Actors, Are You "Ready?"
Lately I’ve had a lot of actors in class ask me, “Am I ready?” And my reply is, “I don’t know!”
The best gage you have is YOU. Only you know if you’re ready to take a Casting Director workshop, if you’re ready to have a tete-de-tete with your representation to discuss going in for guest-star/series regular roles or if you’re ready to fire your agent/manager in order to hire one who can get you in for bigger jobs.
No matter what stage of the game you’re at, you need to consistently come back to what you want at your core; series regular lead role on a procedural, recurring guest stars on multiple dramas, indie film leads, etc. Once you’ve established that, then the fun part begins… preparation.
Actors that are new to Mel Mack Acting Studio have usually come to me via a method class, theatre or are wanting to hone their skills for TV and Film. Many times they’re learning the ropes of comedic technique, how to effectively work on-camera and the in’s and out’s of script analysis. So when they ask, “Hey, am I ready to be in front of a Casting Director?” I spew out the following check list:
Can you walk in confident that you’ve made the strongest choice that allows you to come alive in the room or are you trying to please casting by going with the “safe” choice?
Are you able to take direction or ask questions if you don’t understand, in a way that infuses your work?
Can you effectively communicate with the director during callbacks?
Are you an excellent cold reader? Meaning, if you’re given 5 pages of solid dialogue, can you be off-book with strong choices in less than 15 minutes?
Are you grounded in your life so that if you don’t get the job you’re still happy?
Now of course, many of my actors who are NOT ready will answer “yes” to the above questions, then inevitably learn the hard way, via a CD workshop, that they are in fact in need of a good on-camera TV/Film Class.
Often the feedback I hear is, “You really need to be in a class that teaches you how to help the sides come alive.” Or “You seem a little green.” Or “I gave you direction, but you didn’t take it even when I asked if you had any questions about what I just said.”
Much to my dismay as a teacher, the actor comes back to class fearful of getting in front of another CD for a while.
My solution to this question of “Am I Ready?” is to be honest with yourself when reading through the checklist of questions, then sit with where you want to be in your career. So often actors are on the bullet train to stardom, without checking the map along the way. Acting is a journey; you’re constantly evolving, experiencing and growing which sometimes means you’ve gotta “slow your roll” a bit by taking the steps necessary to ensure that your journey is one filled with joy and accomplishment, not madly dashing to the finish line.