7 Days to a Great Audition

Day 1

Build your skills

“In today’s contracting domestic labor market there is a vast difference
between skilled and unskilled labor.”

What’s going on in our business today? There seems to be more product
filling the airwaves and yet there’s less work available. The explanation is
two fold:

Pressure is being applied from the “top” down. As movie stars command higher
salaries productions are under pressure to contain costs so “second tier”
movie stars are asked to take a paycut. In order to avoid taking the cut in
salary second tier movie stars are moving to television, commanding larger
salaries there. Established series regular television actors are then forced
to take guest starring roles. Guest stars become day players. All these
actors mentioned are highly skilled labor. In spite of market forces they
will continue to work albeit for less money because as “top down” economic
pressures push downward on the labor market competition becomes much more
intense for the remaining jobs.

Pressure is also being applied from the “bottom” up. The advent of reality
shows has created a very large pool of unskilled labor. The contestants are
enormously underpaid (if at all) but are happy just to be on television.
They develop no equity in their work and so they are replaced by new minimum
wage laborers as soon as the season ends. They have no union, receive no
benefits so the cost to producers is minimal. This dynamic allows the
networks to maximize profits with a largely inferior product. It also drives
down the cost of skilled labor (actors on television shows) because their
unskilled competition for the entertainment dollar is busily establishing
new lows for the cost of entertainment labor.

Market forces are simultaneously pushing down from the top and up from the
bottom. In short, the actor is being squeezed. Competiton is at an all time
high. The world’s toughest business just got tougher.

What can you do about it? You can complain to your agent. Good luck. They’re
feeling the pinch just like you. You can try to latch on to a reality show.
Lot’s of longevity there. Hey, Survivor has been a top rated reality show
for years! What’s the cast of season two doing now? Do you even remember
their faces let alone their names?

The answer to your dillemna: Build your skills! To compete in this ultra
competitive market you have to be at your best in every audition. Your skill
level has to be high enough to break thru the market forces trying to
smother your career.

So what are the minimum basic skills you need to compete in this
marketplace? At John Marshall Jones presents Mastering the Audition we teach
that there are four basic minimum skills in acting:

Reading – you must be able to find all the hidden information that is buried
between the lines of the text.

Listening – you must be able to hear and be physically affected by the other
actors intent.

Vocalization – you must be able to use tone, pitch and diction to defind
your characters.

Thinking – you must develop ability to stay focused on your dream despite
the negative influences that will surround you as you work diligently to
achieve it.

We live and work in an information society. At John Marshall Jones presents
Mastering the Audition we are committed to providing you with superior
information to help you to achieve superior results. So start building those
skills and make your next audition your best one!

John Marshall Jones

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Comments (1)  

The Troop

If you’ve been reading my newsletter you probably know that I was honored to have won the 2007 Audelco Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Production when I was in New York in November. What you may not know is that while I was there, I booked a pilot for Nickelodeon network, The Troop. Essentially it’s “Men in Black at a suburban high school” Today, I’ll share with you how I used the Mastering The Audition Actor’s Training Series to help me do it

Going to New York is always exciting so I decided to book a few extra days just in case something good came up. Sure enough, my manager called about a possible audition and wanted to know if I was available to go in. It never fails, as long as you keep busy people will want you because you exude a sense of personal power. I said “Sure”, downloaded the material and began to prepare.

The following contains meeting information for:

The Troop
Client: John Marshall Jones
Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Time: 3:30 PM
Status: Gave to Actor
Role: Randall Stockley
32 – 50, MALE, ANY ETHNICITY. Mysterious and
unpredictable, he has a warm smile that can be shut off in an instant. An enigmatic leader of The Troop, he is an ally to the kids except for those brief moments when one’s not quite sure.

Prototypes: Tommy Lee Jones, Billy

Material: Emailed
Appt With: Jill Greenberg Sands, Casting Nyc
Read For: CD on Tape
Location: Jill Greenberg
1515 Broadway, 38th Fl
New York City

Every casting person I’ve interviewed says two things make a great audition; preparation and confidence. I wasn’t going to be short on either.By now, I’m so familiar with the principles in the book that I do them automatically but here’s the basic idea

1. I read the material thoroughly.

2. I determined how long I needed to prepare to master the material.

3.I chose a relevant personal relationship to overlay onto the reader.

4. I dissected the scene into beats and dissected the beats into moments.

5. I called a friend to read with me so I could hear the material several times before I went in.

I do this ritual for EVERY audition. It fills me with confidence to know I’m totally prepared.

Tommy Lee Jones and Billy Bob Thornton? What do they have in common? Dry, deadpan delivery of very funny material. They choose to underplay the moments. They are the consummate straight men. What makes a great straight man? Timing. Knowing how to set up the joke. At Second City, we called it “feeding the scene”. This told me what style they wanted the material delivered in…so I gave it to them.

The following contains meeting information for:

The Troop

Client: John Marshall Jones
Date: Monday, November 26, 2007
Time: 2:00 PM
Status: Call Back
Role: Randall Stockley

Note: This is a call back with producers but will also be the
equivalent of a STUDIO TEST.

During the callback they really didn’t give me any new direction but that didn’t mean I could relax on my preparation. I tried to develop a deeper understanding of the character. I always look for one small element to add to the performance so that it’s just a little different than the last audition.

When I arrived, I signed in then separated myself from the other actors so I could have some room to just relax and focus. No chit chatting with the competition. We were signing contracts this day. I had enough to distract me. I was sharp when I got in the room. My extra preparation served me well.


As discussed with Bobby, here is the extension agreement for “The Troop.” Please sign and fax or e-mail back.

We already had a W-9 on file for you, so we do not need a new one. Thanks.


I can only say to you that the Mastering The Audition System works. It’s the most affordable way I know to give yourself an edge over your competition. Click the button below to hear our podcast! (itunes compatible)

This system will give you the tools you need to create a ritual of preparation. As you practice the ritual, you become more comfortable, focused, and CONFIDENT with each call back.

How good could you be if you were fully comfortable, focused and confident for every call back?

Would you work more if you did your best call back every time?

That’s what the Mastering The Audition Actor’s Training Series is designed to help you create. Put the CD in your car and you’ll turn travel time into training sessions. Download it to your iPod and while other actors at the audition are chatting off nervous energy, you can be listening to your
personal audition coach get you focused and ready to be your very best when you go in the room.

Finally, because it’s used for career training it’s also 100% tax deductible. There is absolutely NO RISK. The IRS guarantees you this deduction!

Click here to get started

Audition Log

Subject: Appointment for: John Marshall Jones – The Sarah Connor Chronicles
>The following contains meeting information for: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
>Client: John Marshall Jones
>Date: Monday, August 6, 2007
>Time: 4:00 PM
>Status: Gave to Manager
>Role: Roger Devyn
> Male, African-American, late 30s – 40s. Extremely
>intelligent computer programmer with an inherent warmth. Father and
>His work is his life…

August 6th, 2007

I got off the plane from the National Black Theater Festival at 1pm. The audition was at 4pm and it was a long way from my house. Between retrieving my baggage and getting home I knew there wouldn’t be time to study before the audition. So I got home, showered and got to the audition as early as I could so I would have as much time as possible to prepare.

I had to make some quick decisions. When you’re in this situation you have to find something real to lock into right away. I broke the scene down so I could identify the emotional changes then I looked for ways to personalize the relationships. The scene was about a man writing a final letter to his children before he died. So I thought, ” if I had ten minutes to say my final words to my own son, what would I say from the bottom of my heart?”

In my mind I began to write that letter to my son. Almost immediately, all of the real emotion began to come out. When I went in the room to audition, I could hardly contain my tears. The emotion was raw, and honest, and everyone in the room felt it. That’s the sweet spot of the audition. When you know they feel it too.

What I just described is one way I use the techniques in the Mastering The Audition Actor’s Training System to help me do my best auditions. If you’d like to start getting more control over your auditions then you have to develop the skills that will allow you to make these kinds of decisions and execute under pressure.

It’s your career. Let’s get it started. Come learn a master’s secrets, click here.

Published in: on October 14, 2007 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,