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How To Turn Your Emotional Acting Auditions From Blah to Brilliant

emotion blog

You're taking a big risk…(and not in a good way).

With what?

Emotional acting auditions.

You either love ‘em or you struggle with ‘em.

But here’s the thing…Even if you LOVE emotional acting auditions, you are at RISK of ruining your next emotional acting audition if you don’t read on…

You know what I mean by emotional acting audition pieces, right?

The ones with crying, sobbing, fear, desperation, anger…the big, gut-wrenching, doubled over, nose-running, tears streaming down your cheek type of scenes.

And here’s the tricky part (pay close attention)...

Even if you love these emotional acting audition pieces and you have the ability to drop a tear on cue, they can trip YOU up more than actors who struggle with them.

Here’s why.

How You’re Killing Your Emotional Acting Auditions By Crying

Every time I’ve held a casting session for a role with one of those super emotional acting audition pieces, I’ve seen talented actors fall into the same trap.

If you LOVE emotional acting audition scenes, you may actually be focusing TOO MUCH on the emotion of the scene.

This happens because it’s really easy for you to access emotion (the good news). So, because it’s so easy for you, you go for it. 

You want to SHOW THEM how good you are at rockin’ those tears. 

And that’s a BIG acting audition mistake.

When you focus on showing the emotion of the scene, you tend to lose focus on the rest of your job in the scene.

Then your audition becomes unbalanced and flat.

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It’s like this…

Picture a camera pulling into focus on an object.  All other objects blur into the background and just fill out the composition of the picture.  Your image consists of ONE item focused on and a background of blur.

The audition version of that example is this:

When you LOVE emotional acting auditions, the rest of your JOB in the audition room – to create a spectacular, specific, rich, complex set of choices that brings the scene to life – gets blurred into the background.

Then, all that we’re left with is a non-specific, so-so audition, full of emotion.

This is not what books.

Don't worry. I'll give you a fix for this in a sec…

But, what if you're on the other side of this conundrum?

What if it's hard for you to muster up a tear?

How You’re Killing Your Emotional Acting Auditions By Not Crying

If you’re in the other category – you struggle to access emotion for your acting auditions – here’s what I’ve seen happen in the audition room over and over.

You’re SO conscious of trying to find, access, re-create emotion and can’t, that you start to subconsciously judge yourself about it.  Maybe you even kick yourself  and doubt your ability.

Then you lose focus on the meat and potatoes of the scene.

The choices, the actions, the relationships…the guts of your audition.

So, you've virtually checked out on the most important level of your audition, while you desperately chase the emotion that never comes.

Basically, you cease to be present in your audition.

It shows up to the Casting Director as a really empty, non-specific, so-so audition that does not serve you at all.

Yikes!

Here’s How You Fix The Emotional Acting Audition Conundrum

Regardless of which category you fall into, STOP focusing on the emotion.

Focus on the meat and potatoes of the scene — your choices for the character, making things UBER-specific, creating relationships with the other characters, defining your physical space, etc.

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When you focus on the foundational parts of your scene you can create a rich, full, complex scene that makes Casting Directors lean forward and take notice.

And then, if you’re in Category A and emotion is easy for you to access, you simply fill up the STRUCTURED, supremely specific, kick-ass audition you created with emotion.

NOT the other way around.

This is key.

Or, if you’re in Category B, and accessing emotion is hard for you, regardless of whether the emotion shows up in your acting audition or not, you have a STRUCTURED, supremely specific, kick-ass scene that makes Casting Directors lean forward and take notice.

And the bonus is, that once you let go of chasing emotion, it often shows up on its own.

The Final Word on Emotional Acting Auditions

The beauty of any audition is in its specifics.

Focus on SPECIFICS in your acting audition and you're gold.
>>> Click To Tweet<<<

Focus on EMOTION in your acting audition and you could fall in a ditch.

Don’t fall in a ditch.

Be specific.

REMEMBER: Your job in an audition is creating a STRUCTURED, supremely specific, kick-ass acting audition.  Whether the emotion shows up or not, you've still created something amazing.

That's what creates fans.

That's what creates callbacks.

That's what creates jobs.

You DESERVE The Red Carpet!
~Amy
P.S. In my upcoming free “Audition Control” webclass, I’ll take you even deeper inside the secret thoughts of Casting Directors.

You’ll discover what they really think and see during your audition (and how you can use that information to your advantage — that’s the FUN part).

Reserve your complimentary spot now.

Did This Help You?

Did this blog on How To Turn Your Emotional Acting Auditions From Blah to Brilliant 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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47 Responses

  1. These are encouraging words for this normally non-weepy actor.

  2. Kevin Parker says:

    I’m category b. Thanks as always!

  3. Gary Lesich says:

    I have to let some walls down to bring on the tears … increasingly difficult to shut it off. I’m a “B”, however, once its on, its on. Other emotions…no problem. Great advice. :)

  4. Viki says:

    Love your blogs & videos! Keep them coming.

  5. Saurabh Vashisth says:

    Thnx fr sharng ths

  6. Jason Lyke says:

    Yes!! this really helped thanks for taking the time to break it down for us it really brought a lot of clarity on the important of where you put your focus on and how putting your focus on the wrong things like the result meaning “crying” or showing how emotional you can get can mess up your audition instead of staying focus on being specific on who your talking to and the given circumstance and the story your telling and staying presently in the moment.

    Thanks Amy

  7. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    For me it seems, it’s the content of the dialog & scene structure that gets my water works going. Sometimes I can “cry” & other times I’m the Sahara Desert. I’ve been told that very seldom is the grand boohoo a bonus. That it’s the suppressed cry, with maybe a trickle down the cheek, that is the most effective for garnering the greatest effect. Yes – no??

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      Totally YES. I mean I agree. I’d much rather see an actor try like hell NOT to cry. It’s riveting.

      • Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

        Thanks Amy! Sometimes it’s difficult to decide which is a truism. I’d heard differing opinions. My former coach was of the suppress school. I know sometimes a good cry is called for but seems it’s very sparing.
        Again, thanks for the clarity! :-D

  8. Jeanne Young says:

    Love this…I have fallen into this trap before, and as soon as the audition was over…I knew my chances at a callback was over too. I became aware it right in the middle of it…great advice Amy:)

  9. rosie gordon says:

    great article,as always Amy! Thanks.

  10. John Demers says:

    Well stated. And an epic truth for actors.

  11. David Nathan Schwartz says:

    I find your videos /blog so helpful. It’s funny how you articulate so many things I have been formulating in the ol’ noodle. THANK YOU! Used to be a B, since I became a father A.

  12. larrydensmore says:

    Yes. Like don’t put the emotion out like taking out your neatly packaged recycled refuse but let it happen like water burbling up through ancient rocks and crevices to the open air.

  13. tiray killings says:

    OK! that’s some really great advice.Passion doesn’t always mean a wet face!

  14. Great advice to focus on scene itself. Usually the emotion will come out on it’s own. I have yet to do one where I am crying but that is one emotion that really gets to me. Though listening to Les Miserable near the end helps.

  15. Alexander Rain says:

    I can always get teary eyed but a tear never falls down my cheeks. It’s actually easy for me to get teary eyed so I almost fall into both categories. I get annoyed with myself that the tears are there yet wont fall. And because of this, I start to loose all the little details I rehearsed in preparation to the audition and I walk out of there hinking “meh… not my best!”

  16. Jeff says:

    Great post! I have worked under the impression that my emotional life is the greatest service I can give to a scene. Will be sure to make specific choices on the next go round.

  17. Betto Marque says:

    Thank you Amy!!! I am an actor from Brasil, I do a lot of theatre here and I am starting in Television. Being present and remember that the character is living and not trying to be approved in a audition, isn’t it? I found your site amazing, and your tips awesome! Thank you

  18. i am an actor from egypt love ur blogs keep it up

  19. Jeaniene Green says:

    This is great advice. It’s what I’m discovering too. Thanks Amy.

  20. Carole says:

    Yes! Such good avice.

  21. Yes, this was in the rockstar audition video, not to play the emotions, but to specify my words, and how i chose to say them, makes the character stand out and seem real and interesting. I love it!! and i needed to hear this. Thankyou.

  22. Melissa Mendez says:

    I think this is very true. You need to take the room on a journey in a very short time whether it’s a song, monologue or scene. However, that journey needs to also be complete. If you focus on the end product (the climax of emotion) and ignore how you get there, then your emotion isn’t going to make any sense and you wind up bombing. It’s like wanting to make authentic croissants but deciding to not take the 2 days the process calls for because you want to eat them two hours from now. They’re not going to be any good and everyone will be disappointed.

  23. Tabitha Tuckman says:

    This was very eye opening for me. It makes SO MUCH SENSE. I’m the kind of person who can sit at home while rehearsing and make the water works poor out, but the minute I’m in front of the casting director, I just dry up. I have an audition later with a very emotional scene and this whole time I’ve been telling myself that I NEED to get myself crying to ace this audition, but now I realize it’ll just look like I’m pushing emotions, not living them. Thank you so much.

  24. Thank you Amy!

    Great advice about having to play the extreme emotions and “Keeping it real when it isn’t real…”. I agree that organic thought-motivations are the key to realism, for, scientifically speaking, thoughts change the human aura, or energy-output which was previously thought of as imperceptible and irrelevant. Struggling not to cry might ring more powerfully than submitting to tears. When do we ever choose to cry in real life? It’s a reaction to a thought or feeling.

    Amy: You inspire and are doin’ real good. Molto Grazie~ TaDa! Please continue to give out these nuggets of wisdom.

    May your generosity return to you magnified many times.

    With great respect,

    Susan Lautner @AGRonline

    ~L.A.-Based SAG Actress with (R.A.D.A, UK), London/NYC theater credits, extensive and exciting life-experiences and employment in myriad occupations, raised in Vermont and so honored to hear you again.

  25. Daniel McDonald says:

    Thank you so much Amy. Such generosity, so many clear, accessible bullet points, that I completely agree with. I appreciate your positive, encouraging attitude,as sometimes too much knowledge can intimidate, not inform or inspire…as a recently retired due to disabilities teacher/coach/mentor I’d like to say “cheers”!

  26. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    I can go either way in these auditions. Sometimes the emotion is there other times, not so much.

  27. Temidayo Akinboro says:

    Please Amy, Could you please shed a little light on the “Specifics”

  28. It’s cool to learn about acting for casting auditions. I definitely agree to too much emotion is not a good thing; a little goes a long way. There has to be a good balance, which is what sets the great actors and actresses apart, I think.

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