AUDITIONS - a risky business
The lights were on, but nobody was home!
The other day three directors were viewing an audition tape.
While assessing one of the actors they all agreed that on this occasion this actor's contribution was disappointing. They made this assessment despite the fact that the actor was known to them and had on previous occasions been very capable. However in this instance they all agreed that the performance was internally focused, flat, inactive and not engaging. How can this be? How is it that a capable actor on one day can be engaging and the next very dull?
The directors all agreed that the "internally focused element" of the actor's choice was the reason for the problems. Often this leads the actor to overplaying 'emotions' - but on this occasion this was not the case. Simply nothing was happening. And this certainly meant that there was no drama in the scene.
On this occasion the actor's choice was to play safe and not commit to any point of view. The resulting assessment from these director's was that it was a lifeless and uninteresting audition.
But would a commitment to any version of the story have been a better choice? Perhaps! It may have generated further discussion and thus clarified some of the unanswered questions. However it is clear that the concept that "television requires a small performance and therefore doing nothing is a satisfactory alternative", is plainly invalid.
At least if some commitment to story had been made the actor would have been seen to be pro-active. Appearing active rather than inactive seems to be a far better gamble. And after all there is often an element of luck in any audition process. If auditioning is a gamble maybe it's better to make a choice and roll the dice rather than leaving them in your pocket
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