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Auditioning: An Actor-Friendly Guideby Harold Prince
Synopses & Reviews
stop self-sabotage: change the odds
Most people go to work in the same office, store, or factory every day; they can anticipate who will be there, what the workplace will look like, how it will feel, how their colleagues will relate to them, and how much they will be paid. With any luck, they know what is expected of them and feel confident they can fulfill their assigned tasks.
An actor's life is quite different. A large part of an actor's work is auditioning. Unlike a "regular job", there is no paycheck at the end of the week. (Wouldn't that be nice?) More important, each auditioning event is unpredictable. The script may or may not be available to you in advance. You may be given a scene to read "cold," with only a few minutes to prepare. You may have to wait five minutes or many hours. There may be hundreds of other actors waiting to audition or you may be the only one. You may be auditioning in a small office or on the stage of a large theater. You may encounter one auditor or twenty. The audition atmosphere may feel welcoming or hostile. You may read the scene with someone who is a trained actor, but more likely you will read the scene with someone who is not. You may never get any feedback or know why you didn't get the job.
In a worst-case scenario, what negative effect might these circumstances, and the pressure of getting a job, have on you, the actor?
You don't prepare in a serious way because you are convinced that, since you only have a few minutes with the director, the decision will rest only on how you look, or your personal quality. (If the director thinks you're well-suited for the role, she'll direct you at the first audition, and then you'll dig in and work hard to prepare for your callback.)
You become distracted or paralyzed when confronted with your competition, and persuade yourself that everyone else is better for the role than you are.
You feel as though the entire audition is controlled by others, upon whom you are totally dependent.
You suffer a loss of confidence. You feel isolated, anxious, insecure, and negative about your talent. You know you are a better actor than you appear to be at the audition.
You are convinced that the director has already cast the role and is obliged to see you or is doing you a favor.
If the atmosphere is not overly friendly, you assume that the director has taken an instant dislike to you.
You're certain the director knows what he wants and you don't have a clue. If you make the wrong choice, you won't get the job.
Your focus is on pleasing the director, rather than on doing your work.
You believe the director is looking for a reason to reject you rather than to hire you.
The pressure to get the job either gives you too much energy, or, in an effort to deny the pressure, too little energy.
You hurry through the audition for fear of boring the director or making her fall behind schedule, so you don't take the time to experience the important moments in the script. You rush through it and virtually fly over the material rather than inhabit it.
You feel nervous; your breath is shallow; your voice becomes constricted and doesn't sound like your natural voice; your body is stiff and self-conscious.
You feel emotionally blocked, so you work technically and are unable to get in touch with your spontaneous
Provides a guide to auditioning for film and theatrical roles with confidence, including tips on preparing for a role, finding the right monologues and songs to showcase talent, and dealing with creative criticism.
Joanna Merlin was a recipient of the Casting Society of America's Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramatic Feature Film Casting for Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and for Best Musical Theater Casting for Sonheim and Lapine's Into the Woods. As Harold Prince’s casting director, she cast the original Broadway productions of Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, and Evita, among others and her film casting includes Michael Cimino's Year of the Dragon and Merchant Ivory's Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.
As an actor, Merlin has appeared in six Broadway productions, including Becket, in which she played opposite Laurence Olivier, and Fiddler on the Roof, in which she created the role of Tzeitle. Her film appearances include City of Angels; Murder and murder; Two Bits; Class Action; Mystic Pizza; The Killing Fields; Fame; Baby, It's You; and The Ten Commandents; and her television appearances include Northern Exposure; Law and Order; L.A. Law; A Marriage: O'Keefe and Stieglitz; and In a Child's Name.
Joanna Merlin teaches in the Graduate Acting Program of New York University, the Actors Center in New York, and the Manhattan School of Music Professional Musical Theater Workshop. She is cofounder of the Non-Traditional Casting Project, and is a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Harold Prince — Introduction — Stop self-sabotage : change the odds! — Other side : a demystification — Actable choices : bringing the text to life — Applying actable choices — Auditioning for the camera — Auditioning for musicals — Monologues — Auditioning event : a practical guide — Tips — Little advice from some experts — Care and feeding of an actor.
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