All too often I hear actors and models make comments about things they wished they had said or done in the casting room after the fact. Actors get caught up in trivial things, like missing a line in a script or interchanging words. The truth is that no one cares if you miss a line or forget to say thank you when you leave. What you should REALLY be focused on is whether or not you are presenting the character we are interested in watching -- both on the screen and the runway!
So how can you make your character more personal and relatable?
Brian Timoney says that personalization is a technique used by method actors to help them give ‘real’ performances without the need for imitation or inspiration. By simply fueling your performance with real feelings and real emotions, you are able to give performances that can be more convincing than if you had months to invent these feelings and emotions.
Let’s imagine a common scenario. You are in an audition and you are required to play a character who’s in a complicated relationship with a member of the opposite sex. You are required to play a scene in which the relationship is coming to an abrupt end. Now, this would be very difficult to prepare for in just a few minutes, especially if the actor opposite you was someone you’d never met before. However, by using personalization you would project the personality of someone from your own past onto your fellow actor. By carefully and accurately projecting the image of someone you’ve been in a doomed relationship with and recalling your own feelings at the moment it all came to an end, you will be able to give a thoroughly authentic performance at almost a moment’s notice.
This is a great technique for any acting scenario but it’s particularly useful for auditions. One of the best things about this technique is that it can be completely internalized. This means that those that see your performance won’t know that you are using personalization to fuel your performance. They won’t know whose image you are projecting onto your fellow actor and they won’t know about the raw, evocative emotions that you felt as you gave your performance.
All they will see is an actor giving a great performance with only a few moments to prepare!
How can you maintain your focus on the emotional life of your endeavor rather than the trivial things?