In an audition, the more personally you invest in your decisions, the more specific the final result, and the more the people in the room know about what you, specifically, have to offer the role.
I write and teach extensively on how to be deeply specific in your intentions, your relationships, and your choices but today, I want to get even deeper and talk about the specificity of your connection to the other characters in a scene and, ultimately, to the reader or camera.
The first step in connecting in a meaningfully specific way is exploring all facets of the relationships. Now, I’m not talking about your ideas about the relationship—whether you think you love or hate the other person, etc., nor am I talking about a complicated backstory that puts you in your head and risks pulling you out of the moments of the scene. I’m talking about where the relationship lives in your body, how it feels.
When you explore the feelings in your body, be really specific as to where they live and how you’re physically affected. Get up, move around, put your hands on the parts of the body that are impacted, indulge in all of the sensations of the relationship.
The second step is the specific connection. The actual physical connection you make to another is the energetic manifestation of the feelings you discovered in exploring the relationship.
That being the case, we can safely say that energy follows emotion. If you decided you love the other character in a deeply passionate way and felt that passion in the pit of your stomach, where does that lead you energetically? Would it cause your body to lean in slightly at the waist? Would your breathing deepen or come quickly? Would you tighten or relax the stomach?
If you stay true to the feelings of the relationship in the audition, the energy will flow freely and create slight adjustments in your body. The emotions will then be expressed with the specific energy they need from your body. When this happens, the powerful, personal connection that results is undeniable.
You need to connect with that amount of strength because you’re connecting to a reader or camera that isn’t giving you a lot—or anything—to work with. But I guarantee when you connect with the energetic force of your emotions, the reader will start to read differently and you’ll jump through that camera and truly affect the people watching.
The difference in your auditions will be huge. While most actors think it’s enough to simply stare at the reader or into the camera in an effort to show they can listen, you’ll be connecting with the full force of your heart and your body. And this type of connection will allow the people in the room to positively answer one of the most important questions in the audition: Does this actor connect with the specificity that will ensure dynamic and compelling reaction shots?
At least half the time you’ll be on screen, the camera will be on you when you’re listening and reacting. If they don’t see the type of connection we’ve been talking about in the room or on the tape, your audition is over.
Specificity is the hallmark of greatness in acting and auditioning. But it doesn’t just apply to the specificity of what you’ve chosen to do, but also to the specificity of how you actually do it.