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4 Words That Cause Spontaneous Verbal Diarrhea in Auditions…And The Cure

After thousands of auditions over the years, I’ve seen it hundreds and hundreds of times.

Diarrhea in auditions.

Eeew. Really?

Oh, not that kind. This common audition illness does not require Immodium AD or Pepto Bismol or anything like that. The diarrhea I speak of is a VERBAL diarrhea.

auditions
You know, the kind where you enter the audition room and open your mouth and an endless stream of seemingly non-sensical words comes cascading out and there doesn’t seem like anything you can do to stop it even though inside you’re secretly praying you’ll say something meaningful and memorable and that they don’t think you’re the hopeless idiot you feel like you’re being while you’re talking and saying nothing and so you keep trying harder and harder and it keeps getting worse and worse…(kinda like that).

Ever happen?

There are many causes of verbal diarrhea in auditions and/or general meetings with Casting Directors but probably one of the most common is those 4 little words you dread….

auditions audition tell me

Who would think that 4 utterly carefree little words could cause such audition chaos. Afterall, aren’t they merely a kind little invitation to get to know you better?

In fact, when a Casting Director says “Tell me about yourself…” whether in an audition situation, at a general meeting or even at a social function, they just want to get to know you…the REAL you. Not that you on the 8×10 paper on the back of your headshot that has your credits…aka your resume.

Truth: Casting Directors want to get to know you so they can think of more ways to cast you.

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If you play your cards right “Tell me about yourself” can not only be easy and fun to answer, but when you leverage it correctly, you could be creating the beginnings of a powerful relationship that provides you with boatloads of opportunities for years to come.

Click Below To Watch The Video “Cure” for “Tell Me About Yourself” In Auditions

 


Do you see now how easily you can avoid the dreaded “word vomit” that can happen from those 4 words? Now you are armed, not only with a strategy on how to handle this, but also with a way to create a powerful connection with a Casting Director.

BTW, you can practice that second strategy even WITHOUT the “Tell me about yourself” introduction in many other situations for your acting career.

Your turn! Has this ever happened to you? Will this tip help you next time?  Let's hear all about it in the comments below…Tell me about yourself!  ;-)

You DESERVE The Red Carpet!
~Amy

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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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40 Responses

  1. Stephanie Peterson says:

    This is so helpful! And kind of a duh moment for me. I have a question for you. Two large parts of who I am as a person (and they also line up with my brand/film passion) are that I’m a young mom and a pastor’s wife. Should I avoid that last part or anything that could seem controversial? It’s definitely what I might naturally say to someone if they asked me that question, though.

    • I’m replying to this just so I can get notified on an answer. I’m a Christian myself, and while I’m proud of that fact, I usually feel like I shouldn’t lead with it.

      • I’m not religious, and I know religion can be a weird and polarizing topic for a lot of people, but for what it’s worth…the majority of self-identifying Christian actors I’ve met are some of the nicest, most down-to-earth people I’ve ever encountered. They aren’t the sort of right-wing maniacs that make Christianity (or religion in general) look bad, but they also aren’t the egotistical attention whores that make actors look bad. They tend to have a work-life balance, not stress about little things and just seem all-around more peaceful. “Leading with it” is a personal choice, of course, and definitely don’t oversell it (use your own judgment on this one) but I just thought I’d let you know that not every non-religious person out there is gonna be weird about you mentioning it.

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      I’d have a couple of scenarios available to discuss that you can choose depending on the situation…and then you have to feel the room. Use your intuition to decide if it feels good to lead with that. Things like that can polarize and, either attract like-minded people or repel others who feel differently. So, if you’re okay with that scenario and it’s so much a part of who you are that you don’t mind losing some to gain others, then do it. If you’d prefer to keep it more neutral and that feels good to you to do so, then go there. It’s a personal choice…ya know?

  2. Evangelist Janice Culver says:

    Great tip…really needed that one…I got my 3 things and a quirey….Thanks

  3. Corinne Kelly says:

    Great advice! I also jumped twice. My husband and I jumped on a Friday the 13th holding hands..sneaking a kiss in freefall at 14,000 ft. (He was a pro diver)… I have stories for you.
    Thanks again

  4. Sachie Alessio Heath says:

    This is awesome. Years ago, I had a meeting with a big agency right after I had a pretty bad food poisoning episode. They asked me if I was always “this skinny” to which I filled them in on all the gory details about my bout with e coli. Needless to say, I wasn’t called back.
    I also once “joked around” with a casting director – at a producer callback, no less – that she put vodka in her water bottle because of the stressful day she was having. I STILL cringe about that ridiculous comment TEN YEARS LATER.

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      Time to let that go. No need to cringe. The past is behind you and your future is what you create Sachie!

    • How the crap do you even respond to something like that, though? “Have you always been this skinny?” Seriously? Even in a professional environment where appearance is talked about openly, I’d say that that question crosses the line to borderline rude. Any thoughts, Amy?

  5. Racheal Smith says:

    This is not only good for acting, but also for job interviews (I still call them auditions)…except at a job interview, I can tell them of my passion for acting. :)

    On a serious note, I did have “duh” moments with this statemen. I sat down after a interview bomb and changed it up. Instead of “tell me about yourself”. I asked myself, “what makes me unique/interesting?” I find those four letter words easier to face than the others.

  6. Kelly Holden-Bashar says:

    Thanks! So simple yet easy to forget.

  7. Samantha Berry says:

    Great tip for the audition room! I was once in an audition and was asked this question by the director and mentioned I was new in town from Arizona. The director was actually familiar with the area having gone to school there and so excited to talk about common places we had been. It was great to make that connection, and this has reminded me to bring something to create that connection to my upcoming auditions!

  8. tish parsels says:

    I use any tips you have to give.. This tip really gives me a different k kind of confidence.. I feel more sure of myself. Thank you.

  9. Ron Morrison says:

    Thank you, this was very helpful.

  10. Kevin Scott Allen says:

    I love the tip you gave the pastor’s wife. I grew up in what I considered normal circumstances, but later learned could be very off-putting to many people. The first time I “blurted out” my story to a casting director and was met with a look of complete shut-down, I learned real fast. Now when I am asked that question I follow with a few interesting tidbits said in a fairly neutral way. I gauge the reaction then steer the rest of what I say so that it engages rather than pushes away.

  11. Taunya Gren says:

    I like this a lot. I’m generally very confident and comfortable in auditions, but this has always been a problematic thing.

  12. Scott King says:

    Thank you for your passion to help actors. Some things you learn with age. I had a callback with Ellen Chenowith and the Coen Bros. on Sept 24th for Hail Caesar. I did not get the part due to having “Too pretty a face” but it was a high point meeting 2 directors and a CD that I greatly respect and the Coen Bros. laughed like school boys at my interpretation (It is a comedic part). At that level, everything was laid back with no great ego to use for intimidation. These people have made their mark and are highly respected. They have nothing to “prove” to anyone.

    The biggest obstacle that I face is age discrimination. I am having trouble getting a manager because I took off about 10 years to deal with family issues, parents and children, etc.in my 30’s. Now I am told it is difficult to get men and women in their 40’s without huge network and lead studio credits to be seen by CD’s. That in turn leads to difficulty obtaining representation, which in turn makes it difficult to get a decent audition… I have been lead on Indy Features in LA and smaller network shows like Biography Channel: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2389444/

    Advice? Thanks, Scott King

  13. It’s not just in acting but in general these words can trump people. Great advice. Just be happy for who you are and proud. Not everyone will be on the same wave length as you.

  14. Bruce Clifford says:

    Totally understand, usually when asked this question I jump right onto the whole acting side of telling about myself when I should be telling them about hobbies, interested, other passions, etc. They know I am an actor that’s why we are all there haha. Thanks for the tips Amy. Much appreciated. Not to copy of you or anything but my new one will be “I jumped out of a stopped car at 2 feet.” Pretty dare devilish if I do say so myself. :) I love your blogs. Keep them coming!

  15. KozakR says:

    Love your posts, always helpful, yes be prepared just like an interview is what it reminds me of, why should we hire you or what makes you different/interesting., and great reminders! keep them coming! xoxo

  16. Alexander Rain says:

    This is super helpful! Thanks Amy! I FEAR this question more than anything because I’m kinda shy as a human being (most actors I find are when you first meet them). As an actor I’m fearless but when someone puts me on the spot to talk about myself… I totally freeze up. Now I have tips on how to prepare! Thank you, I always enjoy your videos and webinare’s! =)

  17. Angelique Yalda says:

    Thank you Amy! This is the question that I struggle with the most! Going into an audition I know they are going to ask me to tell them about myself. It makes my nerves skyrocket. I have never been sure what to say or what not to say! Now I have a formula! Awesome! After watching your video (sitting on my couch and writing ideas down) my first response is “I’m an empty nester who can’t pass up the chips and salsa plate. Are you a chips or chocolate kind of person?” How did I do Amy?

  18. Elin Hunter says:

    I here that having been a queen of verbal diarrhea at times going up long side roads away from the topic going all over the world into sometimes u necessary weirdness wondering how will I ever dig out ! Thanks for that simplified to the point explanation.

  19. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    Never been asked yet but now I won’t be worried I’ll make a total ass of myself!! Thanks Amy!! :-D

  20. Sean McBride says:

    Good advice, especially about making it a conversation. No-one has asked that in Australia of me so far. I should be ready now though. Thanks.

  21. Kenny D says:

    Amy have you ever had the verbal diarrhea virus? This is miracle cure advise. Being prepared is something we all forget now and then. We prepare for tests and mid terms, so why not in auditions. right? I love to interact with people, I love driving and seeing different scenery, and I enjoy sports

  22. I like cars I’m buying a car this Summer

  23. Thank you so much it’s so refreshing to find someone helping people in show business. I am so lucky to have just been signed by a wonderful agency and I want to make sure I nailed my auditions. That dreaded question tell me about your self has been anxiety inducing in the past but now I think it will be ready !!!

    is there any question that we should avoid asking casting directors perhaps something that is asked all of the time ?

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