How to Audition and Book the Job: Craft, Confidence and Contribution (The 3 ‘C’s)

July 1st, 2014

How to Audition and Book the Job: Craft, Confidence and Contribution (The 3 ‘C’s)

written by Benson Simmonds

 

As actors we all want to know the secret to giving great auditions and booking more work.

I’d like to begin a series for Daily Actor readers to help you jump start the career of your dreams. So let’s begin by explaining the 3 “C”s of auditioning well.

Of course most of us would agree that we all need to work on our CRAFT, to understand how to personalize the characters we audition for and “make it our own”. That means not going in with an “idea” of who the character is but finding a way to parallel the characters needs with those of your own. As a longtime student of Ivana Chubbuck, I’ve incorporated her techniques with my own to help actors with script analysis. Because you can’t personalize your audition script without knowing how to figure out your character’s objective, meaning what you need from the other character in the scene. But that’s only the beginning and craft, though, essential is often not enough to audition well and book the part.  We need to have CONFIDENCE. Of course confidence comes in part from knowing your craft. But I’ve coached so many actors and students and whether we’re doing an in-person, skype or phone coaching, there were so many times that I could sense the fear in the actors. These were and are good actors who understand their craft. They were and are actors who could easily have a very good film and TV career and even carry playing the lead in a series. But they let their fear get in the way of simply having fun and enjoying their audition. This led me to do a lot of research and it eventually prompted me to write a spiritual handbook called Soular Power which is soon to be published.There’s also a bonus section in my MASTER YOUR AUDITION video called Becoming a Soular Powered Actor.

I believe we all have both an ego and a soul consciousness. Our ego is that drive within us that is based on fear, lack and limitation. Our soul is a drive that is based on infinite joy, love and expansion. The ego is constantly telling us that we’re not enough, that there is never enough and there will never be enough. Sound like a familiar voice inside your head? We also have our soul which is a drive based on infinite joy, love and expansion. The soul tells you that you are enough and celebrates who you are and …this is the important part….how you can CONTRIBUTE.

So the first way to begin to gain confidence at your auditions is to choose to shift into your soular power by focusing on HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE when you walk into the audition room. You ego voice fills you with dread and thoughts of how much you need them to love and approve of you. That need pushes you to fear doing a bad job, forgetting your lines, caring and focusing more on what they think of you than focusing on your character and getting your character’s objective in the scene.

One of the best ways to begin to focus on contribution is look at the audition as a chance to share your craft and have some fun, regardless of what they might think of you. It’s the attitude of “hey, here I am and this is what I worked on and this is what I want to share with you” vs. the ego approach which is “I hope you like me, please tell me I’m a good actor and make me feel like I’m good enough”. The ego approach puts so much pressure on you that it often becomes hard to just go in and have fun.

To help you shift out of ego and into your SOULAR power, use this simple but incredibly powerful tool!

ASK yourself the following question:
WHAT ARE 5 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MYSELF AS ACTOR?  and (What are 5 things I love about myself as a person?)

Just start to have fun and list OUT LOUD the things you LOVE about yourself as an actor.  For example, “I love my sense of humor”, “I love my emotional vulnerability”, “I love my passion”, “I love my ability to be in the moment and work off the reader/casting director”. “I love that I work hard on my craft”. “I love drive and my integrity”. “I love my simplicity”. “I love my great character face”. “I love that I always make strong, personal choices”. “I love that I throw myself 100% into my characters”, etc. etc. etc

By using this powerful tool BEFORE an audition and EVERY DAY, you will begin to know exactly what you CONTRIBUTE when you walk into the audition room. Not only is the exercise lots of fun to do daily but it will start to give you CONFIDENCE when you audition because you will know specifically what you CONTRIBUTE every time you walk into the audition room. By focusing on your gifts, you also connect to your SOULAR POWER, because your soul celebrates your divine gifts as a person and an actor while your ego finds ways to make you feel like you aren’t enough, which YOU ARE! Remember, YOU ARE ENOUGH all the time, before, during and after auditions and in every moment.

Please try this technique and feel free to write me at masteryouraudition@gmail. Also, come to my website (masteryouraudition.com) and register your email to get more FREE VIDEO TIPS AND SECRETS on how to audition your best.

All the best and blessings, BensonBenson-Simmonds

The One Quality Every Actor Needs To Become Success!

June 16th, 2014

The One Quality Every Actor Needs To Become Success!

Yes, there are a few essential qualities that an actor needs to become a star and today we’re going to focus on…. well, let’s just say it’s something permeates every aspect of our culture. It’s everywhere – on billboards, in print, on the streets, in the office, in the home, and of course on TV and film…. did you guess yet?

Yes, it’s sex!  It’s not just that sex sells but as my longtime acting teacher and mentor Ivana Chubbuck taught me, a “star” actor can always find the SEX and the HUMOR in their work.  We’re not talking about looks here, because there are many beautiful people who just aren’t that sexy. If it were just about looks, then every good -looking actor would make it, but they don’t because it’s about much more than that!  Regardless of what you look like as an actor, to be successful you need to be comfortable with your sexuality and comfortable being playful and yes…seductive. I’m not talking about being sleazy or crass or dirty but learning to enjoy and be comfortable flirting and getting someone else to feel sexy and/or getting someone else to find you sexy. Is Jack Nicholson a handsome model type? Uh..no, but he’s played romantic scenes with so many beautiful women. Why? Because he is able to be playfully seductive in a genuine organic way.  Seduction is fun but it needs to be playful otherwise it’s a turn off to the other actor and the audience.

It’s called being able to generate SEXUAL CHEMISTRY or heat in a scene with another actor. Now of course there are many stars who may not be great at seduction, but they have other key qualities necessary to inspire us such as authenticity, depth, humor, passion and likeability. But without understanding how to enjoy your sexual energy it is a lot harder to become a star….or just be able to make all of your money from acting.

I recently came across this video in which John Cusack is being interviewed by a very hot Israeli model for Israeli TV.  Watch this video and then continue reading

Do you notice how freely he flirts with her? Ladies, do you find it sleazy or kind of charming.  Most of the youtube comments indicated the latter. Also notice that CLASSIC GUY move….I remember this one from high school. You know which one? Yup, the one where he asks to get a closer look at the chain she’s wearing around her neck so he can get close to her.  It’s so much fun to watch because they both seem to be having fun being playfully seductive with each other.

Now of course the challenge for an actor is generate that kind of attraction with whoever your co-star is..even if they’re not your type. For the purposes of the play, movie or TV, you need to learn how to make them your type. That’s what I teach the students who study with me and I explain it on my Master Your Audition video. So if you’ve bought the video and have questions, write to me and I’ll try to explain. And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

One of the specific ways to generate heat with someone is to start to sexually fantasize about them. Even if they’re not your usual type, imagine that they are really good at doing something that you like or that they’re willing to do something you’ve fantasized about and never done.  Though you can use a substitution in a scene for an emotional connection, you need to use the person right in front of you, i.e. the other actor, for the seduction part , to generate sexual energy.

Another tip is  to take a simple line that seems innocent enough like “I think we should close up shop”. Now in your mind think of a really juicy sexual image for what “closing up shop” is. Just think the thought and then say the line and see how it reads. Be specific. Think of something  sexually exciting that you’d like someone to do to you or something you’d love to do to/with someone else. Then say the line and see how it feels.

So have some fun this week!  Watch yourself or other people at a bar or in public and watch the physical signals we give each other when we’re attracted to one another. It’s often subconscious body language, but as actors we need to program that subconscious behavior in our work.

So have some fun this week and be little bit of a flirt..even if it’s just in front of the  mirror or …..the cat!?

written by Benson Simmonds

Being Thankful

November 22nd, 2011

Being thankful opens us up to receiving all kinds of wonderful blessings. When in a state of gratefulness, we acknowledge our true selves & radiate this energy to others

What does it mean to be thankful? I’m not talking about being polite after someone’s opened the door for you. I’m talking about feeling thankful for the true blessings in your life. ‘”True Blessings” mean the things in your life that resonate importance in your life – the things that touch your core.

You may be wondering why it’s important to feel thankful. Oprah talked about this concept a few years ago and she suggested having a thankfulness journal. This is a great idea because it keeps us focused on the positives in our lives. It helps us see the great things we have and do, and puts our frustrations and worries into perspective. But even if you don’t have a journal, you can see the benefits of being conscious of thankfulness – again, it keeps us focused on the great and wonderful things in our lives.

How does being thankful affect your life? Let’s look at it in terms of someone you may know. Imagine the person who is usually in a bad mood. They are always complaining about something, there is always someone who’s done something to them and they’re always getting the bum deal. This person is hard to be around and it takes a lot of energy to maintain a relationship with them. By the end of a visit, you’re exhausted! Do you think this person is a thankful one? Probably not. In fact, if you asked them what they’re thankful for, they may have a hard time telling you.

On the other hand, think of someone else you know. This person is energetic, and has a certain spark to them. They laugh a lot and have a “can-do” attitude. They may be afraid, but they are willing to try new things. If you ask them what they’re thankful for, they will be able to list off many. And when you visit with this person, you feel energized, inspired and thankful to know them. It’s safe to say that this person is more fulfilled in their life than the unthankful one.

Of course our lives are never perfect but we still strive for perfection. But you know how it is. You reach the top of one mountain and lo and behold! There’s another mountain to climb! Don’t feel discouraged by this. Be sure to look back at all the mountains you’ve climbed and acknowledge the growth and progress you’ve made. Be thankful for the experiences because without them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.

And what if where you are today is not where you want to be? Again, be thankful that you are where you are – because now you have a very clear idea of what you don’t want. You can now work towards what you do want.

If you are wondering how to get started on this, begin with a list. Write down every little thing you’re thankful for. Nothing is too small to put on this list. Include the mundane things like the first cup of coffee in the morning or the birds that were singing. Tell yourself that you’re going to add to it all day as ideas pop into your head. Keep this idea in your mind all day. You don’t have to be totally focused on it, just be open and know that at the end of the day when you read over your list, you’re going to see that there are so many wonderful things in your life that you have to be thankful for.

You can even add things that you don’t have, but want. This is important in manifesting our dreams.

Have fun with this and enjoy the light and love it will bring you.

By Trish Hoskin

The Best Is Yet To Come!

September 21st, 2011

You always hear that DETERMINATION, FOCUS, PASSION and DRIVE will get you there. Sometimes immediately and, well, let’s face it, sometimes it takes AWHILE. Then slowly you start to doubt and think, well, “I’ve been doing this and that for so long and still NOTHING!”

 

If you TRULY pay attention to the things in your life you will realize you couldn’t be further from the truth!

 

You HAVE to note the SMALL coincidences… Say you want a certain agent and you meet a girl doing background work whose friend is with that agency…SMALL COINCIDENCE… OR say you REALLY want to work with a certain Director and you get booked on BG work as an extra and it’s THAT Director! These are ALL those SMALL coincidences adding up to that one HUGE connection!

 

These connections don’t just happen because you WANT them to. No, you have to put the ACTION behind your DREAMS and DESIRES. One cannot work without the other.

 

So, likewise you can’t have the BEST training WITHOUT the BEST classes. At SmartActors.com you’ll get nothing BUT the BEST! With online classes being coached by Award winning Casting Directors like Twinkie Byrd and Megan Foley, or World renowned Coach and Director Alexia Robinson and we are just getting started! How about access to Top managers and Agents like Susie Mains and Annie Schwartz! How much better can it get?! Ha! It gets BETTER! These coaches are available to you 24 hrs a day 7 days a week! ANYWHERE…. ANY TIME from your PC, MAC, or SMARTPHONE!

DOs and DON’Ts for getting ahead…

May 31st, 2011

In Acting Advice, Acting Resources, Moving to LA on November 28, 2010 at 7:20 am I’ve noticed that a lot of actors lately are trying different ways to connect with one another to get leads on agents, jobs and other industry information.

This is super! I think that we have to connect as a community to share valuable information about things that are going on and in order to make connections that can help further our careers — that’s why I write this blog! However, I’ve also noticed that many people don’t quite grasp exactly HOW to ask others for help.  I’ve written on this in the past, but I think it’s a point that needs repeating and may help many of you out there.   

So, here are my top five DOs/DON’Ts for Getting Ahead:

Networking

 1. DO contact actors, directors, producers that you have met in the past and update them with your recent work. DON’T ask them to come to a class you are teaching or to come to a private party. These requests are just strange, but Isee them happen all the time! 

Helping Out a Newbie

 2. DO connect your hopeful friend or family member with an actor, producer, director that you know well through a simple email with BOTH people’s permission. DON’T expect that actor, director or producer to spend an entire lunch with a stranger. That’s a lot of time to commit to someone who is green and has nothing to offer. This may sound harsh but it’s truly a waste of time on both people’s ends, particularly if the newbie has no experience or credits and the more experienced person can’t really offer them anything without experience. 

Connecting Via Email — For Newbies and Oldies alike

 3. If you are considering moving to LA (or NYC) and want advice, DO send a CLEAR question (or two) in a CONCISE email to the person you’ve been connected with for advice in the industry. Include a one-sentence bio and then ask your question and thank the person for their time. PERIOD. DON’T include your entire 3-page bio along with your dreams and aspirations, only to then ask the person “Could you please tell me how you made it in the industry and how I can too?

”First of all, you should have done your research on this person — you should already know what they’ve done to get where they are. Second – AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE I CAN GIVE – Don’t ever ask for general advice on how to make it in the industry — ASK A SPECIFIC QUESTION. Asking someone (who is likely very busy) to detail how you (a person they don’t know from Adam) can become rich and famous is ridiculous and unanswerable. How in the world are they supposed to know? Even asking for a “few words of advice” is silly because they’re only going to tell you to “stick with it” or “keep performing” — things that aren’t helpful in a real way.

Instead — ask things like (for actors) “How did you land your first agent?”(for writers)”How did you sell your first script?” (for producers) “Do you know f any production companies that might be interested in a show like….?” etc. These are purposeful questions with quick, easy answers. Open-ended, vague questions just show laziness on your part. No one is going to give you a step-by-step guide to make it in Hollywood. Not because they don’t want to — because there ISN’T one. Everyone’s path is different and no one person will repeat another’s.

 Agent Referrals

 4. DO ask actors you know WELL for referrals. DON’T ask actors in your same type and/or who haven’t seen your work to refer you to their agents. Why would they do that?!  

Facebook/Twitter/Etc.

 5. DO maintain an online presence that allows casting directors and others to find you easily. DON’T post things that are embarrassing or otherwise unprofessional naked/inappropriate pics, excessive profanity, etc.) if that’s not the image you are going for. Remember — casting directors and producers use these tools DAILY to spy on you — trust me.

 By Robin Thede



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