MASTERING THE GAME
If you can master a "Cold Read" you are halfway there. Here are the elements:
WHAT ARE SIDES?
“Sides” are small portions of the shooting script. When the actor auditions, they will either be faxed sides, or handed sides when they get to the audition. If the actor is allowed to keep his sides, he needs to file them. You will then have them at hand if there is a ‘call back”. They are also handy to use at workshop.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW...
When auditioning, never ever deliver the line while looking down at the sides (the script pages). Even if the line isn't delivered perfectly, the actor must be looking up at the casting director or reading partner. This is called being "off the page".
If the actor is off the page, that tells the casting director that actor has skill. Being off the page also allows the actor to put emotion into the reading while having eye contact with the casting director or reading partner.
To not loose place while being off the page, keep the finger on the line being delivered. Then after delivery it is easy to move the finger down to the next line.
This shows the actor is a pro and it is not hard to practice at home with the parent.
WHAT IS A COLD READING?
A cold reading is what really separates the men from the boys. You are handed a couple of pages of script on arrival. You have approximately ten minutes to learn it, and then you have to deliver it.
This is where all the workshops pay off. Every workshop of any worth does cold reading almost every session. By the time you will confront this you should be a pro.
You must be able not only to deliver the lines, but be able to draw a character out of your bag of experience to use for delivery. Put some bells and whistles on your delivery.
I think a good analogy to a cold reading experience is standing on the platform of a subway.
The first time you do you are overwhelmed by the smell of fumes, the noise and wind of the train and the crush of the people pushing against you.
After you ride the subway to work for a week or so you can stand there juggling your Latte and reading your paper, tuning out all the noise and chaos around you.
It is the same experience in a cold read audition. If you are used to doing it you can tune out all the x factors, and truly focus on what you are doing.
Repeat after me...”Workshop is our friend!”
Do you remember your wedding? I’ve talked to many people who all say the same thing. “It was all a blur”. If you had to get married every week, or every day, you would eventually settle in and be comfortable, able to focus, no adrenaline.
That’s the frame of mind you need to be in at the audition. Just as the ice skater needs to have fallen on his butt time after time at practice, the actor needs to dial himself in at weekly workshop so he can truly focus and not be on adrenaline rush at the audition.
If you rarely leave your living-room, if you are are introverted, then you desperately need workshop. It will be scary for you at first, but the socialization and focus skills are imperative. Just as a desert predator knows when an animal is scared, a talent agent or casting director knows when an actor is scared. Workshop is not only our friend, it is a must.
WHEN IS SCARED OK?
When I was a kid I was terrified of being onstage, but all I wanted in life was to be an actress. So I was willing to step over the line of my fear and go onstage.
Those workshops I missed out on would have given me the courage to pursue the acting.
From that standpoint, if an actor is an introvert, but passionate to be an actor, get coaching. Fulfill your dream!
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