Wednesday, October 16, 2013
How can an actor give a great audition against all these odds that seem to be set up as an obstacle course to make them fail? Protect yourself. Yes, YOU have to protect yourself against all these outside elements. Concentration is key but asking, or rather telling them what you need is also crucial. This is what I call "controlling the room". If you have a traumatic scene to do and you're all geared up to connect to the character's pain emotionally, then you come into an office and have to chat first - protect yourself. You can say, "I'd love to jump into the scene first then we can chat after." It's all about the way you ask/tell. If you're polite and gracious you can get away with murder in this setting – as long as you're not a diva about it. Remember, we want you to do well. We want to help you
(from Use Protection by Marci Liroff).
I might expand this, beyond the audition. Protect the time you'll need to get to get to the audition, by declining some other option, be it a day job, a lunch, whatever. Protect the sleep you need the night before, by not only scheduling for it, but doing whatever is reasonable to stick to that. Protect your health by eating well, exercising and getting good sleep. I could go on and on with all the things that if an actor provides for them, and priorities them make performances better, in auditions and on jobs.
The basic idea is protect what is important to you. No one else may value what you do as much as you do. So it is up to you to do what you can to protect it. Relationship that fills you up and brings you joy and love? Do what you can to keep it safe from the various forces that may distract or outright work against it. Playing a character that is confident and in control? Perhaps put off the phone call to the relative that undercuts you and makes you feel like dirt until after the audition or shoot. Ideally everyone in your life will help reinforce the things you cherish and protect them. There may be times when you are the only person who can protect your performance, your sanity, or your self-esteem. You are worth it, and your work is worth it, so protect it.
There are other people who want you to succeed, your rep (present or future), casting (your success make their job easier and makes them look good), the producers, the audience. Whatever it takes to safeguard what you do and what is important is worth doing. Don't be harsh or rigid about protecting your work and mindset, but don't let the world run roughshod over your work and you either. Now go break a leg!
p.s., tonight my action/adventure pilot script The Temptress' Chest: Isle of the Amazons will be read at We Make Movies at 7:30pm in Hollywood at Theatre Asylum please come, it's free and there's free wine and snacks too. I hope you can make it http://bit.ly/WMMoct16