This week's guest blog comes from Jodie Bentley of The Savvy Actor. If you haven't heard of them yet, you will soon since they are helping actors everday manage their business and make smart decisions. Today, Jodie addresses the idea of type. Take it away Jodie!
Who Said Type Was Limiting?
by Jodie Bentley
Ok, so the audition season is winding down. There will be fewer auditions to wake up early for, but that doesn’t mean our job as an actor stops. It’s time to assess. How did this audition season go for you? How can you stand out in the audition room? Did you stand out in the audition room? What separates you from everyone else to get that callback or book that job?
Craft and technique aside, the question is simply… are you being you?
We have all heard this before, the casting director, director, producer, etc., is rooting for you and they want to like you. They want you to be good, they want you to fill the void they need filled. And you know what, most of us are good actors! Some are great, and some are still honing their craft, but for the most part everybody's good. So what happens in the room? What makes one person go in the callback pile over someone else? What makes that one person book the job?
We as actors have got to let our essence shine through in the room. That is a huge part of our Brand. It's the energy we exude and how we present ourselves. I can't stress enough the importance of being comfortable with your Brand and owning your Brand. What that allows for is your true authentic self to shine through. That's what ‘they’ want to see in the room, that's what ‘they’ connect with. The essence of who you are. It is so important to do the work and research to define what your Brand is.
Remember in acting school when we studied acting technique and our teachers said when you're performing you let it all go and live in the moment? The same applies to business and auditioning. Do all the background work - know every piece of your Brand, your business plan, your goals, your finances etc. Know it cold and have all of it systemized and on paper. Then forget about it. Forget about it in the room and trust in the work you have done. When you do, your essence will shine through naturally. Your presence will be enthralling. They will be drawn to you because you are comfortable in your Brand. Your product makes sense. They don't have to figure out where you fit, you've done it for them.
For a long time I struggled with my type. Well, let me rephrase that. I didn't struggle with it, I knew what it was, but I fought against it. I wanted to be something else. I thought, “Well I could fit here” and “Well, I could fit there too”, and I tried to, well… make myself fit! I went to every EPA, and managed to burn myself out. I wasn't being true to my essence, I wasn't being my authentic self. Finally, when I stopped fighting, and embraced me, with all my quirkiness, and big red curly hair, that's when it clicked. That's when my essence came through in the room, they got me, and I got put into the callback pile.
So as this audition season ends, take time to refocus your Brand for the fall. Instead of trying to force yourself into every show, what shows would allow your authenticity and brilliance to shine through? Where will your natural essence automatically put you ahead of everyone else who comes in for that role? Oh, and here's a secret, once a casting director sees you owning who you are, they will keep calling you in, and then eventually will want to see how you are with other types of roles, other styles, other genres. By ‘typing’ yourself now and owning your Brand, you're actually setting yourself up to play all kinds of roles down the line. Who said type was limiting?