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Why The Jason Momoa Audition for Game of Thrones Stopped Me Dead In My Tracks

The Jason Momoa Audition for Game of Thrones seems to have gone viral and there’s some good reason for it. There are definitely some great lessons to be learned from it for every actor and I will share 5 of them with you now.

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Although, I’ll admit, the moment I saw the Jason Momoa audition for Game of Thrones circulating virally on Facebook for the first time, I stopped in my tracks.  Here’s why…

I Was There!

There I was, minding my own business cruising through my Facebook newsfeed, past the various quizzes and random musings of my friends and there it was.  Jason’s Momoa’s audition from Game of Thrones. One of my private coaching clients posted it in her newsfeed.

I stopped.

Holy moly!

I was THERE.

I was in that room! 

In fact, the only people in the room were Jason Momoa and my assistant, who was running camera and ME!

The Jason Momoa audition was definitely a showstopper.  It’s truly one I’ll never forget.

But before I get into the 5 lessons you can apply to your auditions, you need some context.  

Let me backtrack…

The Backstory of the Jason Momoa Audition for Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones was one of my all-time favorite projects to work on while I was Vice President of Casting over at HBO.

I got to work on an extraordinary piece of material with amazing producers and a gifted Casting Director in London, Nina Gold, who I’d worked with on many other projects over the years.   It was just one of those golden projects…ya know?

For many different reasons (which I won’t get into here) the production team was trying to cast the as much as they could out of the UK …

Don’t ask – that’s a whole nutha blog.

Anyway, Khal Drogo was different.

Before The Jason Momoa Audition – Requirements of the Role

He needed to look and feel different than the rest of the main cast, since he was from a distinctly different race and culture (the “Dothraki”).

They searched in the UK to no avail, so we expanded our search…

And I began looking for our Khal Drogo in the US, mainly in Los Angeles, along with searches for Jamie, Cersei & the Lannisters, Catelyn and various other Starks, Danaerys — Queen of the Dragons, and others whose names are hard to pronounce.

They all had their challenges (but that’s also a whole nutha blog).

This role of Khal Drogo had very specific physical criteria. But just as important as his ability to feel like a leader and undefeated warrior who commanded an entire race of warrior-type people, he had to develop a real relationship with the character of Daenerys.

His relationship with her was a catalyst for a huge transformation of Daenerys who would go on to a HUGE storyline in the piece for years to come, as you can no doubt see if you're a fan of the show.

His role, although it only spanned one season was a pivotal one to the entire series.

This was a crucial piece of casting.

The Audition Sides Were Extremely Challenging

There were 3 main reasons that the audition sides for this role were very challenging:

acting tips   PHYSICAL ACTION

There was TONS of activity, physical action and “business” in the audition scene for this role.  This in and of itself is a huge trap for most actors in auditions. I've seen this one thing kill more auditions than I can count because so often actors aren't trained in how to handle this type of thing in an audition.

acting tips  LANGUAGE

So, yeah…there was the language thing.  Khal only spoke in a “made-up language” of “Dothraki”.  The only English word he spoke was “No” about 5 or 6 times through the scene.

So, in this super important audition, with a character that was a HUGE catalyst for the whole series, he had no understandable words to say, even though he did have diaglogue.

acting tips   RANGE

In one of the scenes of the auditions sides — one where he was playing opposite his future wife, this badass, undefeated ‘Dothraki' warrior had to show a kind, tender and loving side as well.  In this audition with practically no words, he had to let us know he was capable of leading an army of warriors into undefeated battle after battle and also show gentle loving-kindness to his love interest in the scene.

Easy, right?

Many robust, buff, musclebound actors walked into my casting session and attempted to be Khal Drogo.

But none succeeded…

Until Jason walked in.

The “Dance” in the Jason Momoa Audition for Game of Thrones

I remember when 6’5” Jason walked in.  Wow.

He had the perfect look for the role.  But, we kept our fingers crossed (because looks are only one small piece of the puzzle).

We did the scene and then he told me he prepared this “warrior dance” (his words) and he wanted to do it for me…which you'll see below in a sec.

What was so powerful was, that although his words asked permission to do this “dance” (which I've since come to know as the HAKA), his energy, his presence just TOLD me he was going to do it.

From what his presence told me, this was not something to say NO to.

And so he did it.

He broke out into this dance

Watch the Jason Momoa audition for Game of Thrones in the video below

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I remember just being kind of blown away.

It was a HUGE risk for him to take.  This was after all, NOT in the script. 

But what he did was take this larger than life character, who had so much to do and BE in this series, a character who was not very verbal at all – and made him speak through his movement.

Every cell in his body became a warrior in that moment.  It was visceral.  He became the Khal right then and there.

When he left, I remember looking at my assistant and the two of us were agog — speechless.

The next thing I did was immediately get on the phone to London and tell them that I think I found our Khal.  I was excited. They were intrigued.  We gave him a callback and brought him back in for the Producers.  And, of course, he got the role.

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5 Lessons For Actors From The Jason Momoa Audition

There are a few key things that I think every actor could learn and apply to your own auditions so, here they are:

1    Take Risks But Be Prepared

What Jason did in his audition was extremely risky.  I’ve seen other actors do similar extreme things in auditions and I’ve seen it go completely the other way…not good.  So, if you’re going to take a risk, just be prepared.  It could be a home run.  It could be a disaster.  Your job is to be sooooo committed that you don’t care which way it goes…Which leads me to….

2   Commit. Commit. Commit.

If you’re going to take the risk that Jason took, then by all means COMMIT to it.  He didn’t just “do” his “warrior dance” in that room, he BECAME a warrior. Every molecule in his body was a part of it. There was no room for doubt. It simply isn’t possible to COMPLETELY BE that role and have doubt at the same time.

3   Nail the Laundry List

Part of the audition that you don’t see online is the dialogue scene where he had nothing but the word NO to say 5 or 6 times. Most actors who read it fell into this common audition trap and missed it completely because they didn’t identify it as a “laundry list”.

When you have a “laundry list” (a list of items in your character’s dialogue in succession), as an actor, you MUST differentiate each item from the others in the list with your very specific choices about them.  In this case, each NO had to mean and be something different than the one before, yet they were all connected seamlessly.

The only way to nail this is to be very specific about your intention and to have absolutely confidence in yourself and total commitment as to what your character ultimately wants in the scene. Each item in the laundry list is a way to get you closer to that ultimate goal.

4   It Wasn't Just ‘The Dance'

It’s vital to understand that it wasn’t the dance alone that got him the role, even though that’s the part of the Jason Momoa audition that’s gone viral.

It was the combination of:

  • Being absolutely physically right for this very physically specific and demanding role
  • Having amazing commitment and tremendous confidence, taking direction beautifully… and THEN …
  • Adding on the unexpected element of filling in the verbal blanks with his powerful dance.

Jason absolutely hit a homerun with all of the other requirements and the dance was the icing on the Dothoraki cake.

This is important.

Focus on this.

Because as much as I want you and every other actor reading these words right now to create and play and take risks, you have to know that sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

5

   What Makes Risk Actually WORK

Taking wild risks like this without the absolute confidence to pull them off is where the “failure” happens.  But when you have the confidence and commitment so firmly in place you don’t even know you’re stepping outside of ordinary into extraordinary, you don’t even care about the outcome.  You just do your thing because there’s no other way you could have done it …or BEEN it.

Choosing the risk when you have all the pieces in place and the confidence to pull it off, that’s where the magic happens.

WRITE THIS DOWN:

Note to self-   Be confident. Take (1)
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Now that you know all that went into casting this role and WHY that “warrior dance” was just one part of a great audition, you can take that, and these 5 lessons and start creating more interesting, rich, complex auditions that can hopefully lead to your breakout role of a lifetime!

Your turn…Have you ever taken a crazy risk in an audition? Did it work? What happened? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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.

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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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86 Responses

  1. David Nathan Schwartz says:

    Wow great just great! Laundry lists are always in Anton Chekov plays which is why they can be so damn moving or so damn BORING!( but great training) I got a call back for a commercial and I was supposed to love ribs( I don’t eat meat btw irony of irony) The director said ” what ever you want to do with it” so I screamed “I LOVE THESE RIBS!” , jumped on the table and started to dance with my “rib”, the table collapsed , I fell to the ground and splayed on the floor said,”mmmmmman thats some good que!” BOOKED IT! ( what happened after was a whole nother ball of wax)

  2. Kay Benjamin says:

    Thank you so much for this. I had an audition that when rehearsing it I cried every time (which the script did not require) Although I got a call back I cried neither time during the audition but did not book…I will always wonder LOL …next!

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      Next indeed Kay! Thanks for sharing.

      • Brad Stine says:

        I had many auditions and never got 1 callback. I began to wonder if I was any good at this, so I told my wife I was going to commit 1 more year to class and auditions and at least be prepared to compete with all the actors doing this daily. SO, I received some sides and it was the 1st time I knew exactly who this character was. I determined then and there I wasn’t going to audition, I was going to go get MY ROLE! I dressed the part and created a little monologue that the moment they asked me in the room I began to go off on a rant like I was the character. I saw the casting director motion to the videographer to start filming and I new I had nailed it. When I finished I sat down , put my feet up and basically dared them to hire someone else! ( Remember, this character had that type of personality) The casting director looked at me and said, ” I guess we don’t have to read do we?” and I said ” Oh, we’re going to read”! ( I wanted them to know I could do their words too:) Anyways, an hour later I got a callback to read the next day for producers at Brillstein and Gray. The moral for me was, I don’t audition, I go in and take my part. Confidence, commitment and risk! I don’t always get booked of course, but I always give them exactly what I believe in w/o excuse.

        • AmyJoBerman says:

          Wow! Ballsy. Love it!

          • Brad Stine says:

            I took this same attitude of commitment to my next taped audition for a HBO co-starring role and developed a character and went for it. I DIDN’T get the job, but the director saw my cold read, said “I like him” and they found a little part for me. My 1st paying job and that my friends, is how I got my SAG card. BTW the director was Bob Raffelson ( 5 easy pieces amongst other films) so a guy that directed Nicholson liked my acting:)

          • AmyJoBerman says:

            That wasn’t “Poodle Springs” was it Brad?

          • Brad Stine says:

            It was indeed!

  3. Linda Watters says:

    I had an audition for an indie project where, well, the subtext was written as dialog. So, rather than do the obvious, I took a chance and auditioned in the style of “Game of Thrones” (righteous indignation, you have offended me, Sir.. I will have my revenge) Oddly enough, I didn’t book the loving housewife role however, the Producer gender-bent the Lead Detective and cast me in the larger role because he loved my energy. ( and then another indie project got lost in the dark grey mists between casting and shooting…sigh…but I take more chances now!)

    • dmeske says:

      That’s awesome! Hey, can you give me some specifics on what you mean in this situation when “the subtext was written as dialogue?”

      • Linda Watters says:

        Sure! Let’s use “Fringe” as an example. In the series Fringe, everyone had a secret and the stakes were highest in the Alternate Universe which was a police state. And audition may be written as.
        #1 – “Hello, great weather today”
        #2 – “Yes, it is”
        #1 -“Nice lawn you have there”
        #2 -“Thanks, I work hard on it”

        Now let’s substitute the sub-text of this scene for dialog:
        #1 – Hello, we’re in the middle of a drought.
        #2 – Yes we are, who are you and why are you talking to me? What do you want?
        #1 – Your lawn is too green, I’m here to investigate and possibly arrest you for violating water rationing.
        #2 – Who reported me? You are scaring the hell out of me right now. Please don’t hurt me or my family, my family is not involved. I think I can outrun you and get away as long as you don’t call for the black helicopters.

        As Actors, we can still layer more sub-text into the second set of dialog, however, the dialog isn’t allowing us a lot of room to do this. We have to go from subtle and understated to Big and Obvious which then changes the nature of characters or goes against what the writer actually intended. The second set of dialog would
        represent a writer who is afraid that his audience or the actor won’t “get” what he is trying to say. As actors, it’s our job to study and know the tone of a show. Casting Directors…Hi Amy!…will often give out audition sides with everything redacted except for the one or two lines of our dialog to see if we can do it. Do we know the show well enough to give the correct read for the tone of the show?

  4. Dana Manno says:

    I truly wish I had seen his dialogue audition. I spent a great deal of time in New Zealand, so I am very familiar with the Maori people and the haka dance he performed. There is such a lack of diversity in most castings, so what he did, though very traditional, was unusual to anyone not familiar with that culture. His was one of my favorite characters in the series. If you have any footage the dialogue portion of his audition, I would love you to post it. The audition tips are great.

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      Ironically, I don’t even have the footage that’s gone viral. I don’t have any of it. That is all the property of HBO and I’m still scratching my head wondering how it got out. Wish I did have it.

      • Linda Watters says:

        I was wondering about that too. I know how diligent CD’s are about guarding the audition footage they are entrusted with.

  5. Rebecca says:

    So juicy delicious! Thank you! Powerful stuff.

  6. Ava Gaudet says:

    You give the most on-point advice!! Loved this blog!
    I had an audition for a guest star recently and made a very *strong* choice with the character. During the audition the casting director stopped abruptly in the middle of the scene and said “I know where you’re going with this, but we still need it to be believable”. Uh oh. So we tried it again and I was sure to tone it down. I ended up booking the role and when I got on set I kept reminding myself “keep it real, keep it real”. Turns out the director liked my quirky/bold take on the role and we ended up getting it back to the version I originally came up with!! Haha … you just never know ;)

  7. Cindy Nguyen says:

    WOW this was a great reminder for my upcoming auditions! I love Jason Momoa in this role & it was great to see a behind the scenes clip of an actor’s commitment and passion! Thanks Amy!

  8. erika says:

    I added a totally random funny improv line at the end of a commercial audition. I thought it was risky because sometimes commercial peeps are SO attached to their copy, but I did it anyway. At the callback, the director was laughing and said ‘that’s great, make a note of that’ to someone who was sitting next to him. I didn’t book it, but they used my line in the final commercial!!!!!! : / That kinda sucked.

  9. Richard Allan Jones says:

    Brilliant choice to do a “warrior” dance. This dance is close what the traditional Maori (New Zealand) warriors did to frighten their opponents (except the Maori do a lot more Gene Simmons’ action with the tongue). Check it out on YouTube.

    Good practice for a laundry list is to take a word like “no” and see how many meanings you can convey without duplicating. Do it with a partner and see if he/she gets the same feeling you are trying to convey. Also some may remember the bit “John & Marsha,” where they just say each others name and go through courtship, love, sex, breakup, and back to love (this is another good acting exercise).

  10. Wes Melton says:

    That was a really ballsy move! I’ve never pulled anything off like that. Did go to an audition for an independent short. No characters fit my type. Took the sides and read for a role written for a female close to my age range. Got the part. The director told me after I read, he couldn’t imagine a woman in the role. Also, one of the others in the room was developing a web series and liked my attitude and energy and offered a small role in an episode of the series. Considering I’m in a small town close to the middle of nowhere, this was huge to me.

  11. johnb33 says:

    I went in for an audition about a year ago. The sides said this is a DEA regional director called an ASAC. It was a comedy piece. By what I looked like and who else they brought in, they were going for “Hank” in Breaking Bad. It was obvious and staring me in the face. I imagined that ever single actor would do their best “Hank” impersonation. I wanted to stand out and offer them other possibilities. So I used a very gruff voice and moved in ways that I thought would show I was a man of authority. I totally bombed by what the casting directors faces told me. They said “um, interesting choice”, but not in a good way. I could tell. I didn’t get a call back, I called my agent and said “I made a choice and committed to it and it was the antithesis of what they were looking for”. She actually encouraged me and said “I like that you didn’t do it like everyone else”. She also said, next time shoot me an email,or call so we can decide when to bring out those tools in your tool bag. Indeed it was a very nice way of saying…nice try, but you blew it, this time. In hind sight, I am glad I had that experience and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It taught me some important lessons.

  12. Victoria Jane Appleton says:

    This is great food for thought. One risk I took in an audition springs to mind – I went for a version of Dracula to be taken to Italy; it was a 4 person show, “prop box” style and they asked for a dynamic / quirky comedy monologue. I chose to do the Drill Sergeant from March in Line by Tara Meddaugh. When I entered the room there was an informal chat that seemed to go well and they then asked for my piece. I asked if they minded me using a prop and they seemed confused/ hesitant but consented. You see it’s a very specific speech (you can read it here http://www.ace-your-audition.com/support-files/stephanie.pdf) and I wanted something that instantly pulled them into the state of the character and the style of comedy. My prop was a 30 cm Nutcracker Soldier which I sat on the edge of the casting directors table and delivered my whole speech to; whole heartedly as if it had sprung to life. Obviously the risk was that they’d peg me as a crazy but I went for it anyway. After I finished they swiftly shook my hand and asked me to send in the next person. Bugger, I thought. I left and then by the time I got to the end of the road I got a call – they offered me the job! I was ecstatic and went on to perform at the Teatro Sala Umberto in Rome to sold out audiences of 485 people a show. I think even if I hadn’t got the job, I wouldn’t have changed the way I approached my audition – I felt prepared and secure in my work as well as happy that I could inject a little of my own creativity into it. For me the thing that helps the most is I know my casting – I have a typically period look and an RP accent so for something like Dracula, I fit the bill and I can do these roles but then so can hundreds of other girls. What makes me different? I grew up with clowns (literally) so if I see quirky, high energy, make it your own, physical comedy actress or anything else along those lines in a casting I go for it.

  13. Mike W. says:

    Whoops! Love the computer that has it’s on mind there!
    Anyway, as I was saying, it should’nt be a great mystery as to WHY we are all talking about this actor’s video performance. It’s interesting the comments made by everyone and how they were affected (including the casting staff) as Jason is a well versed actor with TONS of experience! His on line resume is quite extensive (over 12 years worth) and lengthy. Given he is a native Hawiian should answer as to why that dance was appropiate for him. Throw in that his “rugged good looks” help from being a former model, that he has good representation, management, and the experience from that long resume should take some of the mystery out of WHY he’s one of the “Top 100” known actors out there. Throw in all the above and……..Viola! You have an interesting actor who is fun to watch! Actor’s need to keep in mind (myself included) that it is “many layers” that make actors interesting and thus become successful. This guy really has traveled a “long road” I’m sure. All I’m saying is just because an actor “goes there” should’nt really be a mystery to all of us. Look at the layers and it’s easier to understand. All of us need to remember (as actors) to try and aquire as many layers as possible and then hope that “The Good Luck Gods” are there when it happens! Amy Jo and everyone’s comments are spot on, but look deeper and there’s more there than meets the eye. If you are fortunate enough to have all the above in hand then there should’nt be any surprise as to WHY you succeed or fail! Now….”don’t think, just go there”!

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      I agree that his getting the role was definitely more than the one bold choice….and that was my whole point. Just going for it, without the other parts, the context and the confidence, make it just a lottery-like stab in the dark, which is tricky…to say the least.

  14. classyfunny says:

    Auditions are all about risk and standing out, but still fitting in, something I learned early on. At one audition for Jesus Christ Superstar, where all the girls sang the one and only female ditty “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, I too had chosen this song, just to be different from all the guys. Unfortunately this was the age before the internet and I had completely forgotten the last few lines of the song, which none of the girls had been allowed to sing for all of them had gotten cut off after only a few bars, since there were many girls auditioning then. When it was my turn, the director had already mentioned how nice it would be for a man to sing that song, since it did get the usual eye-rolling reactions every time that yet another girl came up to sing that very over-sung song; even the piano player got tired of it. The director was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was going to sing it, and I thought for sure I would also be cut off before the end, which proved not to be the case for once. Since not knowing the ending lyrics, I got stuck and didn’t know what to do, and thus just sang in tune with the music “. . I want Him so . . I love Him so . . That’s all I know”, to which the entire auditorium burst out laughing, and I also received the only applause that afternoon. Needless to say I got the part of being a Disciple, for a great summer run of a fantastic and unforgettable production.

  15. Fredrik Scheike says:

    Took a risk in a commercial audition where I was supposed to be completely hypnotized and not realize what I was doing. Missing the coffee cup, using my tie to stir my coffee etc. etc. So I took a bite at my cellphone. The casting director laughed, the camera man laughed and they just gave me a note: “Please, don’t eat the cellphone.” I didn’t book it, they went way up in age, but I’m sure they remember me!

  16. Jade Greene says:

    The audition notice said “50’s style go-go dancer”. ??? Didn’t know there were go-go dancers in the 1950’s. Woke up in a wacky mood the morning of auditions, put my long hair in a pony, donned a cardigan, circle skirt and saddle shoes. When I got to the audition, I learned that the “5” was a typo. Should have been a “7”. I was 20 years off-base, but the director had a good laugh, loved my dancing, and hired me !

  17. Shane Walker says:

    I was wondering about this when I saw the audition tape. Thank you so much for this article. Really sheds some light on when to take risks and if so to stay committed. Thanks Amy!

  18. shondale seymour says:

    It was a short film in which I didn’t have much info about my character when I walked into the room. As I confirmed my understanding of the character with the director before we started the audition, I learned I was way off base. So, on the fly, I morphed. I pulled both feet into my chair and sat huddled in a fetal position, rocking back and forth with my hair in my face and myself protected from my invisible monsters. The audition took a strange turn in that about 1/2 way through, the director changed the script and improved some lines. I was listening and went with what my character would say based upon my feelings provided from my physical position. When the audition was over, I felt so excited from the experience because I let myself go and did not worry about booking – how could I prepare for something like that? Any way, I did book the role and the director told me I had the strangest and most intriguing audition and she just felt it was what my character needed.

  19. Brian Kurtis says:

    Thank you so much for this post! The advice is great, and the fact that you were actually in that room is pretty awesome! As a Game of Thrones fan, I hope you’re giving yourself a deserved pat on the back every day for being a part of this, because you should. And for your ‘note to self’, I think it’s something that every actor needs to remind themselves on a daily basis. Or at least I do… But thanks for all the great advice you give and please keep it coming!

    • AmyJoBerman says:

      Will do. It was very special to be a part of this project. I must also give credit to our amazing London CD, Nina Gold, who is a gift to this business and a joy to work with. She has spectacular taste in actors.

  20. David Pevsner says:

    This is fantastic. He IS that guy….no acting going on. That’s the best. My risk story was auditioning years ago for a production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and they needed to hire one more Protean, sort of the Greek Chorus, but they had to be fearless and hilarious. I was at my waiter gig the night before trying trying trying to think of something that would get attention, make them laugh, and let them know that I was ready to jump off any bridge. We used to strip the tables at the end of the night by pulling out the tablecloths first, that great trick that leaves all the dinner accoutrements on the table, untouched…it was just a trick I’d learned for fun. Hmm…so the next day at the audition, i brought a bag of dinnerware, grabbed a table, gave my music to the accompanist…”Tschaikovsky”, that classic Danny Kaye laundry list of Russian Composers sung at breakneck speed…and I proceeded to sing the song while setting the table, and at the very final moment…the button of the song…I yanked the tablecloth out from under, leaving a perfect table setting on the table. They all went “WHOA!”, broke into applause, and boom…that job was mine. It made absolutely no sense, but it was so much fun and I was so proud that I took the chance. Memorable for me, not just because I got that job…it taught me to go with my instincts…and trust.

  21. Elise says:

    Years ago I was lined up in a casting room to dance and audition on camera for the Madonna/Brittany Video “Me Against the Music”. I had just stepped out of acting class, got this last
    Minute audition and literally borrowed a cool shirt off a
    Girls back in class… When I got to the audition and realized we were being put on camera with like 10
    People at once… I turned my hat to the side like Madonna once did and in the middle of the take, I ran up to the front around everyone dancing and I went right up in front of the camera and danced right by the lens so they would notice me and I would stand out for a long 5/10 seconds then went back to the crowd
    And danced with them. Isn’t that what Madonna would have done? I booked it!

  22. Tyrone R. Meyers says:

    I tried that once Amy and it did work. I got the part. But you’ve got to throw all inhabitions to the wind and just do it.What have you got to loose. You can’t loose something you never had. Thanks Amy for sharing that.

  23. Robert Bengtsson says:

    Great post Amy! It’s always inspiring to watch people who do great auditions.

    I was called to an audition for a huge musical production in London a few years ago.. It was for the now award winning Jerry Springer the Opera. It had lots of very aggressive dialogue and weird characters and I really wanted to be a part of it.

    I got the sheet music and the dialogue… learnt it as much as I possibly could, and at the audition they asked if I could ad something funny to it, so I sung the whole thing again, but in my native language, Swedish!

    They loved it, and I got the job. No callback! :D

    It also led to me getting other great jobs through it.

  24. Philip Hughes says:

    Thank you Amy! Soo helpful and inspiring!

  25. Manni says:

    Hi Amy – hope you are well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, always appreciate it, and always on the money! I have an audition tale for you – I had been out of work for months and finally had an interview after meeting a Big UK Director by chance. He called me in on his set to audition while a few big UK Named actors were in between takes on the set of his new film. He took me to the back room and said……. “I want you to imagine that you hate me, that you want to kill me” I said…. ” Do you want me to do it to you?”, He was a short portly man with glasses – He said “yes” so I said “DO YOU WANT ME TO F*****G DO IT TO YOU!” I grabbed him by the color (Intense but not harmful or ripping anything) as he started to mutter, I said “Shut the F***k up you scum bag or I’ll smash your head against the F*****G wall!” I held him for a second then let him go – There was a pause…..an awkward moment ……”Well thank you for coming in” he said, I walked away trying to calculate if I had gone too far. As I was walked away in deep thought, his assistant ran up to me and said “Hi Rob, are you available next week?”.

  26. Alexis Marie West says:

    This was extremely insightfull! It is so helpful and encouraging to have someone sincere to look to for guidance. Yes, I enjoy your blog and that is why I am going to share!

    Thank you and I hope to meet you one day,
    Alexis West

  27. Kari says:

    This was incredibly helpful, as are your other posts. It’s little details like the ones on this list that successful actors should know.
    Thanks for this, Amy!

  28. Brett Bower says:

    Biggest risk I ever took in an audition was choosing to play a role as mentally challenged that was not written or intended that way. The director was surprised, but intrigued. He asked if I could stick around and do a cold read of another scene the same way. After doing that, he said, “Now that I’ve heard you do it, I know it will work.” Was the first SAG job I ever booked.

  29. Barry says:

    Once again you’ve hit it outta the park AmyJo! I haven’t watched the video yet, just wanted to finish-up on your 5 lessons first. Yes, I’ve taken risks and as you’ve said, the ones that I wasn’t fully committed too, or being fully authentic in, failed miserably and left me walking away thinking, “What the hell was I doing!” Thanks again!

  30. john farnworth says:

    I auditioned for a film, thought I blew my audition. So, I waited for the last Actor to come out of the audition room. Knocked on the door and asked if I could do it one more time. I was told ok. I did. Thought I did better.A week later I was called back in to read again. Waited another week and was notified I had the Role. Don’t Ever Give Up if you believe in yourself. Getting into Character, Thats what its all about. (BE)……..

  31. Kashmir says:

    Looking back, one of the contributing factors in getting the role of Romeo for an 8 month stint, may have been because of a similar risk I took in the audition room. Alongside two monologues, we were asked to prepare a Shakespearean sonnet. And on the day of the audition, even though I had #112 prepared, I decided instead to recite a sonnet I had written myself, in the perfect Shakespearean structure, at risk of insulting old William by way of comparison. And maybe, just maybe, the director thought my poem of unrequited love was a fitting parallel of Romeo’s crestfallen pining over Rosalyn in the first act of the play.

  32. Luke Adam Cave says:

    Fantastic article and amazing stuff from the Jason Momoa audition. An incredible actor by the name of Michael Eklund here in my home city of Vancouver, Canada has an audition tape online for the film The Call (which he ended up booking). As he’s situated in Vancouver LA casting must have asked he submit a taped audition and he went ALL IN. The best audition footage I have ever seen, period. It made me realize the level an actor must go to if you truly want to succeed. Here’s a link to the tape. Definitely worth a look. http://vimeo.com/70561492

  33. dmeske says:

    I love this and I love the visual example of “take risk”, “make risky decisions” you hear this a lot as an actor but you don’t always know what they heck they are talking about, now I get it much more fully! Thanks!

  34. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    This was a mind blower. His version of a Polynesian war dance was astounding!! What a perfect “accompaniment to his audition.
    Haven’t risked yet but will do in future auditions.

  35. Great advice and thanks for sharing the dance audition. I love dancing and great to see it used in an audition for a role that required something special. I do like the advice you gave.

  36. Shaun Nac says:

    This is awesome

  37. Mark Vasconcellos says:

    Awesome commitment on the part of Jason and he nailed it. FUN FUN!

  38. ChrisMasters says:

    Thanks for sharing Amy!!

    My favorite audition to date, and it’s infamous around short films in Melbourne, I knew I had the part the moment the directors looked at me, and bowled over laughing…

    It’s for a dark comedy, brief: “Dentist exuding Batman” I rocked up to the studio in full character: power suit exuding Bruce Wayne, black tie, pink shirt (cos I’m a nice guy), facial mask, black make-up around the eyes, slick black hair… In tow is a shoulder-high rolling Philips Zoom Machine for teeth whitening, inside pocket has a handheld Zoom.

    “squeaky squeaky squeaky” I gently rolled the big Zoom to security door. The security guard pensively opens door and asks, “Uhh… Can I help you?”

    Now I never imitated Batman when the Dark Knight trilogy came out, but I knew I could nail it.

    “I’M HERE FOR THE AUDITION” in my Batman/Vigilante Dentist voice.

    Guard smiles and lets me enter. I pace like a billionaire play boy, called the director, said “STEFAN…” I hear laughter. “I’M DOWNSTAIRS.”

    And when they came to fetch me, the previous auditionee escalated down first and dropped his jaw. “He came full character??” This actor landed the part of Constable Gordon. The two directors then saw me and bowled over laughing.

    On the elevator up, the co-director is giddy and asked, “…So, are you a real dentist?”

    I stare into his soul. “I AM ‘THE’ DENTIST”

    The short film was their first, and went on to win 5 festival awards in Australia to date, including Best Film, 2 Best Dramas (ironically), and 2 Best Actors.

    Link to film below:
    https://vimeo.com/105513007

  39. I am not normally an actress but a friend called me late one night and asked me if I could pretend to give birth for a student film she was in because the director forgot to cast a pregnant lady. I said yes, why not. So I went along and normally acting makes me nervous but this day I felt like it was natural and I figured it’s a student film so unless I sucked at it, it wouldn’t matter. I felt so great doing it that I scared the students in the next room with my birthing screams….lol I seemed to go into a zone where I was really having a baby (well what I thought it would be like). My friend was so impressed and now I really want to see it on film! We laughed for days about how real it seemed because she has had a baby and she was surprised I did it so good. When you stop thinking and just be the role it become so enjoyable and your best performances come out!

  40. Rasika Mathur says:

    Loved this. I have watched that audition often and thought about how I could bring such commitment in the room. I have long suffered not being able to translate the brilliance on a stage to a room. Your comments have been extremely helpful for knowing where to focus and where to let go. Thank you, Rasika Mathur

  41. Izzy Pollak says:

    The two features that I’ve booked have been the result of improv in the audition room. As you said this is a huge risk but has paid off tremendously for me. Thank you for the wonderful article!

  42. Steve McCarten says:

    Hi Amy, always love hearing your YT vids and your blog is just superb. This is an excellent article and a great help. Thanks.

  43. T.J.R. says:

    This story is SO inspiring.

    The risk I took was not only a potential risk for the casting team, but also an in-ward risk because it was something I had Never done before.

    I was auditioning for the musical In The Heights at a local community theater. The part I WANTED was ‘Daniela’. For months I listened to her songs and read about her character. I searched and read blogs and forums about the best auditioning music to use. There were TONS of lists on which songs to NOT sing. Also, because I am a mezzo-soprano, there weren’t very many songs in that range that weren’t on the DO NOT sing list. (Bummer)

    Until one day, I found a song that fit the audition request of “uptempo, contemporary and comedic” (Which was super hard to find for a mezzo). The song was called, “Too Pretty” by Katie Thompson from an underground musical that very …. very few people knew about. My vocal coach didn’t even know what song or show I was talking about. None of my musical theater friends new either. I talked to my vocal coach about it and she said the song was perfect for the audition, but because it wasn’t a familiar song,

    1. the accompanist may not know it well enough to play, 2. because it was super different, I could potentially lose my audience (the casting team), 3. I had to be CERTAIN I not only could sing this song, but could add the comedic flare the lyrics called for.

    I had never done anything like this before and debated if I should just chose an old regular from the musical theater list.

    Instead, I worked my tail off to be so comfortable with this audition song that I could sing it and act it in my sleep. I was determined to make this work because I believed it was a perfect Fit!

    So, I went in, wearing what I felt ‘Daniela’ would wear (which I’ve been told is also kind of risky to do), sheet music in hand and gave it to the pianist.

    Thankfully, he was very familiar with the song, which gave me even more confidence. So, I sang. I gave comedic flare. Told my story of being “Too Pretty”. And, I made them laugh.

    Result: I was casted to play Daniela in ‘In The Heights’, which was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.

  44. Adam Butcher says:

    I’ve worked twice with Jason on “Wolves” and “Debug”.
    The depth of his talent is incredible
    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. :)

  45. John J Guy says:

    A lovely piece…

    …Worth the time to read it!

  46. Chris Humphrey says:

    Amy thank you for sharing your insight. These are the jewels that I have been looking for.

  47. Ginny Cipolla says:

    It was fascinating watching this clip. Jason definitely was committed, in control and taking risks and it was very cool to watch. Thanks!

  48. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    I “channeled” Rose from the Golden Girls (Rue McClanahan) & nailed a part. LOL

  49. Aixa Cruz says:

    Hi, Amy this is Aixa cruz. Sorry for the delay, I’ve been so busy lately. But yes I get to read the article it was very informative. I like it and I learned.

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