definition of acting is being human in a human circumstance. When you begin to implement the techniques you'll read about in this book, you'll actually relax, be natural, and discover more interesting human behavior in front of the camera.
After all, you are a human being already. You don't have far to go! You're halfway to getting this job already. You just have to build an imaginative bridge between your own life and the life of the character you're being asked to portray. If you haven't studied acting yet, it is essential to find a teacher who can introduce you to the basic tools of acting. There are many methods and teachers to choose from; some are similar, some are not, but all lead to being capable on command of doing what an ordinary child of four instinctually does all day long, which is to play, daydream, and express what it would be like to be this or that person or tree, dog, cloud, banana, chimpanzee, extra-terrestrial… and so on.
For twenty years, I lived in New York and taught auditioning based upon The Meisner Technique, as a means for actors to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances. Following a move to Los Angeles, I developed the advanced approach to on-camera auditioning you are holding in your hands right now. This book does not offer basic instruction in acting. It is geared towards aspiring professional actors who have studied and are ready to audition because they feel prepared to deliver the goods on a film set or television sound stage.
That being said, I believe in actors receiving training no matter how talented they are. If they want to compete, they must attend technique and scene study classes in order to hone and refresh their skills. For the same reason, even longtime professionals seek advice from coaches. Needing expert coaching is as true for actors as it is for athletes and businesspeople. Even after actors finish their initial training, they need to continuously practice and refine their skills; anything they can do to stand out as special helps them.
If you keep working on your craft persistently, you will be in the position to out-craft the best buddy of the director or the producer's girlfriend when your shot at a role comes. You'll also be ready to out-craft well-known, highly-skilled performers. For certain, you'll be able to level the playing field. That's the real point of all this. Acting for the camera is different than stage acting. For one thing, it is much more intimate, which means the size of a performance has to be scaled for a narrower perspective. The frame of a camera in an audition setting is a picture frame that captures your head, arms, and upper torso.
There is no need to shout or gesture broadly to be seen or heard by someone sitting yards away, as they would be seated in the back of a theatre. Furthermore, the camera is a neutral observer. It records everything it sees and censors nothing. It reveals knowledge. If you are ambivalent or uncertain about the meaning of a line you're saying, or if you haven't made clear decisions about what you want, the stakes and urgency, and your relationship with the person you're speaking to, the camera shows it.
It's an X-ray, if you will, that reveals only what is there.
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In an on-camera audition, the text an actor works with is the script of a short scene usually only a few pages long , which is drawn from the screenplay and commonly referred to as the sides. Sometimes you get multiple scenes. The actor's first task before every performance—and an audition should definitely be viewed as a performance—is finding the human being, and the circumstance that the human being finds him or herself in, within the text.
An actor's second task before a performance is to do everything possible to fuse him or herself and the character, so the performance is the actor living the life of the character truthfully. For our purposes here, the word actor refers to males and females alike. Working in film or television is a lot like auditioning in that you sit around on the set or in your trailer for hours and then, suddenly, they want you now!
At that moment, you're expected to be ready to work. No one cares how late you were out the night before. No one cares if you're concerned about something going on at home. You've got to come out and do your two or more takes, possibly from various angles. You must be ready the minute the camera turns on. And if the director or a leading actor wants to do twenty takes of the same scene, you have to be able to deliver essentially the same performance consistently twenty times.
You have to be prepared. My goal is to help you develop your audition skills to the highest possible level by giving you all the tools you need for crafting successfully, pulling massive amounts of information from the sides very quickly, and delivering a performance even under pressure. I now live and run an acting studio in Los Angeles and teach in New York one weekend each month. One weekend, a friend came up to visit. We were hanging out fishing and drinking beers for a while.
Then I took him to the backyard to show him my new tool shed. By that point, I needed two sheds to hold my tools for gardening and fixing things around the place. When the first shed got full, I went out and bought the second one. I thought it was cool.
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My friend was duly impressed. Holy cow, Tim, you sure have a lot of tools! But then he shook his head from side to side in dismay and told me, You know, I don't buy tools. It's kind of a principle with me. The reason I'm telling you this story is not to point out that my friend was lazy although he might have been.
He just didn't share my passion for puttering. He wasn't interested in planting a garden and he didn't have a leaky roof to repair. He had no ambitions that would require him to own tools, and he liked it that way. The fact that you are reading this book tells me two things about you that would distinguish you from my friend.
First, you have an ambition of some kind… as an actor. Second, you're not yet getting the results you want from your auditions and you are seeking guidance. It's possible that you're being seen, but not being called back. Or you're being called back, but you're not getting cast. It's clear you take your career seriously because you're actively looking for tools, inspiration, and guidance that can change your results and help you live out your dreams of being a professional actor. In Audition for Your Career, Not the Job , I am offering you the equivalent of a full shed of tools for acting on camera.
But it is important for you to understand that these tools won't work for you—they simply won't help you to achieve your desired results—unless you buy into these ideas and then use them. If you are willing to apply these tools to the craft of acting and practice them regularly meaning on a near-daily basis , you'll soon get so good at integrating them into your audition performances that not only will the quality of your work improve, you will also be able to apply them and adjust your performance quickly and effectively on the spot or when you're under pressure. This will become so ingrained in you that it will feel like second nature.
(ebook) Audition for Your Career, Not the Job: Mastering the On-camera Audition
Once you can produce high-quality acting on the spur of the moment as is always necessary in an audition setting you can be confident that you will capture the attention of casting directors, directors, and producers. You may not get every job you go after, but you'll get some jobs. When the right part for you comes along, the people who have seen your work will give you a shot at winning the role. That's why I encourage you to shift the focus away from getting a job to inhabiting the character, this human being, as fully as possible.
Do it for yourself. Aim for producing superb performances over and over again. It's important to recognize that this will require patience and practice. According to social commentator Malcolm Gladwell, Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.
You want your career to be like an epidemic, for it to hit a tipping point where suddenly you're the commodity in high demand and you are prepared to capitalize on the moment of opportunity. That can occur by showing up and doing good work every time. Even if you don't get the first, second, or third job you audition for, be consistent and solid.
The quality of your work will be influential in bringing you back to the casting directors' attention. Casting directors understand quality when they see it. And their role in the production process is to bring the right actors to the attention of producers and directors. Little things make a big difference is the message of Gladwell's book, and I've found that principle to be true for auditions. Making clear and specific choices on every single line of a scene about every little thing underlying your character's human behavior adds up.
Five minutes of quality work in an audition setting can lead to a lifetime of opportunity for a professional film, television, and stage actor. Over the years, I invented a way of reading sides from a screenplay or play dialogue from your potential role that enables you to suck up all the information you need in order to craft an audition performance in one reading. So you can do it quickly. If you have four pages of dialogue and only fifteen minutes to prepare your role, with these techniques you could spend a minute per page sucking up information, and then spend the other ten minutes crafting the piece so that you would become the character inside the scene instead of remaining a member of the audience.
It is essential that you inhabit the human being you're portraying during the audition as fully as possible. For after all, this is a clear indication of what you would be like. This action might not be possible to undo. You will dig deep to discover your essence, your brand, your type, so you can teach casting directors how to cast you.
You will gain the confidence to OWN your social media. Audition Technique : Auditioning is a skill. You have to sharpen this skill if you are going to book more work. Instead, hone this skill and practice your technique in a safe space. Learn everything from proper warm-up routines, what to take to an audition, what NOT to do at an audition, to in-person vs.
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Sometimes you need a coach to take your talent to the next level and Christine has totally been that for me. No easy way out of training and pruning. After many years on the New York theater scene, she has educated me on ways to brand and market myself for TV and Film. Her methods are bold and fresh and she has challenged me to put myself 'out there' in new ways. I have begun to leverage genuine relationships I didn't even know I had to take my career to a whole new level.
Friends in the industry who see the progress my career is making are now eager to work with Christine. I am blown away by the amount of information and knowledge provided here. I mean, Christine Horn really pours out so much of herself to us each week. She really pushes and encourages each of us to not only be great actors through consistency, training, accountability and to be great stewards of our own careers but she also speaks life into us, helping us to be our best selves.
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Step by step technique and support, you can't beat that! I feel so blessed to be learning directly from such a hands-on, talented working actress. I will forever be indebted to Christine for the wealth of knowledge gained. Thanks for everything! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity. I've learned so much. The way she teaches makes you comfortable and wanting more.
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