The top complaint I hear from industry personnel is that talent cannot accurately follow directions. I could spend an entire blog making excuses for why talent repeatedly confirm this fact, but that wouldn’t be productive. Let me start by saying that I agree that there are many distractions that contribute to the inability of a talent to complete the directions they are given. Alas, despite excuse, it doesn’t win friends or influence people. (It would greatly enhance your career to purchase and reread this book frequently.)
In order to “win friends and influence people” in the manner that will make them want to work with you many times over again, let’s discuss some positive tactics to help you better follow directions. Identifying and then following through are the two steps to completing your task.
Directions can be verbal or written, and in our industry, even mimed (as when a director gives the actor a line reading or a photographer physically creates a stance to help the model). Most of your communication with your agent will be some form of direction, too. CDs have told me that they have clearly listed what the want the talent to slate on camera and the talent repeatedly are unable to complete the task. It sounds absurd, but we’ve all fallen prey to this shortcoming at some point due to nerves, inexperience, or simply because we weren’t listening. You can practice these skills like any other – follow the direction you are given on a daily basis. The more accurate you are (this will improve as you learn to listen more closely) in following the directions in your daily life, the easier it will be when you’re under pressure on set or in the casting room.