10-Point Audition Prep: Part I

I have covered in earlier blogs how to do quick prep for auditions.  However, when you have time, a more detailed preparation will serve you best, of course.

Here is Part I of a quick “10-Point Prep” outline that will serve you in all auditions, for all kinds of material, played in any “tone” or style. Let’s get started:

1 – What is the EVENT?  What is the bottom line of what is happening in the scene?  Not the “given circumstances” (though those are important, too)–but what is actually happening between you and the other character or characters.  Is it an “investigation”?  A “seduction”?  An “intimidation”?  A “rescue”?  Is it “falling in love”?  If you understand what the primary, bottom line, NATURE of the scene is, you will be free to be in the moment, play what comes off the other actor purely and impulsively, even improvise, and yet be utterly connected and true to the story.

2 – What is your INTENTION?  What is your overall NEED?  Acceptance?  Love?  To feel powerful, to dominate?  To show him you’re good enough?  Making a powerful, personal choice about what you NEED in the scene, more deeply than what is on the surface, like, “to get information” or “to find out”, or “to talk”, will set you free in the scene to fly.  You will have a through-line and support in everything you do from moment-to-moment.  It’s not that you need “to talk”.  It’s what you need out of that talk.  If you’re a lawyer trying to find out information, that’s not your deeper need.  Your deeper need to is to protect the weak; or to punish the evil.  Or to feel that you are doing something good in the world, because of some original sin you continually are making up for in your life.  All very different needs, different intentions and very different characters.  Active verbs will characterize your INTENTION.

3 – What is your OBSTACLE?  Simply, what is within you that is stopping you from getting what you need. Not the external obstacles that are pressing on you like your scene partner, time, the killer in the house, the gangster searching for you, or the other woman trying to steal your guy.  The obstacle–and what makes you an interesting character–is within you.  You are trying to stop the other woman from stealing your man, but you secretly don’t think you’re good enough.  You are trying seduce, but you feel guilty because you’re married.  Keep it simple.  Find the opposite force to what you need, that is operating within you.  This is what makes characters complex, layered, interesting.  The best heroes, guys like Harrison Ford, are so fantastic because they choose that at many moments they are afraid, or unsure of themselves.

4 – What are the internal ACTIONS you take to get what you want?  What are your strategies or your tactics?  Your ACTIONS change during a scene.  That’s what give you variety and unpredictability in our work.  You start off trying “to charm” the person into giving you what you want. That doesn’t work, so you try “to inspire” them. That fails, so you try “to trick” them–nope–so you choose “to confront and to intimidate” them into doing it. Often the best way to get what you want is to disguise your own internal need with an ACTION that appears to be something else.   In order to subvert someone else’s agenda, you have to get them to trust you.  Make a list of ACTIVE VERBS for all the internal actions you will ever need.  Some good ones:  to charm, to terrify, to seduce, to befriend, to intimidate, to enlighten, to inspire, to teach, to challenge, to beguile, to mystify, to excite, to soothe, to “mother”, to protect, to guide, to rescue, to nurture, to “call to arms” . . .

That’s it for Part I of the list–check back soon for Part II!

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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