6 keys to nailing your on-camera audition
For many actors, auditioning on camera is a bit of a mystery. If that’s you, there’s good news! You can learn how. Here are 6 keys to help you nail your next on-camera audition! . . 1. Know what you look like on camera! Be sure what you think you’re doing in front of the camera is actually reading on the monitor. Rehearse with a video camera and watch the playback. The camera often magnifies small physical movements you have naturally in everyday life. Unfortunately, arching eyebrows or a bobbing head draw attention to themselves on camera and distract us from watching what you’re thinking and feeling. Lose them. This does not mean you don’t move at all. You don’t have to be still to be effective on camera. Your physical life should look natural and full within the frame. It’s like the difference between cats and dogs. If you […]

6 Keys to Nailing Your On-Camera Audition

10 Attitudes that keep actors from working
Originally published in Backstage Imagine you’re in a hot air balloon that’s losing altitude. As the ground gets closer, you realize the only way to slow your descent is to lighten your load by throwing off the things on board that are weighing you down. You have to choose what stays and what goes or you won’t get where you’re going. Likewise, actors must “throw off” thoughts and habits that keep them from reaching their career goals. Acting issues are often life issues. Here are 10 things to consider tossing overboard on your way to acting success! 1. The need to please. Seeking approval from others is a way of seeking attention. Don’t give up your power. Trying to please weakens your self-confidence and keeps you from being your authentic self—two things a working actor cannot be without.   2. Limiting beliefs. Life is limitless. We impose limits on ourselves by […]

10 Attitudes That Keep Actors From Working

what do i do with my hands when I'm acting?
Monique recently asked this interesting question: Here’s my answer: Without seeing you work it’s hard to know where the feedback you’re getting is coming from.  Nevertheless, your choices are not limited to “stop gesturing” or “being yourself.” In theory, doing what feels natural to you is fine.  What feels natural to you, however, may not be what the script calls for.  Listening more closely to the text (what you say, what’s said about you,the time, place, etc.) will lead you to physical choices that are appropriate.  Knowing what your emotional condition in the scene is and what’s at stake will also help you zero in on what’s not stated in the text and guide you to a better understanding of the physical life it needs.  Being authentic and passionate doesn’t necessarily result in expressive hand motions. If asked to simplify your gestures, even if they ‘feel natural” it may be they are distracting from what you are […]

What do I do with my hands when I’m acting?

An Actor's job is auditioning
I often hear actors say “I hate auditions.” This logic completely baffles me.  How can you expect to get into a rehearsal with any regularity if you hate auditions?  To get any job you will, almost certainly, have to go through an audition first.  The way to be successful in this business is to be good at auditioning.  Yes, the audition process is an unnatural, imperfect system where the best people don’t always get the jobs.  And you can’t assess the true depth of someone’s talent, professionalism and relative degree of mental health in a five minute appointment slot.  But until someone suggests a better system it’s the one we all have to work with. If you secretly harbor self-defeating attitudes like the ones above, I suggest you put them aside.  They are guaranteed to keep you in your survival job.   I hated auditions.  I knew I would be good […]

An Actor’s Job is Auditioning

The secret to musical theatre success
Success in the musical theatre actually has less to do with music than you might think.  It’s not even required that you be a great singer.  Harvey Fierstein, Elaine Stritch and Rex Harrison are notable examples.  What they have in common, besides the fact they would never get past the first audition for “The Voice” is, they’re very good actors.  The beauty of their tone isn’t enough to win our hearts but they succeed with their ability to communicate and the strength of their personality. Though acting ability is paramount, a good singing voice rules the number two spot for what you need to succeed as a musical theatre performer.  The roles you can play without serious singing chops are few. The goal of combining great acting with great singing is the reason I fell in love with this craft.  For me, there was no greater goal and I worked […]

The Secret To Musical Theatre Success

college audition success
Auditioning for college theatre programs needn’t be a mysterious process.  Here are some things you can do to increase your odds of success: Work with a coach This is not blatant self-promotion on my part.  You’d be foolish to rely on the advice of your high-school drama teacher, friends or family for such an important audition.  Go to a professional with a record of success preparing students for college auditions. Start Early I can’t stress this enough.  Please don’t wait until the audition is coming up to begin preparing. As soon as you know you want to audition start working.  You put yourself at a distinct disadvantage if you don’t.  Choose your audition pieces wisely Check out my blog about how to choose an audition monologue here.  Some things to consider are: Choose monologues from plays instead of films or television.  When choosing musical pieces avoid songs strongly associated with […]

5 Steps To College Audition Success

10 Steps to a great cold reading
1. Start with the facts you’re given: It’s time to be a text detective.  Find the irrefutable facts in your script (aka given circumstances).  Make no assumptions yet.  Only the things you know for sure.  These are the foundation upon which you build your reading. 2. Who are you? What can you learn from the words your character chooses?  Is there a word or phrase they repeat?  Do they use an interesting expression or word choice or in an unusual way?  What do the other characters say about you?  What can you learn about your education, temperament, sense of humor, moral compass, etc. 3. What do you want? What is your character’s great dream?  What do they want more than anything else, the thing that drives them to do everything they do? 4. What is the obstacle? What or who is the source of the conflict in the scene? In […]

10 Steps To A Great Cold Reading

Listening is more than hearing
There seems to be some confusion about what listening means.  I’ll often watch actors fixated on their partner’s every word listening like there were going to be a test at the end of the scene only to give the line reading they’ve prepared in advance when it’s their turn to speak.  Bravo for trying but they’re not really listening. . . Listening is much more than hearing.  Beyond the words, we see and feel what is being said to us.  Inflection, volume, tempo as well as facial expression, posture and gesture are crucial to the information we gather when we listen.  Listening is hearing everything that’s said and unsaid. . Listening is receiving.  When we allow ourselves to receive what we “hear,” it makes an impact that resonates on our face in our throat, heart, gut or groin.  Listening is physical.  Everything we hear, see and sense about what is […]

Actors, Listening Is More Than Hearing