Quite possibly worse than having to be forced to finish your vegetables for dinner, it’s the monologue. For actors it doesn’t come often, but the monologue is something that they have to be prepared for. It presents certain kinds of challenges that can only be overcome by preparing. In a monologue, as the name suggests, you are all on your own acting for about one minute and a half while your auditors are watching you and possibly making or breaking your future. You have no one to bounce off and it isn’t an organic process. No one, at least know one we know, makes a 2 minute long speech out of nowhere, so it can seem uncomfortable to you. The other big problem is memorization. You have to know this monologue as well as your name. You should be able to have it ready to go at a moment’s notice.
In order to conquer the monologue, there are a few things that you have to do. Firstly, you need to memorize your monologue. That does require time and work, so if you you have an audition, don’t think that you can try and memorize your monologue the night before. Delivering your monologue should be as natural as possible, you have to know your monologue like the back of your hand for that to happen.
If you are using your monologue for an audition have about 6 or 7 different ones memorized and ready to go. You might be asked to do more than one for your audition, so make sure you choose the right ones. Choosing the right monologue is not always an easy process, but remember these tips:
1. You should choose monologues that are age appropriate either for yourself or your character (which also means no cussing) 2. something that is interesting and entertaining ( so Hamlet’s ‘To Be or Not To Be’ monologue is probably out of the running), and if possible 3. make it one that you actually like. You should be able to tell a story with your monologues, but that story isn’t just with your words. Use body language and actually act out the scene. With that said, don’t feel the need to yell or cry when you deliver your monologue. Being able to cry on cue isn’t the natural marker of a great actor so don’t feel like you have to do it.
In the end, the only thing that we can suggest that we know will work is to be prepared. People can tell if you put in time and effort into your work and when you’re doing it on the fly. You probably won’t have to do a monologue often, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for one. Think of it this way, it’s one more thing to add to your acting tool box.
Everyone loves loves a good comedy, whether it’s a TV shows like “Modern Family” or “How I Met Your Mother” or movies such as “The Muppets” or the Hangover franchise. Comedy makes the audience feels good and take their minds of whatever problems they may have and makes the genre enticing for actors because a good comedy will lead to success. But acting in a comedy isn’t always fun, it can be hard work.
A great comedy actor knows to stay serious when delivering a joke. Have you noticed, famous comedians and actors are serious when their delivering a funny line? No matter how ridiculous the line may sound to you, you have to make the audience believe that you believe it. It looks unprofessional when an actor laughs at his/her own jokes; it loses the magic. Sometimes, actors try too hard to squeeze every last bit of humor out of one line just to be sure s/he gets the laugh. Remember to commit to the script. The writers have a specific vision for how they want to scene to be played out and as an actor, your job is to follow that script. You have to believe that the laughs will come. Even if you don’t, just pretend like it isn’t a big deal and move on with the scene.
Any actor knows that body language is important, that is just as true in comedy, especially when you are doing physical comedy. If the script says to fall, it’s trickier than you think, in fact, it’s almost an art form. You have to practice you physical comedy as if you were learning stage combat. You have to practice looking like you’ve been hurt or blinded by a cream pie when you actually haven’t takes time to master. The Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin weren’t immediate masters and you shouldn’t expect to be either, and that’s OK!
Whether it’s slapstick comedy, farce, Imbroglio (trying saying that 4 times fast!), etc.. the comedy is only as good as the person who delivers it. Most importantly, make sure you’re having fun doing it! No matter how hard you try, if you don’t enjoy what you do, the audience will see that. So get in from of a mirror and practice your best Jim Carrey impression!