Over Practicing – getting stuck in the read

Work your copy! Find your character! Learn the back story! Know what you’re reading! But then don’t over practice either! AHHHHH make up your minds! It can all seem overwhelming…you’ll hear one thing from one person and then something totally contradicting from the other. Just goes to show you there are many options and you just have to fish through it all and see what options, skills and tools work best for you. One thing you have to be very careful of when practicing an audition or upcoming project that you haven’t worked on in the past is to not over work the copy so much that you get stuck in one direction or read making you undirectable.

This is especially true for film actors because they have to memorize scripts. We’re blessed that we don’t but there is much homework that can be done outside of the copy that will still allow you to do tons of homework, without sounding like you’re over rehearsed on the copy itself. The key is to do the homework based on the character and scene in the copy, not the copy itself. If you truly know this character and can let go in their personality, then you can read any copy whether you’ve read it before or not (short of pronunciations etc). The point is be open to change and QUIT FIGHTING DIRECTION AND JUSTIFYING YOUR CHOICES. We are just the actor, let the director be in charge and just be there to mold to what they want. We are puppets on a string with a bit of originality and creativity.

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Comment by Scott J. Smith on March 14, 2012 at 11:27am

Agree, agree, AGREE!  Something that has made an (ongoing) impact on me is listening to interviews of successful people in this industry (film actors, voiceover professionals, stage actors, musicians, writers, etc.).  Nearly EVERY interview asks, "What was the one thing you did that launched you into success?"  Time after time, I hear, "Basically, I was about to give up.  I started attending auditions/interviews and not really caring if I got the job or not.  I just stopped TRYING.  Then...BAM...I get cast/booked/optioned."


A local acting coach always puts in her email signature, "Do or do not..There is no TRY ~ Yoda."  I could talk for an hour (and have) on that concept.  If we would all stop pushing/justifying/manipulating/trying, and just ACT...we'd be much better off.  It's very difficult, especially when our worst critic sits front-and-center atop our shoulders...we try to critique-and-edit on-the-fly, playing the director, engineer and producer...INSTEAD of the talent (the job we're interviewing for, by the way).


This isn't limited just to OUR industry.  LinkedIn recently had an article about interview flubs...and one of the comments from a manager was, "They just try too hard to impress us, instead of impressing us by being themselves."  Heard that before?  We know, with our other interests (skiing, dancing, videogames, whatever), people who may be very talented, but just try too hard.  It's obvious.  So are we, when we "try," and not "do."

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