Thursday, December 6, 2012

Choosing an Audition Monologue

I am continuously asked to help someone chose audition monologues.  Their great fear is that they will select something that is "overdone."  There are even articles on the web listing overdone monologues.  I think the concept of a monologue being overdone is baloney.  I think the problem is that the monologues are done poorly.

Young aspiring actors often have little or no knowledge of plays.  Some have not even been in a play, much less having read one.  Certainly the aspiring actor who is serious about his or her aspirations is reading plays and is acting in amateur plays as often as possible.  If they are not, one has to question the honesty of their aspirations.  Be that as it may, the fact remains that a great number of aspiring actors are seeking help finding monologues.

The worst place they can look is in books of monologues, which in many cases are not speeches from quality plays.  Where they need to look is in the library.  Monologues are long speeches from plays.  Plays are found in the library.  Simple.

My web site does have a monologue sources page.  Some people need such resources, so I provide one.  But in most cases, the reader must still read the play to understand the monologue. I was once told that some well-known actress said she didn't think it was necessary for someone to read the play from which a monologue was taken.  I think she is wrong.  Since a monologue, like all the other speeches in the play, is an emotional response to the circumstances of the moment, the actor needs to know everything in the play about that moment.  Doing a monologue without knowing the given circumstances for its existence probably accounts for many of the poor performances of that monologue.  The poor performances are what make the auditors not want to hear it again, and it gets the reputation of being "over done."

Quality trumps quantity every time.  We can see "Hamlet" or "Romeo and Juliet "or "Oklahoma" or any other number of  plays again and again and enjoy them--so long as they are done well.  But no one wants to see bad acting, even for a moment. When you select your audition monologue keep this in mind.

Two important factors in choosing an audition monologue are: is this a role you would be likely to be cast in, and is this a speech you can do really, really well.  If those two criteria are met, you won't have selected an overdone speech.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Just Think You Know It Is Hard to Have an Acting Career

A recent AOL Article was titled "Actress Admits She Is Desperate for Work"  Kristen Stewart, 22, star of the "Twilight" series, said "I'm kinda desperate for work right now." She also said "I'm itching to go back to work."   Unlike "Twilight" co star Robert Pattison, who is set to start a new film in Australia soon, Stewart is unemployed.

I urge my readers to reread the opening paragraph several times. Allow its message of "acting as a career is not a continuous occupation like teaching, for example.  Each film or play is a separate job and when it is over, the actor must find a new job. This is what an agent is for, of course, but the actor also has to help find new employment. 

Many actors become producers and make films in which they can work.  That is one solution. It is a financially risky one.  If the film does not earn back the millions it takes to make it, the actor may not work again for a long time. Anyone remember Pia Zadora?  She flopped in a big film "The Lonely Lady" produced by her husband and disappeared from acting.  Certainly no one wants to do that.

Finding work is always, always what an actor does most of the time.  Those 'day' jobs are really important.  An acting career is a costly investment. Hopefully if it pays off in big dollars such as those that Pattison and Stewart earned in "Twilight", the actor is wise enough to invest his earnings carefully so as to provide income for years to come.

So many young actors who suddenly find themselves with millions of dollars, waste their money or are conned out of it my unscrupulous managers and other members of their entourage.  An actor has to be money-wise and plan for the periods of unemployment between jobs.  Good managers, accountants, publicists, and agents, honest and trustworthy people, can help make or break an acting career as it begins to take off for the beginner.

The obtaining of such a crew of workers to support your career is a part of acting that I m sure few of my readers were aware existed. These people who help you survive and grow between jobs are just part of what makes an acting career so very. very difficult.

I hope all of you aspiring actors out there are able to reach a point in your career when you have to deal with such things, and that you do them well.   God bless, Doc