The Importance of Solo Acting Dialogue

Solo dialogue can seriously test the mettle of any actor. Doing monologue is not a skill that is easily mastered, but it can make a difference to an actor’s success. The importance of solo dialogue in acting becomes clear when actors have to do a solo audition.  How can actors master solo dialogue? They can start by taking professional acting workshops, to learn the nuts and bolts of the technique.

Professional acting classes cover a range of techniques that can improve your acting skills. However, workshops that include scene study and improv expose you to techniques that can improve your solo dialogue skills. In this regard, two of the most beneficial techniques are the ‘who’ and ‘pre-life.’

  • The ‘who’ in acting, is the specific character in the copy that you have chosen to relate to. Selecting someone to connect to in a piece is a helpful way to get the dialogue flowing. Therefore, when you look into the camera you will ‘know’ who you are speaking to and address them directly.
  • The ‘pre-life’ also helps you to connect with the dialogue, as it is allows you to better prepare for your first line. ‘Pre-life’ is the feeling or action that you believe would have motivated the scripted dialogue and should relate to the ‘who’ you are connecting with. Taking the time to formulate the ‘pre-life’ makes the dialogue more believable.

Finding a connection is important because it will determine the tone and energy of your delivery. The ‘who’ and ‘pre-life’ both help you deliver a truthful performance in the little time you have.

If you’d like more information about the importance of solo dialogue in acting, sign up for professional acting classes at Carolyne Barry Creative Ent. in Los Angeles. And check out her articles and videos on backstage.com, master talent teachers and her YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/CarolyneBarry)

Call Carolyne today at (323) 654-2212, or email us at carolyne@carolynebarry.com.

Do You Know The Difference Between Actors and Performers?

It’s a popular depiction that an actor is a type of performer; after all, many would agree that “performing” is the main verb used to describe what actors do. However, there are subtle differences between what it means to be an actor and a performer – and if you study acting, then you’ll want to distance yourself as being referred to as a performer.

I’m not trying to downplay what performers do, or how hard they have to work at their crafts. But it is important to note that there are distinct differences between what the two do. It might sound like a matter of semantics, but these differences can make a great deal of difference in determining what direction you want your career to take.

So what are the main differences between actors and performers? Take a look:

Awareness of Audience: If you’ve ever been to see a stand-up comedian or a singer, then you know that these entertainers are highly committed and invested in their audience reactions. They feed off of a great audience energy, and will often incorporate them into their acts. An actor, however, isn’t aware of the audience; instead, he or she is more focused on the materials, scene, or monologue that he or she is doing.

Now, I’m not saying that actors have no awareness; but it’s not crucial to the outcomes of their performance. A comedian needs to impress an audience – an actor only needs to connect with the scene.

Education: I know a lot of people disagree with me about this, but I believe education plays a key role in separating actors from performers. Performers go to specialized schools, institutions, and other specialized venues, while actors may take their classes at universities and colleges. I’m not the biggest fan of this difference, as I think many academic establishments aren’t fully equipped to help train actors to experience and convey the range of emotions that’s necessary for becoming a success.

Clarity: When you say that you’re an actor, people immediately know what you do; but the same doesn’t always work when you say you’re a performer, as it could encompass many definitions. That’s why it’s important to say you’re an actor, not a performer. It may seem minor, but it can help you define your career, purpose, and goals in more ways than one.

How Mistakes Can Make You a Better Actor

As an actor, one of the most embarrassing and depressing feelings can involve walking out of an audition knowing you’ve made lots of mistakes. Whether you talked too fast while reading the script or you just forgot your lines, mistakes are often regarded as an actor’s worst nightmare.

Well, we’re here to say something that might shock you. Mistakes aren’t just a normal part of the auditioning process; they can actually make you a better actor. And help you book the job.

Surprised by this? Don’t be: handling a mistake during an audition reveals just how fast you are on your feet. Casting directors may be impressed by flawless auditions – but they’re going to remember an actor who was able to quickly recover from a mistake by incorporating it their audition.

After all, casting directors know that there are going to be challenges and obstacles on the set of any television show or film. That’s why they’re looking for actors and actresses who can quickly get over a mistake without blowing the entire audition.

So how can you use mistakes to make yourself a better actor? Use the following techniques:

  • When you recognize you’re making a mistake, don’t allow it to undermine your entire audition. For example, if you’re talking too fast, just slow your speech down. If you forgot a line, move on without apologizing or deprecating yourself. If you get stuck on a mistake for too long or draw too much attention to it, you’ll stand out for all the wrong reasons.
  • If your memory has lapsed on your lines, don’t stammer or stutter. Instead, improvise, let your instincts take over until you can back on script. If you’re not confident in your improv skills, take a few improv classes. The ability to think fast as an actor can help you book more jobs.
  • If you mispronounce a word, don’t correct yourself as you correcting yourself. Instead, stay in character. This is an impressive way to show casting directors that you’re able to commit to a character without getting hung up on mistakes.

Improv, humor, and the ability to move on from a mistake are great ways to show CDs that you’re a talented actor who will also be easy to work with. Don’t try to avoid mistakes at all costs, as this might make your audition feel stilted or cookie-cutter. Embrace the mistakes IF they come – after all, they turn you into a better actor and auditioner!

One Simple Way to Get More Commercial Auditions

You have dreams of becoming an actor and doing  TV commercials. You want to become instantly recognizable as Flo – or at least being featured in national commercial campaigns.  You’ve got dreams, and you’re determined to achieve them.

So you take a commercial workshop and study Improvization, take great headshot, create an impressive resume and cover letter then send your package to all the commercial talent agents.  If and when you sign up with a commercial agent. You eagerly wait for all  your commercial auditions – but maybe you only get a few,.

If this sounds familiar, it might sound like auditioning for commercial could come down to luck. But there’s actually one simple way that you should be able could get more commercial auditions if you are right for the spot.

It’s so simple, in fact, you could make that small change as soon as you finish reading this article.

It goes without saying that your resume provides agents and casting directors the opportunity to get to know more about you.  That means you need to capture their attention within the first couple of seconds, or else they’ll just shuffle your resume into the “Rejected” pile.

You don’t have to add perfume to your resume, or create it using an unusual typography.  Instead, focus on your skills section, and ensure you stand out as a multi-faceted, talented, and unique individual.

Because so many commercials require skills and activities, your  special skills  are definitely an asset. Your skills section should be filled with the hobbies, skills, and traits that make you who you are as a person.  Your hobbies could run the gamut from horseback riding and playing computer games to speaking multiple languages and creating stories for your favorite fanfiction site.  No matter what makes you unique, it’s important to broadcast these skills and hobbies so casting directors can bring you in for those commercials that require your skill.

When listing your skills and hobbies, be sure to indicate your proficiency level.  For example, if you’re fluent in French, make sure you include that information.  If you’ve ever won first place or have been a state champion in an event, put that information down, too.

Here is  a generic example:

SKILLS (or SPECIAL SKILLS)

Roller blading (state champion), Singing (mezzo soprano, two octave range), French (fluent),

Spanish and Italian accents, Volleyball (B rated), Swing Dancing (competitive), experienced Dog breeder, excellent Cook, intermediate Guitarist, expert on Miniature Doll houses, Choral Director, Collector of McKnight Lithographs, trained in Firearms, Juggling, basic Martial Arts, Crew rowing, JEOPARDY contestant, Balloon sculpting, Valid Drivers License and Passport

One important note: when listing out your skills, make sure to list those you are the strongest first.  If you’re an excellent singer, put that information first, and be sure to list your range. Your first few skills are going to capture the most attention, so make sure they’re the strongest representation of who you are as a person.

Just make this small change to your skills section – and depending on the jobs, you should be getting more commercial auditions for jobs you have a better chance at booking.

For more detailed information on putting together your resume, check out Carolyne Barry’s book HIT THE GROUND RUNNING here.

Improvisation Training is Crucial to an Actor’s Career

I always suggest that actors take Improvisation workshop either before, during or immediately after they take a commercial class and/or acting class.  It is important in the development of your acting craft. The freedom and confidence you get from studying Improv well will be very helpful to do better Commercial and Theatrical auditions and thus help you start booking jobs.  Also, so many auditions today do not have dialogue and require Improv skills therefore commercial agents are more interested in actors (especially new actors) who have professionally studied improvisation because agents know that it will be easier to them auditions.

I strongly suggest you find a teacher or institution that specializes in Improvisation.  A lot of studios mix in the Improv training with acting, commercial and cold-reading.  This is not really offering the maximum value of studying Improvisation.  Then, some teachers offer it as an on-going class.  There are several problems with this format.

  1. You won’t be able to continually build on your progress when you are constantly going back to the basics when new people start.
  2. Improv classes work best when it is a nurturing, supportive environment which is difficult to establish when it is not a unified group for a prolonged period of time.
  3. It is difficult to move up the ladder of the more challenging games and technique when everyone isn’t on the same level.

I strongly believe that Improvisation should be a second training workshop along with your acting class or commercial workshop.  Your acting or audition training is focused on the techniques specific to whatever discipline of training you choose – motivation, emotional connection, subtext, character life, pre-life and after-life, etc.  Whereas strong improvisation training focuses on creativity, commitment, listening, trusting instincts, supporting the other actor and building confidence.  When both acting or audition training and Improv are studied at the same time, you will get more out of your technique class and you will be ready to start auditioning sooner.

If you’re like to learn more about how Carolyne Barry can help you improve your acting skills leave her a note here or call 323-654-2212.

Actors Must Know Their Type

I believe one of the big mistakes many actors make is not being clear on their type (or as often referred to as a brand). Most believe that they “are actors and can play many roles”. In a majority of theatre productions, you can because of the distance between the actor and audience. But on-camera, which is more intimate, who you really are and what your look represents is obvious and there is usually no hiding behind character make-up and wardrobe.

Although it can be vital to your success, for booking commercials as well as theatrical work (especially when first starting a career), most don’t give determining their type the time needed to figure it out. When you know your type/brand: you can shoot headshots that better serve you, intelligently describe yourself to your representation, and submit yourself for roles that you have a better chance at getting. Knowing your type can be very important, but how do you determine what it is? It is not easy for most. You may need help from others because it is difficult to be objective about ourselves. Most actors tend to label themselves as more or less than how they choose to see themselves. That is why it is important to investigate.

During your investigation, you must honestly look at your:

  • Age
  • Physical Appearance
  • Personality Type
  • Essence

You might need assistance in labeling your type, so I suggest you put together a concise questionnaire using those four factors. Then question teachers, friends and some strangers. Strangers can often be more objective. Be sure them know that you need honesty. And you must accept what they say (with no comments from you) so they can be truthful.

It will probably take more than what I prescribe here but this is a good beginning. What you learn about yourself during this investigation into typing should be of great benefit to you personally and to your career. Have fun learning how others perceive you.

If you’re like to learn more about which acting type you are and what the best classes to take are leave us a message here or call 323-654-2212.

How to Select The Best Acting Teacher For Your Career

So many actors choose their acting teachers for the wrong reasons: either they select one who is less money, offering some kind of deal, located close to where they live, recommended by unqualified sources, they know actors in the class or ONLY because the teacher is or has been a casting director. These are not good reasons for such an important decision.

To make your best choice(s), I suggest this plan:

  1. Research Techniques and Teachers

There are numerous acting techniques and methods. The more popular ones in the United States are Meisner, Strasberg, Adler and Hagen techniques. Most teachers have their own version of the established approaches. Some combine styles and others create their own technique. Investigate to see which one feels like a fit for you – the way you process and create.

  1. Audit    AUDIT: As it relates to acting classes: to be a non-participating observer. Auditors watch and are not allowed to work, ask question or give comments.
  2. Ask Questions
  • number of students in the class
  • * how often you will work in each class
  • * class policies
  • * cost / payment policies
  • * class level(s)
  1. Consider The Teachers Technique and Approach
  • * Does their style or approach make sense and appeal to you?
  • * Is there a technique that the students understand and can apply or is he/she just teaching tricks or giving direction that produces flashy, instant performances?
  • * After he/she works with actors, do you see an improvement in their work?
  • * Does the teacher utilize the class time well: starting punctually, allotting time and giving attention equally to all the students, dealing directly with what is needed and not going off on ego trips or telling too many stories of their accomplishments or bad
    experiences?
  • * Is the teacher constructive and supportive as he/she critiques and directs students?
  1. Teacher Compatibility

Determine if his/her’s personality and style is a fit for who you are and what you need from them for the development  of your craft.

After you audit at least three candidates then make your selection of the teacher who can help make you the best you can be and the one you can see yourself staying with till you get everything you need- before moving on. For commercial and Improvization classes, it can be a few months and for acting it can be several years.

The teachers you choose to train with will be a major influence in the development of your craft and thus will have a strong impact on your career. Don’t be one of those reckless actors who wastes money and time going in the wrong direction. Be in control of your career and those you are assembling for your team. CHOOSE WISELY.

If you’re like to learn more about how Carolyne Barry can help your acting career then get in touch with her here or call 323-654-2212.

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Won’t Book the Commercial…

...Even when you did a great audition

I am sure you have wanted to know why you do not book Commercials when you feel you have done a great audition (and even when those running the session have let you know you did a great audition). You might get an avail or are put on “Hold” but then you don’t book the job. It can be very frustrating. Often there is no definitive reason so I believe it would be helpful for you to understand some of the business and subjective factors being considered that often have little to do with you, your talent or your audition.

Consideration that could determine why you will or won’t be cast:

Other Way To Go: When the commercial CD gets the breakdown and selects the actors for their session, many get creative and add actors who are “another way to go” for the role. And often, some of these actors could change the direction of the casting.

Role is cut or changed: When watching the casting, the director and/or advertising executives might determine that a part is not working and then could cut it out, replace it with another role or choose to go with a different type of actor.

Matching: When casting a spot with multiple actors, the matching or pairings need to look like they could be couples, friends, workers or a family. And yet in a group of friends, office employees, neighbors, etc., it is preferred those cast be of different ethnicities, physical types or hair color – because many commercials need to appeal to various groups of people.

Identifiable and Aspirational: Commercials need to appeal to target markets. The actors cast in the spot must be people that those the spot is designed for will find aspirational or will identify with. And thus is a major factor in the casting. This is why casting specs are pretty specific as to age, gender, ethnicity and physical types. Then, because these considerations are often subjective, each group of people doing the casting and various target markets could create diverse factors that would make different actors identifiable and/or aspirational for various products.

Chemistry: When matching couples, families, friends, workers, etc., they need to work well together and have a chemistry that creates the feeling that they belong together. And it is something that is there or it is not and it too is subjective.

Compromise: Those doing the casting are not always in agreement on who they like in a role. In that case, so that no one looks bad, they may choose another actor (who might not be as good or as right). It happens.

Personal Preference: Directors and advertising execs are human and have preferences. Sometimes actors might remind one of someone they like or don’t like or another actor that may be too recognizable. Casting preferences can work for an actor or against them.

Knowing these factors should help you understand that when you believe you have done a great audition why you may not book the job. I know it is frustrating and seems unfair but realize that these same factors that might work against you for one job might work in your favor for others. And in order for you not to take it personal and to protect your confidence, I suggest that you remember this, “You didn’t lose the commercial, someone else booked it” – this time.

For our commercial acting class schedule click here. If you’re like to learn more about how Carolyne Barry’s classes can help you as an actor get in touch with her here or call 323-654-2212.

Confidence – The Actor’s Most Empowering Necessity

In the acting business, actors must have confidence in their talents and themselves in order to deal with the challenges and always be able to bring their best game to their meetings, auditions and work. Confidence is an essential “personal tool” for everyone but especially for actors and performers.

For many actors, confidence is innate. For some, it may be cultivated by family and friend support and/or life experiences. For most, confidence needs to be nurtured and developed.  If the later is you then consider this theory that I believe works:

  •  Experience creates confidence
  •  Confidence produces freedom
  •  Freedom generates courage
  •  Courage frees up you and your talent

The more you do anything, the more experienced and skillful you become. So the more you properly study, rehearse, audition and work, the better actor you are going to be.

Actors gain confidence when they have successes and “wins”: when they get auditions, secure representation, receive good feedback or reviews, get callbacks and book jobs, etc. Unfortunately, these successes are dependent on the acceptance of others thus it is unreliable and a shortage of achievements can undermine it.

Confidence in your talent is powerful and depends mainly on your willingness to take chances, fail, learn, get up and do it again AND always be supportive of yourself. A great class that helps build confidence is a professional Improvization workshop. With confidence developed through challenging experiences, you are not dependent on anyone else to feel successful.

Do what it takes to build your confidence. It should have a powerful affect on your ability to feel good about yourself, thus do your best auditions and your best acting work.

For more commercial acting tips check out this article. If you’re like to learn more about how Carolyne Barry can help you build confidence then get in touch with her here or call 323-654-2212.

 

Keys To A Successful Commercial Audition

commercial audition classes LAIf you’re an actor looking to book regular gigs, you’ll find that commercial acting can be very rewarding – not to mention lucrative!  From local commercials to massive nationwide campaigns, commercials can provide your acting career with a significant launching pad.  What’s more, many commercial actors are as famous as beloved movie stars; just take a look at the meteoric rise of Flo, the Progressive mascot, for an example.

Of course, before you start your rise to fame, you need to master those commercial auditions.  That’s why we’ve collected these key tips – provided by master talent teacher Carolyne Barry – to help you come out triumphant from your commercial audition:

  • Make sure you arrive as early as possible.  This gives you time to prepare – and it also lets casting directors know that you take their time and efforts seriously.  Trust us – they notice when you arrive late and flustered.
  • Ask plenty of questions to ensure you get the right tone.  Every commercial has a style that they’d like to achieve.  If you align your audition with this style, you’re more likely to land the part.
  • Work on a few interpretations, as this can come in handy if the casting director wants you to try something different.  This also displays your range and skill, which can help you impress casting directors.  Even if you don’t get this specific role, they may keep you in mind for another part.
  • Find a partner who you can rehearse with.  Whether you want to run lines with your spouse or your roommate, having a partner to rehearse with can help you prep for the auditioning process.
  • Stay out of your own head, especially if you tend to work yourself up before the audition.  Building up your nerves will only undermine your commercial audition.  Arrive early enough so you can take a few minutes to “zen out.”  Take a few deep breaths, engage in a few vocal warm-ups, and remind yourself why you deserve to be here.
  • Picture your energy in your mind as a big ball of glowing slight.  Imagine that energy spreading through every part of your body, until you’re glowing with energy.  Once you’ve achieved this visualization, walk into the audition room.  You’ll be amazed at how energetic and focused this visualization technique can make you.


Want to learn more secrets for mastering the commercial audition?  Then discover Carolyne Barry’s acting workshops at her talent school in Los Angeles, California. Discover her commercial course availability here. You can also reach her directly at (323) 654-2212.