Feeling Word

Now that you have one subject word per beat, you must determine the feeling word per beat. What is the feeling word Like the subject word, the feeling word is the word that gives you an association for the beat, but in this case, it states the overall emotions of the beat. It is the word that best describes the character's feelings on the subject during the beat. Once again, there are no right or wrong answers, just choices. I can't stress this enough. This is not a test or a scavenger hunt for...

Avoid Subtext

There is a place for subtext in an audition, but I believe that actors need to be careful of overusing it. Because I am fearful of overuse, my advice for all actors is to avoid subtext during their first audition for a specific role. In the chapter about the major objective, I explained that one of the advantages of the major objective is that it creates a natural level of subtext. However, that subtext is directly related to what the character wants, and its use is subtle. Sometimes even the...

Your Callback Audition for a New Role

Earlier, I mentioned that the key to a successful career and auditioning is the recognition that it is a long, ongoing process. You need to remember this as a motto for enduring success. Most actors do not receive a callback for the first role they audition for with a specific casting director, but instead receive one in the form of a new opportunity for a completely different role. When the casting director has a new role two weeks, two months, two years down the...

How to Remind Yourself

There are two pieces of advice that I have for dealing with breathing. One is to arrive at your audition at least twenty minutes before you're scheduled to actually audition. If you arrive early, you can sit, relax, refresh yourself on your choices, and take the time to acknowledge where your breathing is. Life is hard enough, and it makes us put up natural defense mechanisms to close off the outside world. Actors rushing around New York City are rushing around not breathing because if they...

Major Objective Creates a Natural Level of Subtext

This is a little advanced, but I am going to write it here anyway. An additional benefit to the major objective is that it creates a natural level of subtext. If the Woman acknowledges that her major objective is to confront her husband, then all of the beats will be flavored with that understanding. For example, the Man wants to go to dinner and his wife does not. Perhaps she does not want to go to dinner because she feels she may not be able to achieve her major objective at dinner...

Spontaneity and Listening

After the application of an audition technique, after all the work during the On the Clock phase of preparation, after all the memorization, and after the choices you have embodied, you still need your audition to be fresh. This is difficult. If you have worked on a play, you will know that it is almost inevitable that, at some point during the rehearsal process, the company hits a wall everyone's choices seem stale, and the energy of the work seems to be dulled. This is natural, and easily...

Sample Workbook Submission

Below, please find an example of how an actress could fill out the workbook forms if she had an audition for the woman in the audition scene used throughout this book ADDRESS OF AUDITION 44th Street, New York, NY 1. Did you break the scene down into beats Yes. 2. How many beat changes did you have Three. 3. Do you feel like you identified all of the beat changes Yes. 4. Do you feel like you inserted too many beat changes No. I feel confident that I identified all of the beat changes. If I had...

Pick up Your Cues

A technical answer to how to dictate the scene's pace would be that you must drive the scene by picking up your cues. Don't allow a significant amount of dead air between the reader's line and your own. A great metaphor for this is playing catch with the reader. This is a basic acting exercise done in most beginning acting classes, where the person who has the first line in the scene begins with a ball in her hand. When she says her line, she tosses the ball to her scene partner. The same game...

Significance of the Major Beat Change

There are several significant reasons for locating the major beat change. The first, and most important, is how it affects the acting component. Typically, in the real world at my office, an audition would not be going well, when all of a sudden something special would happen. There would be a very clear moment that would stand out and grab my attention. This was usually a very subtle moment. However, in the subtleness of the moment, I would be moved, and the actor would suddenly be extremely...

Dont Forget to Breathe

Many young actors make the mistake of forgetting to do something in their auditions that we do every minute of every day breathe. Many actors forget to breathe. They don't pass out from this, but many simply do not regulate their breathing properly for an audition. This is directly related to nerves and vulnerability. Oxygen carries emotions in it. If you ever watch anyone who is very emotional, weeping and sobbing, she does not really crescendo her emotions until she starts to take deep...

An Audition is Not a Performance

It is not a mini-performance, either. A performance is the furthest thing from what an audition should be. It is also not a scene or a workshop opportunity. It is not class. It is a business interview where actors are going to be evaluated for their acting talent and their appropriateness for a given character. In my opinion, most actors come to an audition with the idea that they have to put on a performance. This is not the best approach, because it is nearly...

Building a Relationship with the Casting Director

As a professional actor, you must develop relationships with the casting directors who give you your auditions. The relationship with a casting director begins with your first audition and is then measured by the amount of actual return auditions you have for that same casting director. This relationship is strictly a business relationship. It is vital for an actor, no matter what coast he is on, to learn which casting directors are working at which offices on that coast. You must then start to...

Daniel Cosgrove

Daniel Cosgrove (DC) plays the role ofBill Lewis on Guiding Light. Previous credits include Matt Durning on Beverly Hills, 90210, Scott Chandler on All My Children, and Richard Bagg in National Lampoon's Van Wilder. RD How did you get started as an actor DC At the end of high school, I started looking into colleges that had good theatre programs, and in my second semester I took an improvisational technique class, and that is when I knew I fell in love with it. After that, I did a one-act play,...

Charm Personality and Passion

I mentioned earlier that at the basic level in auditioning, regardless of technique and acting ability, casting directors are looking for charming, personable, and passionate people. I would simply like to add that this too is part of your technique. When you enter an audition, I stress that you should have a plan. Part of your plan is to display the choices you made in your preparation time. In addition to that, you must remind yourself of your own level of charm and passion. Everyone has a...

Truth in Numbers

The basis for this philosophy is rooted in a numbers game. Here is some reality for you to better understand my thinking. When I have a contract role to fill on Guiding Light, I personally audition between three hundred and five hundred actors for that role. As many as five hundred Only one actor can actually book that job just one. What are the odds that you will be the one actor out of the five hundred that auditions to actually get the job What are the odds that you are physically what I am...

Casting Directors Process

My process begins when the executive producer tells me we are adding a new character to the show. Sometimes it isn't a new character, but a character who has been on the show before, who is now coming back played by a different actor. Sometimes a plot line in a daytime television show will require that a young character become older, and we need to cast a new, older actor to play that role. Regardless of the scenario, the process for me as a casting director is the same. I receive a character...

Agent and Manager Interviews

Although this book is about auditioning and the relationship to the casting director, I thought it might be interesting for you to hear the opinions of some talent agents and managers and learn what their take is on the subject of auditioning and on the relationship with the casting director. I am also assuming that many young actors reading this book might be without representation, and it has been my experience that those actors without representation are consumed with the notion of trying to...

Beats and Beat Changes

The first thing you do once you get your sides is read the sides. Sound pretty simple Next thing you do is break the scene into beats. What are beats I mean, what really are the beats of a scene If you have taken any acting class, enrolled in any Acting 101 in college, or performed in a play, you had some teacher or director somewhere say, Break the scene down into beats. You nodded your head like you knew what the teacher was talking about, but you really didn't. This isn't your fault, though....

Asking Questions

Before I start this section, I want to be clear Every actor who has an audition should and must feel confident that he has enough answers to any lingering questions he may have about the sides and the character. I like to make the actors feel comfortable before their audition and will usually ask a few conversational questions to relax the actor and to get to know him. However, as a casting director in the middle of hundreds of auditions, I prefer that actors not have any questions to ask about...

Beat Changes Are in the Script

Now, something that is very important in understanding and determining the beats of a scene is to acknowledge that the beat changes are in the script. The beat changes are not about your character. What I mean by that is, your character in your audition does not always change the beat. Yes, your character can change a beat, but the other character in the audition scene can change the subject too. In essence, the writer has determined the beats you just have to identify them. This is one of the...

Major Objective and Major Beat Change Are Connected

The major beat change is the introduction of the most important information in the scene. The major objective is of equal importance. Knowing this will help you create a wonderful acting moment at the major beat change. The major beat change is the moment where the character either achieves or does not achieve her major objective. I mentioned earlier that the major beat change was the place where the information that most affects your character is introduced. It would stand to reason that, if...

Mary Clay Boland

Mary Clay Boland MCB is the Emmy-nominated casting director for the daytime television program As the World Turns. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in actors when they are auditioning MCB I am looking for a great look, someone appealing and charismatic and charming. I also look for intelligence and training. The look varies with the role. I also want an actor who makes choices and understands the character and what his motivations are. RD How important is it...

Marnie Saitta

Marnie Saitta MS is the casting director for the daytime television program The Young and the Restless. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in an actor when he is auditioning MS Confidence and commitment. The ability to be confident in the choices and the work he has done in the development of his character, and the commitment to follow through on those choices, really set actors apart. RD How important is it for you to see that an actor has clearly prepared for...

Jordi Vilasuso

Jordi Vilasuso JV received an Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Daytime Drama Series for his role as Tony Santos on Guiding Light. His other credits include the pilot No Place Like Home for the Fox Network. RD How did you get started as an actor JV In the theatre. I started when I was young. It was my dream to see myself on stage or on the screen. I started with my junior high school drama club. My background is strong in the theatre but I eventually got my headshots done and started...

Sit or Stand Its Your Choice

I feel that the best auditions are when the actor sits or stands. It doesn't matter which one. My preference is that the actor chooses whatever makes her feel the most comfortable. Actors constantly ask me what my preference is. My preference is that you feel comfortable in the audition, and unless I have some specific reason why I would want you to sit or stand, you should just do the one you want. I certainly will ask an actor to do it the opposite way if I like her first...

Negative Use of Subtext

The trap that most actors will fall into with the use of subtext is on specific lines. In beat number one, the Woman has a line that reads, I am not in the mood for Italian food. That is a simple line in response to a direct question asked by the Man Do you want Italian food Actors should always play the literal meaning of the line and no more. When the Woman responds, I am not in the mood for Italian food, it is an honest evaluation of her hunger. It should not be interpreted as a loaded,...

Dont Project

You never want to project above the reader's head and ignore the distance that you are from the reader. So, if the reader is two feet away from you and you are projecting to someone who is seven feet away, then you are really projecting the dialogue of the scene over and beyond what is required in that space. This is when an actor will be accused of being theatrical, since the casting director will envision him on a stage because he is not making any adjustments to the person in front of him in...

Dont Blame the Reader

The hope is that the reader will follow your lead. If the reader is a good reader or casting director, then she will instinctively do this. If she is not, you will have to work harder in the actual reading, but can still accomplish this goal. I promise you that it will be different from your preparation at home, but that is why I stressed earlier that this is an audition and not a performance. You cannot possibly know in advance the tempo that the reader will take on. So, don't leave yourself...

Rhonda Price

Rhonda Price RP is the Senior Vice President of Talent at the Gersh Agency in New York. RD How important do you feel it is for your clients to have a solid audition technique RP For the most part, I find this is extremely important. An actor has to be able to perform at a certain level in a room to get the job, especially as the stakes get higher with major feature film parts, television leads, and coveted theatre parts. If one is nervous or feeling blocked, technique gives one the added...

Major Beat Change

You've broken the sides into beats and have indicated all of your beat changes. You now have to determine what the major beat change is. The major beat change is the most important introduction of information in a scene. It is this information that has the greatest effect upon your character. There is only one major beat change in an audition scene. It is your job to determine which beat change is the major beat change. There are two basic principles to determining...

Aubrey Dollar

Aubrey Dollar AD , until recently, played the role of Marina Cooper on Guiding Light. Her other credits include the pilot Point Pleasant for the Fox Network. RD How did you get started as an actor AD My mom was an actor when I was growing up, so I would go to auditions with her, and then I started doing theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I grew up. RD How do you prepare for your auditions AD I think 95 percent of auditioning, because auditioning is very different from actually doing the...

Jill McGrath

Jill McGrath JM is a talent agent in the theatrical division at the Abrams Artists Agency in New York. RD How important do you feel it is for your clients to have a solid audition technique JM I think it is very important for my clients to have a solid audition technique. Often, an actor is only given five minutes when auditioning for a role. Technique creates focus and the ability to combat nerves, which makes your chances of booking the job that much greater. RD What is the single most...

Andra Reeve Rabb

Andra Reeve-Rabb ARR is the Director of Primetime Casting at CBS in New York. RD What are some of the most important qualities you are looking for in an actor when he is auditioning ARR The ability to come in with choices made for the character, but then being ready to throw the homework out and being able to take direction on the spot. RD How important is it for you to see that an actor has clearly prepared for his audition ARR It's everything I feel that it is incredibly important for an...

No Indecisive Feelings

What I really like about the activeness of the feeling word is that it forces you to play some decisive feelings. By finding the word that works best for you, you force yourself not to play anything nonchalant or middle-of-the-road. You cannot go into an audition with the attitude that your character does not know how she feels about the subject in any given beat. The technique forces you to make choices once you absorb those choices, you have something to do, and feel, and be. You are not in...