Short Monologue for Screen....Help Please??

  • Bethan Hanks

    Actor

    Hi All,

    I've never posted before but I know you guys are very helpful and extremely knowledgeable...so hope you can help.

    I have an interview with a prospective agent and they need me to prepare a short monologue suitable for screen...haven't got a clue where to look.

    I don't want something from one of those books as I'd imagine they would have seen those speeches a thousand times.

    I'm 28 but look and sound 19 in person so the character should be around that age but if it's gritty that would be good too...or comedy...any ideas?

    Thanks in advance

    Beth

    • 24th Feb 2010
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  • Michael Good

    Actor

    Hi Bethan

    Try this link..www.whysanity.net/monos/

    they will give you a variety of speeches used in films both old and recent, hope it helps.

    • 22nd Feb 2010
    • 1
  • User Deleted

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    Some speeches from (modern) plays written for the stage can work well for this kind of thing so don't discount any you already use and like just because they are not written specifically for screen. As has been discussed on showreel threads, monologues on screen are rare beasts anyway. Sometimes, really quite introspective speeches from plays can work well as an audition piece for camera as the camera can catch you thinking and remembering as you deliver it. If you also have the person you are talking to (and how they are reacting to what you say) in your mind's eye, this may help. That's probably really obvious advice! Good luck!

    • 22nd Feb 2010
    • 2
  • User Deleted

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    Yep, whysanity is def a good place to look. I recently used the short monologue from The French Lieutenant's Woman which is on there, and although I'm quite a bit older, it could work for you? It also has the advantage of being easy to "repair" if you lose your place as the sentences are fairly interchangeable!! It has a nice range of emotion, too. :)

    • 22nd Feb 2010
    • 3
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    As Helen says, and while I don't want to disparage your agent before you work with them at all, it is a little odd for someone to ask you to perform a monologue for screen...because it's almost a contradiction in terms! The last thing most actors ever have to perform on screen is a monologue! And that's why you'll find it hard to track down monologues in screenplays, as opposed to stage works.

    Giving the benefit of the doubt, I'll assume that your agent still knows what they are looking for - and they are asking to see you perform something of a decent duration, but to try and assess the quality of potential screen performance from it, because they are primarily interested in selling you for screen work. Which I suppose is fair enough. The (slight) difficulty you have is knowing whether or not they can *actually* appreciate the difference between a stage performance and a screen one!

    That sounds ridiculous - but, in actual fact, some of what has to be done to convey a good screen performance will not read at all well if a camera is not trained at you at the time, recording what you do for playback later. Your best bet may be to find a 'middle path' between stage and screen performance for the sake of showing what you can do here.

    Essentially, the things to remember about screen performance are that while it is contained, it does not lack emotional engagement. This means that, in effect, you need to be as emotionally connected to the material as you would be in a stage performance, but you should work as if you were in close up shot. There is no point in needlessly moving around the room, because this would distract the camera in the real situation. You do not need to project loudly, merely speak loudly enough to be heard by a microphone that is about 12 inches away from you. And the reactions on your face are as important as what you say. These are actually the real 'secrets' of good screen acting.

    What is uncertain here is that, if you are not actually being recorded on camera (I assume you won't be), how *really* working like an experienced screen performer will come across. You may, if you're not careful, end up too quiet to be heard (this doesn't matter when you are speaking into a mic, and some of the best screen actors in the world use incredibly low levels of voice), and exagerrated reactions may look odd when you are simply addressing a person sitting across from you in the room, rather than playing for the lens. The best option for the circumstances I think is, therefore, to lower your vocal levels a little, pare down your movement, keep your focus intent, and try, if you can, to keep your head up from the page you are reading from as much as possible (if you can learn the monologue, so much the better). This is not quite everything you'd do in a screen performance, but it will give the impression that you know the difference between this, and the sort of bold gesticulation and articulation that is demanded on stage.

    If you are asked to work for a camera, then, by all means, go for it as if were a screen test, and knock their socks off with your skill - but I wouldn't have thought an agent would go to those lengths.

    • 22nd Feb 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    I agree with the tips Lee gives. Agents do seem to want to see camers skills now, though. An agent I saw two days ago (I await the result with bated breath...) asked for a screen monologue and definitely wanted to see screen acting skills. Not the whole theatre "projecting" thing. They wanted to see if i could do subtle, "real", natural acting that didn't look like acting. It's all in the eyes! You'll be great :)

    • 22nd Feb 2010
    • 5
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Yeah, I didn't mean to suggest that the agent doesn't know what they're looking for (although, of course, some agents have no idea of how an acting process works, they just know when they like a performance and when they don't - from your point of view, you just have to have solid technique, so that you can make every performance effective). But it sometimes baffles me when screen directors even ask for a performance that isn't being filmed. I've never understood that as, really, what you do in a space, and what the screen reads you as having done in a space, are not at all the same thing. But I would assume some directors just like to imagine they can visualise results without switching a camera on!

    Anyway, I think the point stands: if what they want to see is screen audition, the important thing is less the choice of monologue (although something that suits your playing style, and you feel comfortable about delivering is naturally best!) than the consciousness of making this a screen performance. Some actors who aren't used to screen work assume that it is basically much the same as delivering stage material, 'toned down a bit'. It's a cardinal error, because you have to keep the intensity, while performing in a more contained way.

    Don't overthink what you're doing, but do try and convince them you know what you're doing. One of the reasons they are probably hoping you will be great at screen work is because that is where they can make their money from you, so it's worth convincing them you will be a good find in this sphere. Good luck!

    • 22nd Feb 2010
    • 6
  • Bethan Hanks

    Actor

    Wow Thanks so much to all of you for your advice.

    I'm overwhelmed at the level of detail in your responses.

    I whole heartedly agree with your suggestions. I won't overthink it will try to find a monologue that fits in with my playing style but will definitely play it as a screen audition / test natural but showing the intensity and range of emotions in the script whilst keeping it real and contained.

    when I get home I'm making notes of everything you've all said.

    Thanks again, this site is brilliant and you guys even better!

    Beth :0)

    • 23rd Feb 2010
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  • Bethan Hanks

    Actor

    oh and good luck Vanessa, I shall keep my fingers crossed on the results of your interview! :0) Keep us posted

    • 23rd Feb 2010
    • 8
  • User Deleted

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    Thanks Bethan! Found out yesterday - they took me on woop!woop! Keep us posted too :) x

    • 24th Feb 2010
    • 9
  • Bethan Hanks

    Actor

    Congrats Vanessa!!!

    I just took a look on your page and funnily enough my interview is with your agency!

    xxx

    • 24th Feb 2010
    • 10
  • User Deleted

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    Hey! Hey! Best not do the same monologue, then!! Oooh - let me know how you go, Sam is lovely :) How exciting x

    • 24th Feb 2010
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