Flash Back Friday – Auditioning: Artistic Advice

Editor: As Episodic season starts, we thought we’d jog your memory as to how to get ready to deliver the best possible audition.  Don’t miss your chance to be the Right Actor for the Right Job.  Follow Adam Lazarre-White’s advice.  LA Actors are lucky enough to be able to take his class here in Hollywood.  http://adamlazarre-white.com/

BE PREPARED.  When you have booked a role, you have time to prepare fully–not only learning your lines and breaking down the audition scene(s), but researching all issues that relate to building a complete, layered human being or character.  You have time to create background, history, and specifics, to deepen your understanding of their psychology, their time period, their job, their routines, their economic background, and their culture.  You have time to make PERSONAL associations and choices that fill the character with YOU and your personal “Point of View” on life, your specific humanity, and background.

When auditioning, especially for TV, you rarely are given time to do as much as you would do if you were playing the role.  With plays, you often have more substantial material to learn (long scenes and monologues), and are given more time–maybe a week.  With larger movie roles, or “series regular” roles in pilots, you are often given more time as well–perhaps almost a full week to prepare–but, as often, not.  You might get material on a Thursday for Monday.  That’s a lot of time.

When you have the time, doing all the work you would do, AS IF you already have the role, is quite simply what you should do.  Like cramming for a test, learn everything you can about the character in the days you have to prepare.  Build your character based on researched specifics of time period, job, culture, family type, physical attributes, addictions, etc.  Be a relentless “Detective” with your script.  Use anything and everything you can glean from the script to lead you to more specifics of what type of person this is and what your character’s needs are.  Each piece of physical description might have a clue.  Writers slave over their dialogue.  Word choice–how a character expresses himself (or doesn’t: stammering, being inarticulate, or silent) can be illuminating to a character’s inner-life and psychology.  An elegant, erudite word choice tells you something different than a colloquial, familiar, slang or “street” word choice.  Using a conjunction like, “Don’t do that.” can be very different than, “Do not do that.”  It may lead you to a different character entirely, or it may just lead you to a different moment in that scene.  Use all those clues to create a “Character History”, building a context of childhood, experiences, specific dreams, goals, desires, needs, and fears.  But always inform these choices, with your self.  Lend the character your own point of view on life, your own childhood, experiences, dreams, needs and fears whenever it feels right, possible or appropriate, so that YOU are deeply woven into the character.

You do all this while you break down the scenes, while you learn your lines, carve out moments, “Discoveries” and “Playable Actions” to use, in order to get what you need from the other character.  You should not only be able to play the scenes you are auditioning.  You should be ready and able to improvise, in character, TRUTHFULLY in any “given circumstances” the casting director or director gives you.  If they ask you to read an additional scene, you might not be able to learn those new lines immediately–but you should be able to exist in the scene as the character, truthfully.

Of course, you always “act” and exist in a scene with your own self, your own humanity present in the moment as your point of departure.  Listening, observing, feeling, being affected–reacting to what you are given, honestly and fully, both impulsively AND “craft-fully”.  Be PRESENT.  CONNECT to your reader or scene partner.  LISTEN to them.  OBSERVE them.  RE-ACT.  BE ALIVE in the MOMENT.

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Adam Lazarre-White Adam Lazarre-White grew up in NYC, graduated from Harvard University with Honors, started at QB for the “Crimson” and played in the Harvard Jazz Band. He is known for roles on Scandal, Heroes, Ocean’s 13, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Temptations, Living Single, The Parkers, and starring on The Young & The Restless. Adam’s writing and directing have become equal pursuit in recent years; and he has owned his acting school in Hollywood, ALW Acting Studios since 2000. For info on Adam's classes, acting, writing & directing visit his website at www.adamlazarre-white.com