WHAT'S THE FIRST FEW STEPS YOU TAKE WHEN YOU LOOK AT A FILM SCRIPT?

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    Your film script arrives with your audition scenes to prepare. What are the first few steps you take to prepare for the audition? Say... you're not required to learn the lines completely, just be familiar enough with them.

    Just interested to know how each of you approach the script and prepare for the audition itself. Any favourite ways of working with a script to give yourself the best chance.

    OKAY....

    GO!......

    • 10th Nov 2006
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  • User Deleted

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    for me

    1- look for the charcter of the person your playing

    is there any info in the script that can help

    2- the scene

    what is the emotion of the character/scene

    playing at that point in time

    3- what else can i add to it to make them a 3d character

    well that my thoughts "TAT"

    apart from good luck

    • 1st Nov 2006
    • 1
  • Denise Channing

    Actor

    I've just been reading a book on directing which suggests reading it flat at first, to get the lines memorised. Then you don't have to come out of character to think about lines. Just express what you know.

    • 1st Nov 2006
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  • User Deleted

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    I wouldnt look at emotions as I think playing emotions can be quite misleading for me...I tend to look at the intentions of the character...what are they trying to do in the scene....what do they WANT in the scene VS what do they NEED in the scene...then the emotions tend to come much more naturally...very drama schooly but quite helpful I find.

    Benx

    • 1st Nov 2006
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  • Denise Channing

    Actor

    This was also suggested in the book I've been reading. Get into the motivation of the character rather than 'acting' out emotions. Then the emotions come naturally.

    • 2nd Nov 2006
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    ok so i forgot to add the motivation for the character

    • 2nd Nov 2006
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  • User Deleted

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    I get the intentions sorted out, then understand the character so I fully 'get' what's going on (back story etc) and only then do I get a rough gist of the lines in my head, then react to your reader and you're sorted!

    I think as long as you know who you are, what you are doing and what you are trying to acheive the emotions and lines should be a natural organic flow....sounds all a bit 'luvvie' doesn't it dahling?!

    Hope this is helpful...

    H x

    • 2nd Nov 2006
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  • User Deleted

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    Thanks everyone for taking time to respond so far.

    Answering the Who? Where? Why? How? What? etc. is something that I try to do and then wonder if I'm making a meal out of it!! Does everyone else do this when they prepare for an audition? I mean, I was interested to know exactly what others do when the script lands in your hand. Not a full script too, but just scenes. Do you actually go through all of the things that have been mentioned? Do you wing it? Come on, honest answers!! What is the most important outcome for you to achieve when you work on a script/scene?

    Sorry to get a little heavy!!

    Helen - It doesn't sound "luvvie dahhling"!! :0)

    • 2nd Nov 2006
    • 7
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I figure I sort of 'wing it' a bit. But that makes it sound like you don't do any prior work on the script! What I mean is I read and re - read the script in the hope of getting good 'instinctual' reactions to what is being presented to me. And then I let those ideas play on me when I'm called to read again at the audition. Some people say learning the lines first is all important - possibly - it can free up your delivery, but it can also ensure that you're not really listening to the other person, just thinking of your line. You should always have a sense of how their feed in is making you feel, because at screen auditions, I really think they care most about the reactions, not the delivery so much.

    My own hit rate for screen auditions is modest, so I'm not sure why I'm setting myself up as an authority (!), but I think the wisest thing I ever read about screen auditions is that, frankly, the best thing you can do in them is show your auditioners how you work as an actor (that goes for all auditions). Frequently, you don't get the part - why? - not necessarily because the audition did nothing to promote you, but, often, because what you're selling isn't quite what they want! This may be also true of all auditions, but I think you are allowed much more 'benefit of the doubt' in a stage audition. If you look like you'll be interesting to work with, you'll frequently be allowed to get somewhere. On screen, I think you either fit the way the film's gonna play, or you don't (and you can be the best performer in the world, and still not quite win them over to 'your' way of wanting to do things).

    So, if anything, my advice on screen acting is always fight hardest for the roles you *really* think suit you beautifully one way or the other, and use auditions for parts that you secretly think you haven't got much chance of getting as learning tools, so that when you do get the ideal call, you'll do it brilliantly.

    • 2nd Nov 2006
    • 8
  • Joseph Steyne

    Actor

    Some really good ideas from TAT:

    Set up a video camera while you are going through your script, this way you can see what the casting Ds will be watching.

    Get a friend to read in the other part/s so you can really concentrate on yours, I find Bob Hoskins is usually willing to help & easily contactable through either CCP or TAT.

    Plan your journey through each scene; Where have you come from? What has just happened? What do want? Where do you want to go?

    Set your obstacles but let the reactions occur organically. Every clip the CDs watch should be a 1 minute story.

    Stand up and act it out! Find how it feels in your body and voice, then you can convey that in the seated version.

    Try doing the lines after a jog, this will help to simulate the increase of heart rate you get at an audition.

    Always find a time to smile in each scene,

    jx

    • 2nd Nov 2006
    • 9
  • Denise Channing

    Actor

    "Frequently, you don't get the part - why? - not necessarily because the audition did nothing to promote you, but, often, because what you're selling isn't quite what they want!"

    At that moment. When I get to the audition stage of my current production, whether the actor suits the character will be as much of a factor as delivery. But a good delivery will be remembered for future parts.

    • 2nd Nov 2006
    • 10
  • Timo Gilbert

    Actor

    Actually, I grab a beer first.

    I often take some script I'm supposed to be studying to the pub on a lazy afternoon when no one's around and find a quiet out of the way place to sit where nobody will bother me and drink beer and smoke fags and read through it until I'm tired of it.

    Then I'm often mentally running through the lines in my head while I'm out and about. I never resort to running through it out loud until the moment the camera is on. Strangely enough that seems to work fine.

    • 2nd Nov 2006
    • 11
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Good last point, actually. I think that's perfectly true, of course because:

    1. A good performer who has shown they are a good performer never stops being one and

    2. You may be exactly right for a different type of part that comes up in a different project - at which point, your own style becomes a benefit.

    So yes, there's no such thing as a totally useless audition!

    Interestingly, although there's a bit of a distinction between those who screen audition 'on spec' and those who plot everything out in advance carefully emerging here, I'd say the majority of comments actually agree upon a few essential things:

    That you should try and get a script for any such audition, and really read it through well;

    That it's good to let the lines 'play around' in your brain, try them out in multiple different ways, and possibly that learning them *isn't* the most important thing, but *getting used* to them is...

    That (however you do it - with a partner or alone), it's good to examine the cue lines in detail as well, so you can think about how your reactions to them feel...

    That, on the day, to a certain extent, it's better to go with impulse and instinct (built on a base of solid preparation) rather than to have religiously worked everything out to the nth degree - that way, the auditioners get to see you, and your spontaneous ideas...

    All good thoughts. Frankly (and at the risk of derailing this thread a bit!), I often find that the hardest aspect of screen audition(for me) is physical, rather than mental - where to put your eyes, what the best position to hold a script you're reading from is, how long a pause you can justifiably leave before you give a reaction to a cue etc. I can find that if I'm worrying about all that too much, it gets in the way of the actual acting...but I personally think there's much more to be concerned with at any one time in a screen audition than in a stage one - pitching things vocally well, keeping good reactions going whilst sight - reading, avoiding too much gaze into the camera, listening closely to your scene partners, even positioning improvised scenes correctly for film usage, rather than stage usage. All complicated stuff, and I guess many of us who've yet to work on something really big - budget and/or hyper - intensive film - wise can get a little bamboozled by it all sometimes!

    • 2nd Nov 2006
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  • Tony Symonds

    Actor

    "Frequently, you don't get the part - why? - not necessarily because the audition did nothing to promote you, but, often, because what you're selling isn't quite what they want!"

    You have to remember there's always more actors auditioning than there is parts going. You have to remember that you can do everything right, and not get the part, and that may be because someone else did it right also, and they nudged it over you, not because you did it wrong.

    • 3rd Nov 2006
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  • Denise Channing

    Actor

    Must be nerve wracking. At least in rehearsal you've got someone to respond to usually, but cold reading with someone just feeding lines would be harder. I'm not a performer so I've never had the experience.

    Good point for me to keep in mind though. I've got enough actors involved in my project to provide someone to walk through with the auditions. Memorising the lines rather than reading from the script in your hand is always good for making a positive impression though. Especially when the project is low budget. Actors who are clearly able to learn lines will save on extra takes.

    • 3rd Nov 2006
    • 14
  • User Deleted

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    Thanks everyone. I think this is turning into a really helpful thread and I'm glad I brought it up. Anyone else got any comments about their approach to an audition script? Lots of ideas and reminders of ways of working have been posted. I know I often wonder how others prepare and what they do when they first get a script sent to them. We all know the tools, do we actually use them???

    Timo - You're hilarious!! Actually, a couple of nights ago I had a bottle of wine (yes, all to myself - greedy cow!!) and worked on this script a bit. The ideas came quite easily!! Or was that me just thinking that in my drunken stupor?! Who knows?? We'll find out soon enough!

    It's really helpful to have comments from the guys on the other side of the camera too. After all, it's you we are working for essentially. Thank you DChanning and TonySymonds. :0)

    Joseph - Bob Hoskins!! Funny! You have some really helpful ideas too. Have you got Bob's number?! ;0) Thanks.

    xx Shannon

    • 3rd Nov 2006
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  • Leila Reid

    Actor

    Who-is there character wise

    Where-is it eg location

    when day time date year

    why is my character-are they there to meet someone there

    how does my character get there, like physically as getting on a bus or emotionally if the caharcter arrives on stage/ in the scene in a state of tension how did they come to be in that state of tension?

    what does my character want to achieve in the scene such as to woo another character etc.

    • 3rd Nov 2006
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  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Hey Shannon,

    Great thread by the way, just enjoyed everyones comments, and think all of the above.

    A lot of the work I have done has required me to learn whilst rehearsing, which isn't best, as you're halfway through the run when you become most familiar. But that's mainly where the company know you already, as you've worked previously with them or they've seen you in another show, and are aware of your capabilities. It's a cold way of learning, though it does make you a quick study lol!

    On an audition, I try to (if I've had the script in advance, generally on the train drive over in a lot of cases) just read the story and get the gist of it, unless specified, you're not expected to be word perfect, it's the character they want to see. First thing I look for is what similarities of me are in the role, then what kind of character I can build from that, then I do my best to bring the lines and any emotions necessary into play. If it's a sight reading, don't be afraid to ask for a few minutes before reading, they'll most likely give you that anyway, but again, don't feel you cannot ask for a few more, it makes the difference between a good read and a great read.

    Improvise the situation to suit you and the feel of the character you're creating, this tends to work better with comedy auditions as you can see if what you're doing works from their reactions.

    All from me

    Kenny

    • 5th Nov 2006
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    To follow on from (a bit of) Meek's reply...

    It does seem to be the case that stage directors and screen directors have different approaches towards the way you approach the script.

    On stage, they do frequently get a bit uptight if you aren't 'honouring the words of the playwright', and I'd say if you have to learn stuff for a stage audition (unlikely though that may be), you should always be precise, because of this - even more so if a) you're doing an audition speech from something well known [ypu'd be surprised how pedantic some people can be about Shakespeare scanning!] or b) you're doing a new writing extract with the author in the audition with you! Plays do work on the principle that whoever put it together spent a long time putting it together just so, and poncey though it sounds, getting the words right matters (or at least it's supposed to).

    But screen is a totally different kettle of fish - on set, things are rewritten all the time, lines are trimmed and new ones inserted, and frankly, many screen directors don't care that much about the exact content of the words, so long as they are in the ball park. I think there's probably a good reason for this, which is that screen acting would like you to be as 'real' as possible, and so, whatever you need to make words on a page sound like you could be really saying them should be accepted. There are all sorts of contractions and funny 'poetic' ways of writing which appear in plays, and can be accepted as such because we know, deep down, that plays are only supposed to be a heightened interpretation of reality. But screen stuff is meant to feel 'real', so some 'poetic' dialogue will never work. You just can't imagine anyone would actually say things like that.

    It's actually good screen practice to rewrite the script yourself if you need to, provided you make sure everyone knows you've done it, and play the part the way that suits you.

    After all that, what this does this have to do with auditions? Well, just that being word perfect for screen stuff is not as important as getting the sense out, presenting the character (as I think Kenny said), and letting them see what you look like on a camera. Maybe it's sometimes even good to riff on the ideas in the script, even if you've learnt it, if it'll make the performance fresher and more immediate.

    Cor...another long set of opinions - this thread seems to be generating them !! (that's a good thing).

    • 5th Nov 2006
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  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Hey Meeks,

    this may seem like a contradiction but I do agree with you. When I put myself into character I am still only me, but I am me in the 3rd party. Let's face it if you're doing a murder scene you have to feel the hatred, the angst, the passion, nerves and power for it to be convincing. You cannot walk into it cold as yourself, you need to put yourelf into that frame of mind, i.e. the frame of mind of that role, that character. I wasn't referring to method acting. Sheesh, I know some do go spend months living as a person, but hey, I just need the time to enrage myself enough to pull it off lol!

    Kenny

    • 6th Nov 2006
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