How to Master your Monologue
If your monologue audition is fast approaching, and like most, you’re dreading the thought of going solo; then fear no more! Take that center stage and grab your moment to shine, show them what you’ve got with these essential tips in becoming a monologue master.
Have a variety of different monologues under your belt, it may seem like more work having more than one polished and ready to go but you’ll feel a lot more prepared and confident, plus you’ll never doubt yourself and wonder whether another style of monologue suited your personality more. So have around 5 monologues at your disposal, as you never know, they also might be so impressed that they ask you to do one more!
Tip: It is also important to remember not to base your choice of monologue on your own personal preference, one that you might find tedious or dull could actually land you the role. It is about how well you perform it and how relevant it is to their brief.
"It’s worth thinking about how you are going to shoot and frame your monologue. Even though the most important thing is performance" - BFI Future Film Festival director Noel Goodwin
Nerves can get the better of us, but as soon as you walk into the room you’re selling yourself. In your head just imagine you’re talking to friends and family, don’t be robotic and let their grilling questions take away your personality (easier said than done), walk-in lose, relaxed and confident. They want to work with someone who is fun, easy to get on with and friendly, so show them you.
As tempting as it is to stick to the most common crowd pleasers you not only run the risk of having the same monologue as the person before you but it also shows lack of imagination or uniqueness. Pick a monologue that will prick up their ears, it will be a breath of fresh air, plus it shows a little bit about your personality.
Find a focus point
One of the most awkward parts of a monologue is knowing where to look. Anchoring your gaze towards the panel can not only put them off from making notes but it can be equally as uncomfortable for them. Rather than leaving your eyes to wander around aimlessly choose a focal point to direct your lines at, such as the side of the camera or even the wall. Whatever works best for you. Do avoid the floor, ceiling or window.
Tip: never direct your monologue towards the casting director, it may be subconscious but it also comes across like a desperate plea to make them approve of your performance. At all costs act like they aren’t there so they can focus on your performance.
Keep it short
The brutal reality is that they have most probably judged your acting ability and skill within the first 10 seconds, so try not to overindulge for any longer than 2 minutes. Quality over quantity is key. Edit and cut so that your monologue is bold, dramatic and leaves them wanting more.
You’re telling a story
Always remember you’re telling a story in a short amount of time, so cut out any unnecessary rambling and jargon that doesn’t add anything to what you’re trying to say. You need to engage rather than bore your audience so make sure every word, phrase, and sentence is valuable, with a mixture of chatty colloquial language and dry humor, edgy wit to show a variety of skills and demonstrate your range of ability.
"Even if your technology is relatively limited it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it work for you" - BFI Future Film Festival director Noel Goodwin
Get a second opinion
Whether that be a friend who knows their stuff or a qualified coach, having someone look over what you’ve got is invaluable. It is easy to be either really self-critical to a fault or to have practiced so many times that you haven’t picked up on tiny errors or areas for improvements.
Remember the reason why you’re there, try not to focus too much on the outcome of your audition after but instead just revel in it, you’re there to tell a story, engage the audience, entertain and express yourself and your character. Just do what you do best and have fun.
Cry - Being able to cry on cue isn’t the key to success and doesn’t earn you any extra acting points.
Laugh - If you laugh at your own performance it is a clear sign you have no confidence in yourself or the script. Laughing also suggests that you’re holding up an audience cue card, if you’re delivering a comedy piece trust they’ll find it funny, its also important to remember that they may laugh but still not cast you so try not to focus on being a crowd pleaser and let the lack of laughter put you off.
Shout - It is important to express yourself but remember that energy and vigor doesn’t mean unnecessary noise. You want to engage the panel, not make them feel uncomfortable.
Use inappropriate language - keep it clean and avoid any obscenities and foul language.
Never say your monologue is over - Avoid saying, ‘all done’ or ‘that’s it from me’ when your monologue is over, instead stand still, hold, then drop your shoulders and come out of character. Say thank you and bow your head, it shows professionalism to the panel.
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