Words words words
"There are so many words!" It's my favorite thing actors say. Part of me is consistantly amused by this comment and the other part of me always wants to ask, "what did you think was going to happen?"
This time of year is tough, tons of auditions, very little prep time and expections are at an all time high. As the auditioner, it is your job to memorize lines but how do you get words into your body that feel false?
I recommend being completely off book whenever possible. (I know I know) but there is no better way to get a role & scene into your body that to work it from the outside in. Learn your lines completely & quickly & then you have time to develop character specificites. It is much harder to decide how your character moves, thinks, breathes if you are constantly being interrupted, searching for your next line.
Find a quiet place and start reciting, over & over again without infusing too many choices. However, just by saying the lines over & over you will find clear beats and choices will naturally arise for you.
I also recommend putting the entire scene in your own words while you are rehearsing. Eventually you will return to the words on the page, but scripting in a way you would say makes the words true for you & helps to define the clear moments in a scene.
Additionally, sometimes there is a line that just feels false. It has an abrupt start, or the words don't come out right. Here, the actors challenge is to work around it. I recommend and physical, emotional or verbal beat to drive you into an awkard tongue twisting line. We think & move in real life, why not use those tools to help propel you. Adding this beat will bring the reality to the moment.
Finally, I am often asked about improv and adding tags. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules here. Sometimes writers love it, writing down your ideas to potentially use. Other times, they wonder if you can stay on script or if you always add your own things. When done well, skilled comedic actors can add a fun, unexpected moment that lands. My recommendation is, stay to the script completely. Then, if you are confident in the SINGLE moment you can add and are completely sure of your comedy skills, rehearse it. Make sure it feels authentic, real & funny. If it does, go for it! The goal is to make unique choices. One amazing audition will not be overshadowed by an extra word.