The Importance of Improv

 Classes, On Camera, Tips N Tricks  Comments Off on The Importance of Improv
Jul 132012
 

More and more we are getting requests for talent to have improv experience. They may not specifically say it – but read between the lines in the audition specs. Did the client ask for “something unique”, “facial reactions”, “fun personalities”, “good timing”, or a “comedy background”? They are really asking for someone to be comfortable with IMPROV!

In commercials, most of the content is said by the VO talent, that means the majority of ON-CAMERA talent is acting through facial expressions and reactions. The more comfortable you are with your body, face and movements… the more comfortable you will look on camera.

Some of the key principles of improv are:

Be Prepared, Warm Up: Even in commercial work, it is important to take a minute to prepare for your audition. Make sure you have read all the information well in advance, have memorized your lines if need be, have your headshot and resume printed in advance, and have your wardrobe ready to go. Once in the audition space – take a few deep breaths – shed the stress of the drive in traffic and don’t think about the rest of the crowded room. Only think about what is needed for YOU.

Listen: Listen when the director/casting director gives you a suggestion. Take a minute, process it, and react. Listen when your partner is speaking – actually speak back to them, don’t just recite lines to them.

Action Beats Inaction: Don’t just stand there and say/do nothing!! Act and react. Make specific choices for your character.

Be Honest: Don’t censor your initial thoughts. If you have a gut reaction, it is likely the most natural reaction for you… try it!

Trust: Trust your impulses and your choices. Also – trust those of your scene partner. Build off them, weave them together… make up a great story!

YES AND… The most commonly known principle in improv is “yes, and…”. You never say no. Accept what is happening and make it part of your reality and create around it.

Improv doesn’t mean you are a stand up comedian or the guy with the best one-liners. The talent who are great with improv can see comedic timing in a script and they can feel the places where a reaction can be placed.

If you are interested in learning more about improv – we are lucky to have some AMAZING improv theater groups in town that offer classes. Take a peek at:

Brave New Workshop Student Unionhttp://studentunion.bravenewworkshop.com/

Huge Improvhttp://www.hugetheater.com/classes/

Stevie Ray’s Improvhttp://www.stevierays.org/improv_comedy_classes.html

Comedy Sportzhttp://www.comedysportztc.com/classes.php

 

 

May 082012
 

Did you just get a call for a BIG audition? Great! Dance around your living room, do a couple fist pumps and then take a deep breath. You’ve gotten in the door – that is half the battle. Now, let’s wow them with your amazing professionalism and great audition.

Here are some really simple things to do that make you look like a ROCK STAR!! I know they sound like common sense…. but you will be surprised how often they are forgotten!!

BEFORE AGREEING TO THE AUDITION:

  1. Read the entire audition notice.
  2. Make sure you are available for the audition, the callback and the shoot date.
  3. Confirm your selected audition times with your agent.
  4. Open, read and understand all audition material – scripts, storyboards, videos, pictures. Do this AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THE AUDITION NOTICE. Don’t leave it til 11PM the night before the audition. There may be some things that need preparation time!

BEFORE YOU WALK IN THE AUDITION ROOM:

  1. Arrive ON TIME. Not super early. Not late. ON TIME. You were given a time to be there for a reason. When you arrive much earlier, the person you are meeting with may not be ready for you, they may not have a waiting area, they are in the middle of 15 other things… Being way too early is NOT helpful. Being late is not only rude, but also disrespectful of everyone involved. If you know you are going to be late – CALL YOUR AGENT. Let them know and they can let your audition know.
  2. Have your agent’s phone number in your phone for such emergencies.
  3. Have the directions, phone numbers, and all audition info with you. Don’t leave it to chance or your memory!
  4. When you arrive at a large audition – be polite and nice to the receptionist and helpers. They remember you and they are the future casting agents and producers!
  5. Do not bring your children with you to auditions – waiting rooms and receptionists are not babysitters.
  6. Fill out your paperwork COMPLETELY. Fill out every question asked to the fullest amount.
  7. Casting Agents want true height/weight/sizes on the audition form. (the wardrobe stylist works off this sheet)
  8. Casting Agents need detailed AVAILABILITY (they plan the shoot dates and times around this). If you can be flexible and make it work. Put that you are available… but be prepared to make it really work. If you need an out time for rehearsals or a show put that so the production can be prepared.
  9. Once you have filled out your audition paperwork, sit down and be quiet. This is not a time to visit with everyone else in the room. It’s not happy hour. Everyone there is or should be concentrating on the work they are about to do.
  10. Always bring a copy of your HEADSHOT and RESUME. Even if it wasn’t specifically asked for… you never know when it is needed. Keep these things current.
  11. Fill out your Casting Frontier Profile and keep it current. More and more casting agents are asking this of talent… make this a part of your marketing scheme!

IN THE AUDITION ROOM:

  1. Walk into the audition room with a smile. Be CONFIDENT!
  2. PRACTICE your SLATE before the audition! Your name and your agency should be a statement… not a question! Be comfortable in your own skin… this is the time for you to show the camera, casting agent, and client who YOU are. SMILE!
  3. ALWAYS be prepared with the material the agents send you, we give you all this information to HELP YOU, please take the time to work with it. Memorize the script. Learn the storyboards. Check out the reference videos/pictures. BUT – be prepared to improvise if needed.
  4. Wear the appropriate wardrobe – you should be able to tell what is appropriate from the scripts, storyboards, or job description.
  5. THANK them for seeing you. Do not shake hands (unless the clients get up to do so first). SMILE!

Remember to take notes afterwards of what happened at the audition – keep track of client, product, producer, agency, role, etc.
Your agent will notify you if you are selected for a callback or for the role. We do not know that info for days usually, since the selects need to be approved by several people. If you are wondering, you can always send us an email… we may not have any info though!

Don’t forget to have a fun in your audition and show them how awesome you are – we obviously thought you were great enough to get the call. 🙂

We want you to succeed and the best part of our job is calling to tell you that YOU ARE BOOKED!!!