Actor at Work

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Venice-based acting coach Guy Camilleri says focus on coming from a place of strength rather than fear. Photo: Thinkstock.

by Guy Camilleri

Imagine you are sitting in the waiting room for your audition. The air is thick and heavy with anticipation and nerves. While waiting to hear your name called, you can’t help but notice the other members of your tribe coping with this awkward yet exciting moment, the coveted and prized audition.

In the waiting area of a casting director’s office, you might see actors repeating their lines out-loud, a bit of chit-chatting and socializing, people with their eyes closed, meditating as they quietly prepare, and the bobbing of heads rocking to music on their headphones.

And of course, an audition wouldn’t be complete without that one person who seems to be on a mission to psyche out everyone in the room and slowly but surely, drain the place of all that charged creative energy we actors dig so very much.

At my acting studio in Venice, we focus on coming from a place of strength rather than fear, which is fun and ultimately way more productive. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of experts happy to tell you (and charge you) for a list of things they believe you shouldn’t do or say on your journey as an artist-actor.

I would like to share five things you can do to revel in the moments leading up to hearing your name called.

  1. In an earlier column, titled: “Auditions: An opportunity to Act,” I had mentioned using an ‘as if’ when you leave the house. Once in the car, I like to queue up specific music, which helps to set the right mood. Also, I imagine I’m on the way to the location where the scene takes place rather than just focusing on the literal fact that I’m on my way to a casting office. By doing so, you give your mind something to occupy itself with instead of anticipating, projecting and the trying to relax dance.Let’s say the scene takes place in a restaurant and revolves around an urgent meeting with your boss from work. You can begin to use your ‘as if’ personalizing this person and any backstory you were given or have created. The music, the mood stirring inside you, the intention, and subtext in the dialogue, the obstacle or obstacles, and a heightened imagination in bloom can carry you from home to the casting office
  2. Arrive as early as possible. I like to arrive 15-30 minutes ahead of schedule allowing for ample time to check in at the security gate, park the car, change clothes if needed, walk to the designated building, use the bathroom, and start my anchoring process. When you are relaxed, you can greet each person along the way to the office, starting with one of the most significant people, the parking attendant!
  3. Entering the casting office with a pair of headphones on, and it becomes crystal clear what the message is: Actor at Work! After signing in, make a note of the two names ahead of you, so you will know when it’s time to remove your headphones and make any last adjustments.
  4. Now that you are in the room, this is the moment to ask that burning question about the scene, or what the camera’s ‘frame line’ is to ensure you know the bandwidth allowed in which to fully experience the choices you have made.
  5. The boldest actors know that it’s up to them to own the room in the best sense of the word. Fear-based actors typically miss out on the moment because they are trying to avoid making a mistake and determined to play out their ‘performance fantasy’ of how the scene should go, should have gone and could have gone, if only… Coming from a place of strength allows you the confidence to follow through on your intention and simultaneously stay open to the casting directors’ notes making way to bask in the moment, moment-to-moment.

Go get ‘em!

Guy Camilleri is a Venice-based actor, acting coach, and poet. He teaches regular classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings at the Electric Lodge, in Venice. His private coaching specializes in audition preparation, self-taped auditions, original reels and career consultation. To audit a class and book a coaching session, email [email protected] Follow Guy on Instagram @guycamilleri and Facebook.