Acting Audition Tips: John Marshall Jones’s Acting Audition Tip of the Week

In one week it will officially be summer. This is when the audition and casting industry usually goes into hibernation and takes the rest of the acting auditioning world with it. Casting directors and talent agents go on vacation to wind down from a hectic audition season and try to recharge before TV season starts up again in August. All of Hollywood just goes on vacation. This is the time where an actor can relax or use this opportunity to get busy.

Personally, my acting advice is that I don’t believe a working actor can ever afford to relax. Even though Will Smith, Tom Cruise, don’t go on acting auditions they rarely take time off to relax. They’re always ramping up for the next project. What that tells me is there is no point in your acting career where you can just kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labors. That’s called retirement and we ain’t there yet baby!

My theory is ‘it’s impossible to add to something everyday and end up with nothing’. So far it’s worked out pretty well. I simply refuse to let a day go by where I don’t do something to add value to my acting career. It may be something really simple like auditing online acting classes or reading up on acting advise from successful actors in the biz. No matter how well you’re doing you can never know too much. Exactly what I’m doing isn’t nearly as important as the fact that I’m doing something, so in my mind and heart my dream of being a successful actor stays alive for another day. I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. I believe it and that’s what counts.

Imagine your dream right now. What could you be doing today to make sure that it knows you still believe in it? Signing up for summer acting classes? Writing your own personal monologue to use in your acting auditions? No matter how small, you are taking ACTION. That action may not turn into exactly what you want it to, but will never turn into nothing. I can guarantee you that. Summer is a great time to start planning a fall acting project or researching what films or tv shows or plays will be going into production, who’s casting and how you can get in to audition. It’s a great time to re-establish relationships that may benefit you by turning into acting auditions in the future. Making a few phone calls or making it out to some industry networking events can be fun and can put you in the flow of information about upcoming acting audition opportunities. Whatever it is you choose to do, while everyone else is relaxing, get busy! The rest of your career starts right now.

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Lebron’s Shot heard round the world

Everyone who watched the post game press conference heard it. It even took me a little by surprise. It seemed like he was saying, “Go back to your miserable little lives, I’m still LeBron and you’re not!”. I’ve read it over and over again to make sure that I didn’t miss something but then I remembered what I felt when I heard him speak and that’s what it felt like. It actually felt like he pulled it back just a bit. He spoke about everyone having their personal problems and inferred that once the haters are no longer getting joy out of his pain that they’ll have to return to the problems of their own lives. My question is, “what’s so wrong with that?”

Why are we so inflamed about wanting to see someone else NOT achieve their goals and dreams? And what does that say about the amount of energy and focus we’re putting into achieving our own. I don’t know LeBron personally but I do know three things for sure.

1) He was gifted with an enormous amount of God given athletic ability.
2) He has put in an extraordinary amount of work to get to where he is.
3) Like all of us, the young man still has work to do mentally, spiritually and emotionally to reach and experience his true potential. (Working on a pull up jumper and a post game wouldn’t hurt either)

What can we take away from this firestorm he’s created for himself? It seems to me that the more energy I put into other people living their dreams the less I have for my own. It also seems that the more time I spend rooting against someone else the more it feels like I’m rooting against myself. Why not take that energy and put it into your own hopes and dreams? Why not take that time and really think about where you want your life to go, make a plan of how to get there, then put every ounce of your being into executing your plan? That’s really what LeBron is saying after all. No athlete should become a substitute for our own dreams. We don’t have to find our fulfillment through someone else’s success or failure. Why not follow LeBron’s example and discover our innate god given abilities, work as hard as we can to express those to the fullest and speak truth in the face of adversity?

Public humiliation is hard to swallow and LeBron just received his with two scoops.Did he handle it gracefully, no. Did any of us handle things gracefully in our 20’s? Of course not. Personally, I was a fool till I turned 40. I just didn’t know it. I don’t mind that he’s not contrite. I don’t expect it. He didn’t get to where he is by backing down from a challenge. I am also not going to invest any of my God given creative energies into hoping for his further public humiliation. He got his. Maybe it’s time for us to focus in and go get ours too.

NBA Finals and auditioning

Well the NBA finals are over. I want to say congratulations to all the Dallas fans. The Mavs were amazing and Miami was, well, disappointing. Even the most talented people can fall short in the big moment. So much goes into being great in the moment. It’s easy to fall short if you’re not properly prepared. It’s also possible to be great, even if you aren’t the most talented. With proper preparation and focused intent anyone can find the greatness within them. It’s a lesson that I’ve encountered over and over again in life.

Acting and auditioning are performance arts just like athletics. I find myself constantly looking for how to prepare myself better for the moment. It always comes back to one thing, FOCUS. If I can get myself focused and get prepared, then I know for certain that I will be on top of my game when I get to the audition.

The audition is like the elimination game of the NBA Finals. You know someone is coming with their A game and if it’s not you, you’ll be going home. What we don’t see is how much preparation goes into getting to the finals. How many nights are spent in the gym alone when everyone else is out having a good time. How much attention to detail is put in to doing the smallest things right. How much energy goes into staying focused even when things aren’t going your way and knowing and believing that you will reach your goals. That kind of accomplishment takes years and incredible fortitude against seemingly insurmountable odds. Yet people, who are clearly not the most talented, achieve an elite level of success all the time. Each of us has that kind of intestinal fortitude within us. We just have to call on it and be willing to make the sacrifices that will get us there.

Working on The Troop

I feel really privledged to be working on The Troop for Nickelodeon. It’s crazy but the strangest part about it is that everybody is so nice. I’ve been in television in Hollywood for 20 years and even when there are nice people there, which is often, it’s not what I would call a nice environment to work in. It’s a big corporate colossus where people scurry about in fear for their jobs, or their status or something. It’s always something. But on The Troop (Nickelodeon) it’s exactly the opposite.

In our first week of work, a couple of execs flew in from L.A. to give us an orientation. Now I’ve seen this before. It’s usually a fear filled warning about what will happen if you do this or that and it always leaves you feeling like they are the enemy. This couldn’t have been more different. Maybe it’s because they primarily work with kids and kids need a different kind of guidance. This orientation was about becoming part of the Nickelodeon family, who to call if we had questions, what were the things we should look out for to protect ourselves while in the media spotlight. I was floored. Frankly, after that meeting I felt inspired. I’ve never been on a television show where the network made an effort to make the actors feel like an important part of the team. All I wanted to do after that was get to work. If this is any indication of what Nickelodeon plans to do with The Troop then I can’t wait until we premiere in October.

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
Bob Thornton. SERIES REGULAR.

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.

JJ,

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.

Adrian

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
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