Wednesday, August 22, 2012

#Actors Tidbit: Can you take direction? (8/16)

You may think the opposite when it comes to getting multiple directions from a director or casting director in an auditioning room or on set but it is okay when you're given more than one. During my last session at the Brian Reise Acting Studios, here in Los Angeles, CA, at on August 16th, I learned that if you're given adjustments than that means they like you.

Photo by srbichara

I have learned that not many actors can take adjustments or directions well. Can you take direction? I found out fast during our exercise that this requires so much concentration, focus, and the ability to listen to the entire direction before executing the action. Brian even gave us all a taste of how real the experience could be in an auditioning room with people who are looking for the gems among the masses for their projects. Being the savvy guy that he is, he even broke down 4 tips to be the best you can be at taking direction and making the adjustments that the casting director needs from you in the audition. 

Here they are listed for you to take and learn from. After reviewing them, ask yourself, "Can I take direction?"

1. Make sure you understand what the adjustment is? Get clarity for yourself. 

The person giving the adjustment to a film scene or role may have stated their desired changes fast and unclear, at first, so it's okay to ask. Don't feel intimidated by this. You are there because you meet the initial stats for the role and a great actor so now show how well you can listen and be attentive to their full directions. Remember, no question is a stupid question when your career opportunity is at stake.

2. Repeat the adjustment back to the adjuster. 

By repeating the adjustment for your character in a scene or an action you must take, you then confirm within yourself that you have heard all the direction, clearly. This will also let the adjuster know that you are listening and know what you must do. 

For example, the following dialogue:
Casting Director: This time, I would like for you to be even more threatening with the character. 
Actor: This time you want me to be even more threatening.

3. Don't judge the adjuster.

Trust me! The adjuster knows much better than you do what they are looking to achieve in their next film or television project. They know what they are looking for in each character so don't go in the room thinking that you are going to reinvent the wheel. Listen to what direction they are giving you and execute it! It's just that simple! Some projects need to be cast fast and don't have much time to find the right person for a role so you must be flexible and open in that regard. 

Be the clay and let them mold you, in the moment, to what they desire for you to bring forth. -Selena

4. Commit 100% to the direction or adjustment.

Sometimes it may seem as if the direction or adjustment for a particular character is way off. However, committing to and trusting what is given to you 100%, will reign supreme in the end. We all think, in general, that we know what's best for us, but those looking from the outside at us, may see an entirely different person or perspective of us. You are blessed with the gift to share stories and bring written work to life on screen, so why not commit 100% to the material that was written with blood, sweat and tears, right?

I found that this exercise tested my abilities to listen even more and challenged me to take direction even more tactfully and with a greater confidence. We all are instruments and learning never stops, whether the learning is good or bad for us. Take these pointers and thrive in your next audition.

 Have fun my fellow actors and actresses!

Share your insights or leave a comment below if you would like.

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