Actor and Director Ben Hodge has been the acting teacher at Central York High School for the past 10 years where he has developed an innovative and fresh curriculum for young actors aged 13-24. This curriculum and workshop format is now available to the greater York area with hopes of training and leading new actors to the realisation that acting is a more than just a hobby or pastime: it is an honourable profession and a way of life. His connections with New York City, LA and local talent agencies are now being offered to anyone who joins the Studio classes and have opened the doors for many already joined. He currently runs classes and offers private acting coaching via Skype. Connect with Ben on Twitter or via email
Auditions are inherently nerve-wracking. Actors talk ad nauseum about how they do fine in preparation or in production, but freeze up in that audition room. Why do auditions have to be this way? I believe that actors need to change their conception of auditions and look to construct a new audition paradigm. Auditions should be energizing. They should be enjoyable. They should be opportunities to perform. Easier said than done for sure.
Here is part 2 on Audition Don’ts.
Some comments on BEFORE, DURING and AFTER:
Before you enter that room: Pick yourself up. Avoid slouching over in a corner with sad music pulsing through your headphones…EVEN IF you are playing a depressed character. Save the transformation until after the CD is able to see the real you walk in. Try adopting a power pose in the waiting room. You’d be surprised with the results. CD’s want to see a confident, real, pleasant and natural human being, not someone who is “in character” before they even start. These things will help with that.
When you walk into that room: Keep your head up. Smile. Breathe (you’d be surprised how many people forget this one). Find your mark firmly and plant yourself firm upon it. Maintain a “power” pose (without going overboard), answer any questions from the CD, gather yourself and go! After you finish, they may give 1-2 notes (direction or adjustment). Take that direction and continue. And when in doubt, always LISTEN. Trust your instincts and trust in YOU and your abilities.
As you leave: Say thank you, smile and walk out confidently and as natural as you can. DO NOT under any circumstances speak out about your performance. No need to linger and wait/ask for feedback. They will be clear about adjustments or direction. Be careful about any noises or sighs, etc. that could come out of your mouth. Those can be obvious signs that you are passing judgement on your performance. Let what just happened…be.
Several years ago, an actor walked into one of my auditions. He gave a decent performance and actually had a quirky, tech-geek look that we were looking for. Unfortunately, I don’t remember his actual acting ability. What I remember was how he acted on the way out: he slouched his shoulders in classic defeat style and audibly said: “God, I suck.” As the door closed behind him, I turned to my assistant and said: “He’s not ready.” I remember him for his last words and behavior, not his acting ability. Be memorable for the right reasons. The “Aw Shucks” mentality will get your remembered for all of the wrong ones.
Guest Post from Actor and Director Ben Hodge – A few audition DON’Ts that I’ve seen over the years – Part I
Ben Hodge has been acting and directing for 20 years in a variety of formats. He has directed several productions in York, PA and had his play REACH performed in NYC at an Off-Broadway venue in 2009. Ben studied English and Acting at Messiah College and received his Masters in Education from Penn State University. After the success of REACH, the hit play about the hidden issues of 21st Century teens, Ben started acting classes in the York, PA area and created Ben Hodge Studios in October 2009. His main goal is to bring a high-level, professional acting workshop to York, PA that is modelled after professional workshops with influences by Uta Hagen, Sanford Meisner and David Mamet.
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