I hope you enjoyed your holiday, dear readers. I hope you took time to honor those who have fallen in defense of our country. I hope you didn’t get sunburned. I hope you didn’t overdose on hotdogs and macaroni and cheese. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! There are lots of exciting projects coming up this summer; you’ve got indie films, you’ve got commercials, you’ve got the Capital Fringe Festival.
While you’re out, going to all these auditions, it’s important to remember to get your audience to love you. There’s an excellent book out that will help you do just that. It’s called “How to Make Your Audience Fall in Love with You” by director Deryn Warren.
There are so many nuggets of wisdom in Warren’s book. Among them:
“We want to see your unique self, not your unique self’s idea of a character. You are different from everyone else.
Your parents, your history, culture, friendships, traumas, socioeconomic status, and education all add up to give you a rich background to draw upon. Each actor’s approach to the circumstances of a role is different. If you use yourself, you are using your rich background.
No matter how much background material you could imagine for your ‘character,’ no matter how many pages of background you write, your imaginary character will never match your long and complicated history. Use yourself in the circumstances of the role. It is you who are in love. You are robbing a bank. You have only one eye. Use your imagination about the circumstances, but use yourself and your instincts to react.
Assume a role, but don’t play a character. Be yourself in the situation with your own reactions. I call it looking out of your own eyes.
No matter what role you play—a superhero, a supermodel, an intellectual, a farmer, or even a psychopath, you want your audience to be thinking, ‘That actor is so exciting, intelligent, and full of vitality that I’m falling in love.’
For every audition and for every scene, never be content with just saying the lines with some kind of meaning and emotion. Anyone off the street can do that. Risk! Add to the scene the biggest gift you have— yourself. Not your everyday self, but your extraordinary self.
Have you heard a recording of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech? You could read his powerful words and be moved, but when you hear him saying the words using all his passion, his thunderous voice, his care to make each phrase of great consequence, then you are stirred and changed. He risked because he wanted to make an impact. He wanted to change the world.
Why do actors so often work with only a third of their personality showing? Without their natural energy and humor? Without even using their full voice? So many actors whisper, as if they were doing commercials for personal hygiene products. Polite is boring. Playing it safe is boring. Taking chances, risking, extending an idea from safe to spectacular is the actor’s mission.
Actors risk by using all of themselves, their own passion, humor, charm, intelligence, and vitality, by making unconventional choices and by not being afraid to make fools of themselves.
Buy the book today. Don’t delay. And remember to do something for your career every day and break a leg!