“How is your meal?”
We all know the kind of restaurant. The inexperienced waiter has been told by their boss to make sure they go to every patron and ask ‘how is your meal?”
Usually it is done without interest, without forethought. Many times it is done before you have even lifted your knife and fork.
It is cursory, ill considered and without care for the answer.
After doing an audition, what is your answer to ‘are you happy with that?’ Or perhaps ‘what did you think?’. Naturally, being an actor, you have a very tenuous grip on objectivity about your own work. But you must develop this skill – especially if you are to connect to people as an intelligent reasoned person – and not a nervy, insecure actor.
And OK, we all have our insecurities and nerves. Your goal is to dress them up as something else. Here are some tips on how to come across as considered, thoughtful and in control
1. Extricate yourself from the Hot Spot.
The first thing to do, before you say anything, is to walk away from the mark. Leave the audition space. I have often said it is the most uncomfortable spot in the room. So why would you stand there trying to deliver intelligent communication. The other benefit to this is now the people in the room can regard you as a person. Under the spotlight, we see you as an actor. Or perhaps as that character.
2. Create a relationship of equals.
By walking away you have ‘disengaged’ with the character and you are now part of the team. This is an important factor in our decision journey. It is not simply who is the best actor. We are seeking to identify who we wish to work with. If you move closer to the team, away from the space, now you have subconsciously joined THEIR side. You are sharing their thinking and concerns. You are not an island of self doubt, wondering if they liked your audition. You join them to analyse the good and the bad.
3. Talk about the character rather than your performance.
In my training at The Audition Technique, I am always imploring actors to work with keywords. I believe it is easier for an actor to create a character that is clearly drawn, and easily accessible to the audience, if your goal os to deliver two or three words. Rather than reams of queries and questions about you character and their motivations. Now, instead of dissecting a line for the nuance of a characters intention, you can talk about the over archjing quality of YOUR version of the character. Maybe it is warmth. Perhaps arrogance. But these simple word based goals (not question based) are the key to having a clear vision for your audition.
4. One thing to never ever say.
The vast majority of actors have one goal in auditions. To eliminate mistakes. To create an error free zone. And of that is your goal, then you are obsessed with getting every line right. To avoid this self incrimination, never ever, ever say ‘I missed a line’. ‘Or do I get that line right?’ The essence of your character has nothing to do with getting the lines right. And similarly, the success of your audition is not driven by accuracy. Or exactitude.
In effect, what I am empowering you to do, is to be an individual. Be comfortable in your own skin.
Remember, we are not checking your ability. We are exploring your suitability.
And that is delivered by being part of the team, rather than an isolated actor striving to please. Which is what waiters do by asking – without thought – ‘is everything OK’
To practice your new skills, I suggest the next time you dine out assume you will get asked about your meal. Prepare a criticism from the start. Not an earth shattering one. Perhaps as simple as …. The potato wasn’t very hot.
To conform is to say the meal is ‘fine thank you’. You did not become an actor to conform.
From today on, your new found individuality starts with having an issue with your meal.
Please leave a comment below on how it went ☺
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