Archive for audition

Feb 20 – OK, um, let’s try that again.

Posted in Acting, actor, Theatre with tags , , , on February 22, 2010 by actingchick

Since I’ve been doing rather badly on my auditions lately, I decided to take Jodi Rothfield’s Auditioning for the Camera class. I’m glad I did.

Jodi Rothfield is as highly respected casting agent in Seattle.  I’d been wanting to take her class for a long time.  She was endorsed by one of my teacher’s at Freehold, George Lewis. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something to the effect of, she is an ethical and real person in a business not known for that.  Because of that comment, I was looking forward to meeting her.  I was not disappointed.

Jodi is a boisterous, passionate person, in that way that people from New York can carry off.  For those of you who know Robin Lynn Smith, I’d say there is a similarity of energy that I found comforting.

I showed at up her office.  She was efficiently handling conversations with the people already there, while informing me that still owed her $75, and telling everyone to ignore the signs that said that everything in the fridge was a dollar, and that really it was free for the class, and to sit down and make myself comfortable, and that bathrooms were around the corner.  She sat at her desk in the ping-ponging conversation with everyone.

When everyone arrived she ushered us into the casting room.  The first part of the class was lecture.  She tells you what you need to have and to do to show up as a professional for an audition.  Very helpful.  Some of it I knew, but the questions you are supposed to ask when you get called by a casting agent for and audition was great.  Not only did she tell you what you were supposed to do, but she gave you the reasons why you did them. Most of which distilled down into “this will make your life easier, and the casting director’s life easier.”

One of her main points of the day was that “Auditioning is the most unnatural thing you will do as an actor.” She stated this over and over again.  All her tips and tools presented that day were to help you survive this crazy process.

Another point she made is that acting for the camera, and acting in general, is about connection.  But how do you connect with an inanimate assembly of plastic and metal?  It’s not going to give you any feedback or respond to your demands. You can play your action at it all day long, it doesn’t care…it can’t.

She gives you three simple questions to ask when you do a cold read, and a process to answer them for yourself, so that when you go in front of the camera, you have something to work with.  For the second part of the class she gave us some text from commercials she’s cast.  She gave us some time to work through her process on them.  Then we went in front of the camera.  The rest of the group got to watch you on the TV.

I went first, because I like to get the painful experiences over with as soon as possible.  I got worked over a lot, but that was OK, I didn’t expect less, and it was handled humourously and compassionately.  My big issues were trying to read my lines from the paper, while also trying to have them somewhat memorized.  It doesn’t work real well.

We would do readings in acting class where you would look down at the paper, get a chunk of lines, then look up at the person you were reading with, say your chunk of line, then look back down. Repeat.  This doesn’t work for auditioning for the camera.  You need to be able to read lines and remain connected at the same time.  Your script has to become and extension of your body so you can glance at it and move it naturally at any time you need to.  This is very hard.  Did I mention that auditioning is the most unnatural thing you can do as an actor?

We watched each other as we went up.  She corrected and encouraged.  After lunch we did the same thing again.  It was amazing how much better everyone was with just that one earlier session.  Not that we all couldn’t improve a lot, because we could all use a lot more work, but everyone was improved.

After the second round, Jodi opened it up for questions. She is very actor friendly and very supportive.  If we had questions, or needed recommendations for things, she offered herself up to being called and emailed.  You really got the vibe that she wanted to help you and was in your corner.

Anyway, I’d recommend her class.  Sign up at her site at World Perc to get on her email list, or call her office to find out when the next class is.

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Dec 18 – One audition. One part.

Posted in Acting, actor, Art, Theatre with tags , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by actingchick

It’s been a while since the last post.  There hasn’t been too much to report…until now.  A month and a half ago I did an audition for an independent short.  It was down in Olympia, which is an hour and a half away, but I figured beggars can’t be choosers, and I’ll take whatever part I can get.  And if nothing else it will be audition practice.

So I drive down to Olympia, show up at the Evergreen College campus, where the director, and fresh-faced intrepid young man, is a student.  My girlfriend used to go there, so I’m not totally unfamiliar with the campus.  I find the audition room easily.  I enter, and no one is there.  There is a bottle of water and some printed sides on the floor next to a chair.  That’s all that is in the room.  I head back out into the hall and look around.  No one is around.

I was surprised that no one else was there. I sort of expected a cattle call audition with people out in the hall waiting for their few moments to shine.  He gave me a time range of 2 – 4 o’clock, so I assumed there were other people scheduled as well, but if they were they weren’t there, and either was he.  A few minutes later though, he came down the hall.  Potty break.

We chatted a bit.  He asked my experience, and I said not much, just got done with acting school, and I’m looking to work, etc, etc.  This is his first film.  He seems with it, and somewhat conservatively dressed for Evergreen, which is known for its hordes of, um, free thinking, tree-hugger types, who sort of float around campus doing whatever it is they do.

He did indicate that he had gotten a lot of responses from TPS, which is where I saw the audition notice.  We chatted a bit about Aikido, since he saw that on my resume.  Then we chatted a bit about the movie.  A mockumentary short on the subject of religious cults and how people are easily enticed to believe some things that others find ridiculous, and how this sort of thing can spread like wildfire under the right conditions.

My role was to be the Woman, a believer in the cult, and enthusiastic supporter.  It’s pretty simple scene.  I’m being interviewed by the documentary film maker and narrator.  All in one room, all in one take sort of thing.

He explains what he is looking for, and then I read it through cold.  I give it my best shot.  I try to keep as much eye contact as I can with him while I’m reading, but of course you have to look at the paper when you read.  I run through, he gives me a few notes, I do it again.  I feel weird, since I am in this huge room, with just him and me.  Luckily I’ve had plenty of practice feeling weird, uncomfortable, and winging it in acting class, so I just ride the wave.

He likes what I’m doing, gives me a few more notes, and then video tapes me.  After that he offers me the part.  I’m excited of course, but part of me is like, did anyone else show up?  Is it just me?  Still, he was laughing when I rad a few lines, so I must have been doing something right.  I leave happy, and excited to do my first film role.

I went down about a week and half later for a read through with a few other cast members.  Another rehearsal was to be scheduled, but I heard nothing for two weeks, then an email from the director saying he is still trying to get things together, apparently the camera he was planning on using fell through, and of course he is a student, poor, and also has a day job, so I get it.  I write back, just let me know when you are ready, and I’ll be there.  I’m not holding my breath.

This is the second role in an independent, mockumentary style short that I have been cast in that hasn’t gone anywhere.  The other film was written by a guy I went to acting school with.  He was having trouble working with his D.P., so it got put on hold, while he finds someone else.  Again, I’m not holding my breath.  Call me when you are ready for my close-up. Until then, I fish the audition waters.

So on the good news, I submitted my headshot to be a featured extra in a real film.  One where they like pay you, and has famous people in it.  Well, at least they are famous in Asia.  I don’t know the details yet, but I’m going to be a woman in prison.  How cool is that?  And we actually get to go to a real prison and film.  Sounds fun.  It will be sometime in February, and they will actually pay me.  Not hardly anything, but I’ll take it.  And since it is a film with a budget, I think it will actually get made.  This time I am holding my breath.