If your usual self tape audition place isn’t bringing the absolute best out of you than your throwing your money away! First off you should look like an absolute star. If the studio offers not only topnotch cameras, lights and sound but also an operator that is skilled and artistic than your in great hands. Next…the sixty-four thousand question…who is you READER. Yes, just any ol’ person that has a drop of playfulness in them can sit there and robotically respond to you with the words written on the page. OR…as long as your paying your hard earned money for another rare opportunity to be seen and to book a role which is all part of your dream…Choose a self tape studio like SelfTapeService.com and spend this time working with veteran actor’s like Steve Richard Harris
From the moment we wake to the moment we sleep, we are actors. A rare breed of humans, that derives sincere joy from telling stories to others. Storytelling has been a tradition of every culture throughout the history of mankind. Along with music, dance, and drawing, acting out stories has been a means of communicating emotions and situations tirelessly throughout the ages. The very first actors were cavemen. Upon returning from their hunts, they would act out stories of their kills to the awaiting families. Costumes and props were used to add realism as well as entertainment value. Now, telling stories has become one of the biggest industries in the world as it continues to bring people together century after century in every corner of the globe.
SelfTapeService.com is Santa Monica’s premiere self tape studio on the Westside of Los Angeles where actors can have their auditions taped and uploaded in a relaxed, creative environment. The recommended self tape studio by casting directors, agents, and managers. Book with Steve Richard Harris today and nail your next audition!
Time and time again I hear that confidence is most of the battle. Of course the only way to gain confidence is by doing something tirelessly until one day you begin to simply embody confidence. The first time it came up for me was back in my early twenties after several years of honing my craft. I was running some lines for an audition with an actor named Esai Morales. He said to me, “Steve, for you the only thing is confidence.” I knew immediately what he meant. I always recognized confidence in other actors and felt their energy to be somewhat magnetic. They seemed to shine for some reason. I remember many years ago, sitting in casting offices with guys like Skeet Ulrich, Matt Lablanc and James Marsden to name a few. I was always fascinated by their quiet, calm confidence. I wanted so badly to be in the audition room to witness what it was that made the casting director give them the green light. What was so damn special about these actors? Among other things, confidence is what sold them. There’s an actor I’ve known for many years that always got all these great parts. I asked a mutual friend of ours why this guy, with just a drop of talent, was so successful. His reply was, “He has great meetings; he’s confident”. Some people are born with it and some of us develop it. Either way, if we’re not confident in that audition room, forget about it. No one wants a lack of confidence on a set. Therefore, it is vital for an actor’s development to get in front of people as often as possible. That’s how we learn to master the ability to have a personal experience in public, with confidence. Stay in class!
Steve Richard Harris
“Relaxation is probably the most important thing acting requires. How can we become still, if we don’t know how to relax? Only when you are relaxed and completely still on the inside can you truly hear what someone else is saying. The director of the movie Grease, Randal Kleiser once told me about something great actors do immediately before “action” is called to start a scene. They “go to zero”. With all the distractions and pressures of a major studio production, they just drop into the center of their beings and become completely relaxed. From that quiet place emerge all the images and choices and everything else they’ve worked on at home.
What’s the first thing we do when we want to relax? Breathe! If your breathing is tense your acting will be tense. Without breath there is no life. So if you’re not relaxed and your breathing is cut off or obstructed, the very life you are trying to infuse into a scene will be “lifeless”. It will lack the truth that’s needed in order for the audience to be captivated and moved. Not to mention, if your breathing isn’t relaxed and your director wants tears, forget it. How many buckets of tears have rolled down our cheeks rehearsing a scene at home or in the car on the way to an audition? Why are we so brilliant then? Because we’re relaxed and taking our time feeding on images then boom, the release. However, when we get into that audition room, our nerves take over and we wind up chasing an emotional result instead. That’s when actors over act because even the greatest imagination and choices won’t affect an actor who isn’t relaxed.”
The phone rings, the email pops in. It’s your agent! You have to pull a self tape together… Don’t wait for an audition to suddenly be a great actor. Gear your daily life towards evolving your artist. It’s not just about being in an acting class. There are so many ways to stay creative…
Suggested Actors Daily Activities
Stay present throughout the day
Be aware of your breathing
Play an instrument
Listen to music
Write a short or long story/poem/song
Read a book
Read a play
Muscle memory (memorize anything)
Go to a museum
Play a sport
Take interesting pictures
Shoot a short movie
Do a monologue
Tell a story/joke
Acting or improvisation class
Audition for anything (even if you wouldn’t take the job)
Look for castings
Act like a child/animal (in private)
Imagine yourself as a different person/different life
Imagine a death in your life
Contemplate the universe
Clean your house and clutter
Express your love to someone important to you
Structure your day to support your craft
Make goals and a plan of execution
It took me eighteen years in New York to learn how to act. So far it has taken me ten years in LA to learn how not to act. What does that mean, “to not act?” One of my teachers, Elizabeth Payne, always reminded actors, “We’re not doing a scene, we’re having a conversation!” It actually takes years to simply listen and talk. It is the job of an actor to turn meaningless words on a page into an organic communication between two strangers. As a French king once said, the job of an artist is to,” …make the difficult easy, the easy natural and the natural beautiful.”
Some actors are fortunate enough to have opportunities to develop their craft on set. The luxury of having a director and a camera to constantly demand simplicity from the actor’s performance is the perfect scenario, in more ways than one. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case, so the actors must continue developing through their own self-motivation.
Not just another reader…Steve Richard Harris will be there for you.
I would certainly suggest that if one’s desire is to become a better actor, for lack of a better word, then understand that the imagination is a muscle that must be developed. The more developed it is, the more emotionally accessible the actor becomes. The more accessible, the fuller the expression. This is the best way to support the other very important tool that we use as actors: choice making. We can make instant, effective, and organic choices that are playable and fun that keep us cocooned in any scene moment to moment. Where do our choices spring from? The imagination is the starting point for everything.
I’ve come to realize that as a young actor I was wishing for a dream. I was naive in thinking that I was going to be a movie star, when I barely took the time each day to nourish that potential. I became so consumed with making it that I completely lost any concept of the reality of what my life will most likely end up like. With most career choices we do have a general idea of how our life will be. I once read an article on the most stressful jobs. Here’s the list in order: firefighter, enlisted military, military general, airline pilot, police officer, actor, broadcaster and so on. Young actors could never imagine that this great, exciting endeavor they’re embarking on, would actually turn out to be one of the most stressful careers out there. The reason being, most actors are more attached to the idea of a big career than with the development of their work. We need to really own the lesson of focusing on the approach not the results. Focused on our work, we need to replace habits and routines that keep us from being creative on a daily basis. The great Anthony Hopkins speaking to a room full of acting students said he memorizes at least one sonnet a week as a way to stay connected. Find your passion everyday and rekindle it again and again and again! I recently heard that Meryl Streep learned the guitar for an upcoming film. Many of us can strum a few songs and we know the time commitment it takes to be able to do so. At this stage of her career, what compels her to take on, of all the hundreds of scripts offered to her every year, a role that requires a guitar player? I’ll answer with my favorite Bob Dylan quote, “He who is not busy being born is busy dying”. Streep’s greatness lies in her curiosity to grow beyond what she already knows.
There’s nothing worse for an actor than to leave a casting office feeling lousy. Either your nerves got to you or you just couldn’t get comfortable dropping into the scene and your character. Lack of preparation is usually the reason. It’s no longer a one shot deal. Stop complaining about self taping your auditions. These are amazing opportunities to get it right with as many takes as you need…no pressure, yay!!!