Actors ask me, “how long must I prepare before I am ready to audition?” My answer is always the same, “you must prepare until you are ready to accept the circumstances as your truth.”
I suggest that if you tell yourself, “I need to do ‘this much’ preparation in order to play this character”, then that will become your reality. Your brain wants to be correct. You will not allow yourself to connect with the character until you have done what you perceive as the right amount of work. I believe, when you get it, you get it, there’s no set amount of time you must take to do so.
Does that mean that actors don’t need to be studying or learning a technique? Actors are like dancers, musicians or painters. Artists should learn technique. Learn what can be taught from those who came before, study from the masters, but do not stop there, or you will be merely a technician. As you know, you must then “throw it all away” and live in moment-to-moment inspiration. For during the act of creating, technique only weighs the artist down like chains. Break free!
An audition can be something magical. While “living the role”, you are in the zone, you have flow and commune with a higher power. You can’t do that if you are “controlling” your performance with a technique. Technique must give over to “living moment-to-moment.”
I believe in the philosophy that says “ As a human being, I am you, you are me; we are fundamentally all the same.” So it follows that because I am human, I have an essential understanding of every human who came before me; if only I will allow myself to tap into it.
At the heart of it, all I have to do is accept that I am the role; this person, with this history, wanting these things from these people. It takes a moment or a lifetime - you choose. You have the ability to give yourself permission, right now.
Yes, understanding the story, your relationships, your wants, takes a bit of thinking. Clearly, investing time in thinking, researching, daydreaming, and doing your history work is valuable (and luckily, it’s fun!), but learning to accept what you give yourself is the key. And that can happen in an instant.
Studying acting is a crucial step in an any artist’s journey. And as your coach, it’s my responsibility to find a healthy way to help you incorporate what you’ve learned as technique, without letting it chain you down or work against you.
As an auditioning actor, any inner thought that triggers your inner “career hat” into action should be dismissed and ignored.
Auditioning should be fun. And together we can make it magical.