I have to admit I’m learning a ton from watching people audition. I do it on a daily basis now. And I’m having a ton of fun commenting. But one thing that I keep writing over and over is, “look at the camera!”
When I studied with Uta Hagen, she always ranted that she HATED monologues . . . said there was no rhyme or reason to them if you were attempting to create a REAL character . . . REAL characters just don’t wax poetic or muse out loud to themselves. But Hagen was a stage actress who, I think, has all of two credits on IMDB. She didn’t realize that much of film acting is monologue.
It’s monologue because many times, even though you’re talking to someone, it’s just you and the lens. Even if they’re shooting over your fellow actor’s shoulder, you’re ultimately doing your acting to the camera. And it’s a given that you have to develop a love affair with it.
When I was an actress, I always found my light onstage. Once, someone knocked the one that illuminated me for my big number off kilter. I found it anyway, crept into its pink glow and belted away. But I, too, was primarily a stage actress and had that sensibility. Romancing the lens in film is very much like finding your light onstage. You have to be aware of it every, every minute. Even in the throes of your most emotional moments. And understand how to relate to it as if it were another character with which you were emotionally invested. Or a scary monster or hilarious clown. Whatever the script or preparation calls for.
So do yourself a favor when you’re auditioning and look in the camera as if it were the person to which you were speaking. Even if you’re hearing the reading from somewhere else in the room. Your success . . . and audition outcome . . . depends upon how well you create the relationship between you and the other character(s) by using the lens as a focus and how well you release your emotion and vulnerability into it.