Conflict is a state which most people find unpleasant and wish to avoid. It can lead to fear, anxiety, as well as chaos. However, during an acting audition, conflict is essential to delivering an impressive reading. Every story and character has an inner conflict that an actor must find in order to have a successful audition and performance.
The majority of persons and characters have internal conflicts between desires and feelings. There are also external conflicts that a person takes on with the environment, fate, God, and the world. Relational conflicts are yet another form of personal conflict that are in present in almost every person and, therefore, character’s life. Before an audition, the actor is only provided with basic information about the character and the story. Conflict always exists in a story, whether on the surface or hidden beneath a complicated exterior. It is the actor’s job to find the hidden conflict and give it life in their audition.
Conflict is always interesting. Instability in a character or story adds depth and movement. After you have determined the personality, desires, and needs of the character, there is no question that obstacles will arise. That is the way life is. All lives have hurdles which must be shaped and worked with until they cease to be difficult obstacles and become helpful participants. Think about the movie, “Midnight Run”. Charles Grodin plays a white collar criminal who is being sought by the bounty hunter played by Robert De Niro. Jack, played by De Niro, needs to collect his bounty by bringing in Mardukas, played by Grodin. Jack is met with a number of conflicts including his personal insecurities, rival bounty hunters, and the infamous Mardukas.
All of the answers may not be provided to you in the material provided to you at the audition. To strengthen your acting audition, you may need to create a character yourself, one that has conflicting desires and needs. In this way, you will be more likely to grab onto and hold the auditor’s attention and make the performance more real for the viewer. There is nothing worse than performing a one-dimensional reading of a character with no emotion and conflict. With these skills, your auditioning skills are sure to improve.
Keep in mind that conflict typically has more than one dimension. The typical person has numerous inner demons that are in constant turmoil. Using this to your advantage during an audition will make for an exciting reading. Creating a character’s personality is far more important than the lines that are being read.
Although your character may be the only live person in the scene, there are doubtless other hidden forces affecting his or her life. To have a successful reading, you as an actor must know how to draw these emotions and circumstances out of the text and take the character to the next level. Another thing to remember about conflict. Conflict should always be slightly comedic. Comedy is present even when the conflict is dark and deep-rooted. Neglecting to add comedy will make the reading unwatchable. In short, conflict and comedy are both an integral part of a successful and impressive reading.
Kirk Baltz has been a acting coach in los angeles for more than 15 years. Kirk helps actors of all levels get the roles that they desire. You can read more about acting auditions at the actor’s intensive website.