Our teacher, Richard Lawson, recently assigned us to find audition sides, do a self-tape and then submit it to the casting director of that particular project.
I found sides from a TV series and quickly began using Richard’s technique
for audition preparation called The Subtees Process. I spent a total of five hours on The Subtees Process to create the product I wanted.
I did the audition in class and delivered my product. I delivered exactly what I had worked on during The Subtees Process. After the class watched my audition, our teacher that morning, the amazing Kelly Tighe, gave me my assessment. She started off with what worked about it and what I could fix in the second take. Here at the studio, the philosophy is “Find The Good And Praise It”. Find what works about it first, praise it, and then present the adjustments and fixes.
Kelly thought I did a great job. That I allowed myself to be seen. That I am a leading man. That I had no judgement on the character or on myself. I had no walls up and I wasn’t hiding: What you see is what you get. She clearly got my apparent event (what we think is going on in the scene) and the actual event (what is really going on in the scene) The actual event is where the character’s subtext and inner life occurs.
I identified and carved out the following apparent event:
I’m showing off my new restaurant space to a friend.
I identified and carved out the following actual event:
I’m actually in love with her.
Kelly gave me the following notes to work on for the second take:
- In your moment before, what are you looking at? Be more specific with what you’re looking at and let it impinge you. What you were looking at in the first take was a little general. (I was looking at the restaurant space during my moment before, but it was general. I didn’t really see anything in particular.)
- How does Jorge react when someone critiques him? (I ask the girl what she thinks of the new space and she uses general, uninspired words like “Very nice” and “Fantastic” I reacted well to her comments in the first take, but how do I really react?) What’s the sting for Jorge? In this way, the other character’s words land on me in a more personal way.
I repeated the take in five minutes and nailed the notes. My audition elevated to another level. In those five minutes, I kept what worked and added the new notes Kelly gave me. In my moment before, I looked at a cable that ran along the wall and I actually became interested in the yellow velcro ribbon tied around it. I also became interested in the screw that held the cable up against the wall. I really looked at these things and became interested. On camera, I looked like I was beaming with pride over my new restaurant space, but I was actually in love with the cord on the wall. That specificity helped me to create a stronger moment before. My eyes focused on something specific. It helped me to pull in the environment even more into the audition and to be more connected to it throughout the audition. The specifics of the environment enhanced my storytelling, my belief and my pride in the restaurant on camera.
When the character gave her reaction to the new space, I reacted as I would. So, it became more personal to me. In the five minutes I had to apply the notes, I looked at how I respond to critiques and how I respond when I expect a certain answer and I don’t receive it.
After the second take, fellow friend and classmate, Lindsay Hopper, said, “You were able to still be flirty with her…even though you were clearly affected by what she was saying, you had good-humored inflexibility in what you wanted to hear from her. But you didn’t make her feel bad about it because you clearly like her. So that was a subtlety you brought in the second take that I don’t remember you doing so much in
the first take.”
So, for your viewing pleasure, here is the second take of the audition I sent to casting: