Talent isn’t Everything!

Peter’s Blog @Bryant and Tuck Studios

 When It Comes To the Audition….. 

 “Talent Isn’t Everything!”

          You hear, “gotta have talent to be an actor” about as much as “hello” and “good bye.”  The benefit of talent is a valid one…..Especially in the dreaded…. AUDITION CHAMBER.

Being charismatic, uninhibited, possessing good timing, retaining dialogue, having a good voice, being attractive, having “it”……some or all of these qualities I’m sure would make the top ten list of at least some of the powers that be who grace the “thrones” behind that long “banquet table.”

But there is something even more important than talent that the directors and producers are looking for. In some instances, they are unaware they are looking for it. But when an actor possesses it, the auditors immediately love what they’re watching, even if they don’t know why. It is….the actor’s ability to interpret, and then execute the specifics of the material. The person or persons behind the table know the trajectory and logistics of their story in detail. If you, the actor, can come in the room with a good understanding of these elements, it will give you a tremendous advantage.

As an actor who’s lucky enough to say he’s been in the game a while, more often than not – when I’ve landed a role and been in conversation with the director about why I got the part or why someone else in the cast got their role, or as a teacher when some scenes work exponentially better than others – it always comes down to what the actor is doing, scene to scene, in terms of the script. The story as a whole and – here it comes again – the actor’s ability to interpret, and then execute the specifics of the material.  Everything the actor does fits into the scheme of the piece and the writer’s intention. How does one do all that within the brevity of an audition?

Besides answering the obvious questions – objective, obstacles, moment before, establishing the beats – there are a few other important questions you could explore that could lead you to the above mentioned specifics.

How does the time and place of the film/series affect the character’s behavior, speech, disposition, and outlook on life? Your acting choices should reflect the visual and sensory images of the period and place of the story.

On what page of the script does the audition scene or scenes take place? Don’t take this for granted! Where a scene takes place in terms of the story can tell you a lot about the tone of the scene and the parameters of your behavior. Again, this will put you in closer proximity of the script’s trajectory and the writer’s vision.

And lastly, if you don’t have access to the script, use your intuition and first impressions about the scene to compose a little backstory on your character. If you use your intuition and keep it real (don’t make your character the former divine princess of the planet Rulan) chances are this backstory would match the actual or imagined backstory in the minds of the creators to some degree. This will fuel and hone your choices and put you on the same playing field as the creators of the project.

Answering the above questions, coupled with the basic/fundamental homework (objective, obstacles, moment before, beats) can make the auditors aware of your understanding of their material, thus giving you an edge in the dreaded…AUDITION CHAMBER.

May you all break multiple legs out there.


      Peter Bryant

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