A Different Kind of Audition-Style

Last night’s class had a lot of people missing, which always means the class will go over, because we are always so convinced that we have time, that we talk forever and work on the scenes longer. This week, we did go over, so much so that I left before the end of class, but we weren’t just talking off-topic, we were really working our scenes, doing exercises and getting rid of blocks. It was probably one of my best classes in a long time.

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I did my first take of the Private Practice scene as if it were any other month doing it audition-style, and watching it over it was okay, but it wouldn’t win me any roles or rooms. I forgot to bring myself food and almost said Sam instead of Pete. I could have used that in the scene, if I had stayed in and made it like I just had Sam on my mind, but instead it got me flustered and in my head and was the worst take of this scene that I have done.

For my second take, we brought in a table, and I rushed to get a granola bar from my car so that I could have something to eat. Normally, we might not want to bring food to an audition, but for this scene, the eating isn’t just something for her to do, it drives her emotions. We also had a conversation before Suzanna started recording, so I could have the same energy in the scene as I would during a normal conversation. My reader chose the audition I did last week as our topic, which got me more nervous than anything, so it was a relief when the scene started. It’s something I need to work on, but I did feel a difference in the energy.

For my third take, we also had a little conversation before starting, and I decided to go back to what I had done last week, where I see Sam somewhere just off camera. This time, we talked about the patient before starting, and I had a moment to just devour my granola bar while glancing over at Sam, to really get me into that emotional state of trying to eat my feelings. Watching them this morning, there is an incredible difference between the first take and the last one. I won’t be able to ask my reader to improvise with me a bit before the scene starts, but I can imagine that conversation in my head, and give myself a moment to get into the right emotional head space.

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For the Up In the Air scene, we did it the first time without notes, so I went for it like I would have any other time. I figured it wouldn’t make a difference if I started out the scene already sitting instead of walking in, and then when I was supposed to stand, I didn’t, because my reader didn’t stand and the camera wouldn’t follow and I found a list of excuses that made it a pretty mediocre take, with very little confidence. In a real audition, the right thing to do would have been to tell the camera person that you would like to walk into the scene, and that you will be standing at some point, so they know to follow you. If they can’t or don’t want to, they will let you know, and then you will have to come up with the same energy while staying seated the whole time, but more often, they will be expecting it, and you won’t be robbing yourself of a chance to greatly improve your audition.

For the second take, Suzanna told me to stand and walk in, and also asked me if I could find myself in the scene. Since I am not overly confident, bordering on cocky, and would never act in such a way with my superior, I said yes, but with a really big question mark at the end. Suzanna suggested I think of it as someone coming into the campground and trying to tell me how to do my job, which might not fit the situation of the scene, but definitely gets the right emotions. I would never have acted like that with someone at the campground, but sometimes, I really felt like I wanted to.

The last take, Suzanna gave me an ad-lib suggestion, of calling my boss out on the unfairness of what he is asking, just to help me get angry at him. Every other time, I had been keeping the anger inside and working on being professional in the scene, but really, it makes perfect sense for me to get frustrated and flustered and not show myself in the best light after being tested like that and his questionning my competence. I did get frustrated and couldn’t exactly figure out what I wanted to say, so I started and stopped a few times before saying my line, and then got flustered on the next one and completely paraphrased. I lost my line because I was so caught up in the moment, and it felt amazing.

After my scenes, I got to be a reader for a scene from Episodes, and from It’s Complicated, where I read for the wrong character on the first take. Since we were doing exercises to really work on the scenes, I got to improvise and really play with my scene partners, which was so different and so much fun.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

-Tony Robbins

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