I’ve got some good news and some good news. Which do you want first?
Okay, fine, I’ll start with the good news!
Whether you’ve been an actor for years or you’re just getting started, you can start nailing auditions in a relatively short time by simply following a few tried-and-tested steps that successful actors take every time they step into the room.
Truth is, every character in every scene, in every story ever told is effectively created by using the tools broken down in this blog series. Different actors or coaches may use different terms, acronyms, and catch phrases, but the fundamental principles are universal, proven over and over by time and experience as the keys to an actor’s success.
At Story Institute, we call it the G.R.E.A.T O.P.E.R.A. (No, you don’t have to bone up on your Verdi to figure this out!) It’s a dead-simple and enormously effective step-by-step process that will help you generate the confidence and performance that will deliver the results you’re looking for.
What does G.R.E.A.T O.P.E.R.A. stand for?
Tuck that away in your head for now. We’ll come back to it in the next blog post and lay it all out, step by beautiful, empower step!
Here’s the deal. You have one primary objective as an actor: serve the story. This means the entire story and not just your specific lines and actions. The first thing many actors do when they first get an audition is learn their lines.
On one hand it is hard to find fault in this instinct as we often receive our audition notices with only a day or two notice and we are often balancing our other real world commitments like work and sleep and everything in between. In this same respect, I often here a lot of actors value the success of an audition by their ability to remember all of the lines.
“It was an okay audition, but I forgot one of my lines.”
“I managed to get all of the lines right (finally) and I guess we’ll just wait and see!”
Here’s what you’ve got to understand: The audition is not line remembering contest!
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. It is very important for actors to respect the lines and honor the writers work. But this is not the determining factor in whether or not you are right for the part. Casting directors, directors, and everyone involved in the process assumes you will have the lines down for the day but what we really want to know is do you understand how this character serves the story?
So what is the first step? Simple: start by learning the story.
Not just your lines, but the story. If you have access to the entire script, read it. All of it. Know how this scene affects the characters overall journeys. Now read the breakdown. Not just for your character but for all of the characters available. If this is a television series, watch an episode or two if you have access. Learn as much as you can about your character’s potential paradigm.
Now, read each scene at least three times over before making any choices or commitments. Don’t skip
the action lines, don’t skip through other character’s dialogue. Read each line with as much reverence as
you would your own character’s lines.
Bottom line: Know the story.
(Ideally, before you start memorizing your lines, you’ll go through the steps in the G.R.E.A.T. O.P.E.R.A. to discover how best to serve the story. Don’t worry, we’re going to cover all of the steps in blog posts to follow. Patience, young padawan, all in due time!)
And now for the good news: Follow this process for start to finish each time you’re preparing for an audition and you’ll make stronger acting choices, build crazy amounts of confidence, and dramatically (excuse the pun) improve your chances for booking that role!