Almost every actor I have met so far has made my world, these fantastic personalities, these incredible life stories of either complexity or simplicity. Love them! All of them. But then I come across a few that just aren’t so great…and am glad they show their colors before I work with them. So this is my opinion to maybe give you more insight into the mind of a indie film maker.
So a young man saw my posting for my casting call in a week. He applies. I get a resume, a headshot (woot) and a message. Which reads this (edited for security purposes lol):
I saw your ad on…for roles in your short film. As I read the synopsis I immediately felt connected to the entire idea of the movie and especially the role of Aaron. My mother suffered from…for the majority of her life… I feel Aaron’s pain. My mother is no longer with me but there are times when I’m alone but find myself in a conversation with her spirit and feeling as though she were still around me.
Please accept my resume and photo as my application to play the role of Aaron.
If you wish to contact me you can send me an email back or give me a call on my cell phone.
In return I send him more about the project, audition dates/time, a bunch of links to the project to help him with research, (Did I say I hate email, but always on the go…soo…email).
He then sends me a message saying, great thank you for the opportunity. Before I can send a date and confirmation, I receive another asking if he gets paid (which shows he didn’t read the posting or click any links I sent him…darn). He then asks the filming location, and I tell him (asking means he didn’t read again…darn). But it happens
He returns with another message that he would like to read the script so he
Can read into the character before I can make a final decision. It’s important I feel connected to the character if I were to go through with the audition and (if chosen) the role.
I don’t wish to see a full issue of the script, just merely a scene or two. It provides closure for me in both this production’s legitimacy and also my personal connection to the character so I can audition.
Don’t you think it’s appropriate to offer me that much considering you cannot provide the travel and accommodation expenses over the course of my audition and perhaps future role?
My concern here is why he is apply, or sending resumes with personal information and a photograph if he questions it’s legitimacy? (a little after the fact to just create an argument, which I don’t have time for.) Do not apply for any acting job if you’re not sure if it’s legit. My second concern, is a change in story now he’s not connected, he wants to connect….
My second is I send scripts to those willing to audition, booked and know of all the risk with the project and are all in. I do not have time to worry about someone not able to carry a piece of the weight like myself and my crew.
Now. I get it he wants more. I would consider giving him more if I had some sort of evidence of solidity. He has zero experience. Zero backing of anyone. No acting classes. No drama works from highschool. Nothing on his resume that shows any connection to acting. Not even a brief demo reel of something he put together for personal promo. Remember to put something together if you have no backing, read a monologue on camera, perform a scene…and post it and share it.
Now his closing paragraph. He’s right I can’t pay his travel/accommodation expenses IF he got the role, hasn’t auditioned yet. BUT in what world would I PAY for TRAVEL to an AUDITION? It’s a job interview. I am paying for my own travel and accommodation to take a train four hours to Toronto for the audition. That’s part 187 of effort on my part as I don’t sleep, I work on this project. I’m the creator, it’s how it works. This is a business. And a business relationship. Yes respect,honesty and integrity are valued. But this is not a school group project where ‘since I did this, I should get this’ applies.
He wants an ‘offer’ for something he hasn’t earned yet. Always remember where you stand. The worth of others and yourself. An indie film maker, like myself puts out hours of free work…hard ass work. Of all aspects of the jobs, I don’t think people understand. The offer you get for auditioning is a chance, and hard work from a crew. If you investigate my project, thoroughly you’ll see my hard work or any one you’re working with. If you’re not sure then dig deep. I will always see your hard work, and what you’re giving up to work on an indie film, but you must see my hard work for us to work together. And most indie film makers will see it too. Remember that. All in. All honest. All you and the dream.
Do not expect things without working for them. Especially when you’re breaking into the business. Everyone needs to work hard and give things up to get a film made! I understand I’m asking a lot to have you work for free, but hell I’m working for free and I’m doing a hell of a lot more than anyone when it comes to putting the film together. I’m okay with that. I want the actor to be stress free. But don’t forget what the film maker is giving to you as I know what you’re giving me…you’re bringing my words to life, giving them a soul.
Well we have comedic & dramatic [contemporary (aka modern), classical]. Deciding on a monologue is tough. You have to find something that suits you, don’t try to simply ‘put on a show.’ What I mean by that is don’t pick it because it’s simply from your favorite screen/play/wright. Make sure it suits you, your voice, your capabilities.
I have had to sit through monologues that were terrible fits for the actor. Always get a second opinion. Ask a fellow actor/teacher/friend/parent. Someone and ask for an honest opinion. It’s upsetting to me as I listen to words being butchered an an actor just speaking lines rather than ‘performing,’ ‘living breathing’ the lines. Be inspired, let it connect to you, take a deep breath and make a good choice.
When you rehearse the lines to think about your movements perhaps only once. As the worst is an actor who comes in front of me grabbing his head ‘on cue.’ We can feel that, we catch it as directors. We want natural. So memorize and then do what ‘you’ would do as the ‘character.’
Whoever you’re speaking to in the monologue, get a clear face, a clear imagine of who they are, what they are doing in front of you, how they sound, what they expressions are and carry that with you to the audition. So important! As whoever you are talking to, we need to either become them or imagine them their with you.
I also recommend practicing performing the monologue in multiple ways as you will most likely be asked to do so at an audition.
Time yourself! Check the required time. But it’s usually one to three minutes. This is very important as well. As you must remember that we are artists and we have short attention spans as we need to be ‘enticed,’ ‘activated,’ at all times, so do just that! Keep it short, keep it entertaining. I had to sit through some long monologues and honestly I remember the beginning and then it’s a complete fog (thank goodness for video tapes) and it seems even longer in play back! Keeping it short and sweet is smart as it not only gives you an immediate chance to shine, it also allows easier memorization and you can get it done much faster. So stick to one to three minutes unless they ask for something else.
I posted a few links below on links to different monologues. If you’re ever freaking out video tape yourself, post and send it to me, I’ll give you my fine opinion!
‘Due to the storage limit, I was unable to attach my CV and headshot…’
Alright, the last part of my email is @gmail.com which means I have over 7,000 MB. You’re telling me your CV and headshot are bigger than that?? I’m confused folks…confused.