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The 3-Step Cure To Break Audition-Killing Patterns In Your Audition Dialogue

Even if you don’t do musicals, there’s music in your auditions.

As an actor, you’ve probably experienced it more as rhythm and it’s more important to the health of your auditions than you realize.

audition auditions audition tips

Truthfully, unless you’re a dancer or a musician or a singer, you’ve probably never really considered rhythm as an important factor in your auditions… Or rather, from my perspective in Casting, having sat on the other side of your auditions for years and years, not nearly as much as you should.

In this blog, you’ll finally understand the importance of rhythm in your auditions and you'll discover 3 simple steps to break dangerous patterns easily and make your auditions sing (no pun intended).

During my years in Casting, most actors I've auditioned have displayed rhythm troubles in the audition room and didn't even know it.

Yup.  It's true.

You may be wondering “What on earth does she mean by “rhythm troubles”?”  and/or “Yikes, do I have them!?”

Let's find out…

What You Focus On In Your Audition Prep

When you get audition sides, there are A LOT of different elements you have to consider, make choices on, and then rehearse in a short amount of time.

Often times, you're spending your audition prep time on:

  • Breaking down the scene
  • Making your character choices
  • Figuring out your relationships
  • Pinpointing your character’s motivations
  • Deciding how your character can achieve their ultimate goal in the scene
  • Looking for the sneaky hidden traps in your sides (oh yeah, they're there)

…And a whole bunch of other vital audition prep points

(Download your FREE 15-point Ultimate Audition Prep Checklist to make sure you're hitting all of them).

The thing is, usually, even when you're focusing on all 15 points of prep, you ignore the rhythm of your audition and hope it takes care of itself by attending to all those other things.

Usually, it doesn’t.

How Does Rhythm Affect Your Audition?

Rhythm issues in your audition most often manifest as speech patterns you get into with certain sections of your dialogue — a line here or there.  Or, (more often than you may think) you are stuck in a pattern for your entire audition.

Don't panic…we'll get to THE CURE in just a sec.

But first, for just a moment, put yourself in the shoes of the Casting Director so you can see you like I see you and then you can use that to your advantage.

It’s really weird but I’ve found that when I’d be sitting across the table watching actor after actor read the same words over and over, what often happens is this…

If 50 actors are coming in to read for a role, 49 of them will come in and read the scene with the IDENTICAL rhythm.

audition tip auditioning patters

And you know what happens when every actor comes in doing something the same way in their audition over and over?

Well, not a callback, that’s for sure.

At least not for 49 of them.

After that session of 50 actors, I can sing those sides to you like a song, hitting EXACTLY the same speech patterns and rhythms as 49 of you.

Here’s why that’s not good.

What Are the Results of Rhythm & Pattern Issues In Your Audition

What that indicates to the Casting Director is that you’re not fully present, not confident and/or you are in your head too much.

Of course rhythm is not the only thing to focus on. In and of itself, it won’t be THE deciding factor, but it IS a contributor.

And the reason I bring it up is because it’s easy to spot and an easy fix.

So how can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you?

The 3-Step Cure For Audition-Killing Speech Patterns In Your Audition

Fix Your Audition Rhythm With These 3 Steps:

Step 1 – AWARENESS

Become aware that you’re stuck in a pattern in the first place.

As you rehearse, notice if you are falling into repeated rhythms.  Ask yourself.  Am I in a pattern here? Listen to yourself.  Watch a recording of yourself.

Ask your coach (although a good coach will spot it right away and tell you).

And remember, as you’re reading this blog right now, you’re tucking this thought into the back of your mind and the awareness should come easier for you.  ;)

Breaking patterns of speech that you're stuck in is critical to a fresh, exciting, bookable audition.
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Step 2 – BREAK THE PATTERN

Use this exercise to break that pattern.

Let’s say, for example, that your line is:

“I can’t take another minute of this!”

Play with the rhythm and rehearse saying it several different ways.

For example:

  • I can’t take another minute of this!
  • I can’t take another minute of this!
  • I can’t take another minute of this!
  • I can't take another minute of this!
  • I can’t take another minute of this!
  • I can’t take another minute of this!

Try changing your pacing.

  • Ican’ttakeanotherminuteofthis!

Or maybe

  • Ican’t TAKE anotherminute of THIS!
  • I. CAN’T. TAKE. ANOTHER. MINUTE. OF. THIS.

There are a zillion variations and once you get going, and allow yourself to get a little silly with it, you stop thinking, your creativity leads the charge and change happens.

BOOM!  Pattern broken.

It may seem simple, but IT WORKS.

Take the time to do it and you may not only have a break in a tired pattern, but perhaps you'll even have a breakthrough with your scene or your character.

I’ve found that once these patterns get broken, it leaves a great space for a burst of creativity that you would not have had access to before, while you were stuck in your pattern.

Figure out how you can break away from the line’s obvious rhythm – the way everyone else will say it at the audition. If you can do that, you will be able to be organically different in the scene in a way that nobody else is.

And by organically different, I mean that we will remember you…in a good way.

Got it? Good. Now…

STEP 3 – “FUHGETTABOUTIT”

Okay, now that you’ve done all that, FORGET IT.  Just forget about it entirely.  Just focus on being present.

The point is not to USE one of those variations, but rather to get you to BREAK the pattern.  Once you’ve broken it, let it go.

Your creative, subconscious mind knows what to do. You just need to let go and allow yourself to be in the present moment and see what comes out.

audition tips

Trust yourself.

You know what to do.

The One Exception:  COMEDY

Comedy often has rhythm built into the dialogue. Or rather, I should say GOOD comedy writing often has it.  And you do want to capitalize on good writing and comic rhythm. But that’s a blog for another day.

The Last Word On Rhythm


REMEMBER
: The point of this is not to purposely try to sound different than everyone else. If you focus on sounding different for the sake of sounding different, it will just sound inauthentic and weird.  It won't help your audition and could even hurt it.

The purpose of this exercise is to break obvious rhythms that keep you from being present and allowing your unique, creative self to show up in your auditions and nail them.

If you’ve rehearsed this, played around a bit and let it go, your audition will have a bit of MAGIC that it didn’t have before.  So do it!

Your turn!  Have you ever gotten stuck in a pattern in your audition?  How did you notice? What did you do to break out of it?  Please share your feelings or experience in the comments below :-)

You DESERVE The Red Carpet!

~Amy

audition ninja

Did This Help You?

Did this audition tip BLOG on Breaking Audition-Killing Patterns In Your Auditions help you? If so, I would greatly appreciate if you commented below and shared on Facebook

Amy Jo Berman - Acting Coach
Amy Jo Berman's Tips On Acting & Auditioning Blog
Email: Asst@AmyJoBerman.com

“I show actors how to be better, book more jobs and live The Red Carpet life!”

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8 Responses

  1. LaVonda Elam says:

    Great Post! The tip works well beyond the audition! I say yes to the rhythm. Thanks.

  2. Erik Jorn Sundquist says:

    Thanks Amy Jo…this is really useful and interesting. I think about this very thing quite a bit and one thing that works for me is to speak the scene with foreign accents. Irish, German, Southern, etc. every accent has different points of emphasis so when I do this its impossible to get locked down in one pattern and sometimes one of the accents will give me a different take on what I’m saying or even what I’m going after in the scene. Thanks again for your words of wisdom!
    Erik Jorn Sundquist

  3. Eryn Rea says:

    Howard Fine calls it ‘prehshaping’- and regardless of your dialogue, all a CD will hear is ‘I’m not present! I’m not in the moment’. Good point, thanks Amy

  4. One thing I do to break my pattern and reset is do a read with an over the top or counterintuitive character. Afterwards, I find I’m able to do a more authentic read with an authentic rhythm. Thanks for the excellent tips, Amy Jo!

  5. Yes! Thank you Amy Jo. Great tips. And the operative exercise is one of my faves, and yes, until I get super silly with it. It was good to get the reminder; I will try it with all of my lines next audition.

  6. Yan Xi says:

    LOVE this one! Thank you Amy!

  7. KEVEN F DONNELL says:

    AMY JO BERMAN I FID A CAMEO IN 2016 BLEED FOR THIS ABOUT BOXING LEGEND VINNIE PAZIENZA AT 1HOUR 36MINUTES 12SECONDS I SENT U 2 PUX OF ME IN MOVIE 2 PIX 8F ME WITH MY US AIR FORCE PLAQUES I’M RETIRED US AIR FORCE VIETNAM VETERAN PROFESSIONAL MASSEUSE WRESTLER SECURITY PERSONNEL OFFICER KEVEN F DONNELL

  8. KEVEN F DONNELL says:

    AMY JO BERMAN I DID CAMEO IN 2016 MOVIE BLEED FOR THIS ABOUT BOXING LEGEND VINNIE PAZIENZA AT 1HOUR 36MINUTES 12SECONDS I’M RETIRED US AIR FORCE VIETNAM VETERAN PROFESSIONAL MASSEUSE WRESTLER SECURITY PERSONNEL OFFICER KEVEN F DONNELL

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