There is no question that the majority of people wish to avoid a state of conflict and drama. It can lead to fear, anxiety, as well as chaos. Conflict during an acting audition, however, is completely essential if you wish to impress your auditors and obtain the role. In order to have a good audition, it is necessary for an actor to find the conflict within a story and within a character.
Perhaps one of the most common conflicts, internal conflicts are those that consist of the psyche battling between opposing desires and feelings. External conflicts can also permeate a person’s life in the form of struggles between man and God, fate, the world, and Mother Nature. And, of course, relational conflicts exist as well. Typically, an actor is only given the dialogue, a brief outline of the character’s personality, and a story overview when they are asked to read. Some form of conflict always exists in a story and personality. The actor has the responsibility of finding the conflict and demonstrating it’s effects in their audition reading.
Conflict is always interesting. Instability in a character or story adds depth and movement. After you have gotten a handle on the personality of the character, there are naturally going to be difficulties and obstacles that that character must face. That is the way life is. All obstacles in our lives must be manipulated or overcome until they cease being hurdles and become collaborators. Think about the movie, “Midnight Run”. Robert De Niro plays a bounty hunter who is responsible for the capture of Charles Grodin’s character. Jack, played by De Niro, needs to collect his bounty by bringing in Mardukas, played by Grodin. He experiences many conflicts in his quest including other bounty hunters, FBI agents, his insecurities, as well as Mardukas himself.
All of the answers may not be provided to you in the material provided to you at the audition. Improve your acting audition by using the dialogue and the clues therein to create a character full of depth and truth. Doing so will hold the attention of the auditor and make you more likely to obtain the role. Far worse than creating the “wrong” conflict is delivering a performance without any emotion and depth. 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. If you are looking to make a good impression on the auditor, ensure that you portray this in your reading. Despite what many actors believe, the most important thing is creating a character not merely the lines in the script.
Even though a scene may only contain your character, there is no doubt that other circumstances and persons have and continue to impact his or her life. Being able to bring these hidden elements to life is what will separate you from the other actors and make your audition a success. 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. With both conflict and comedy combined, your reading is sure to be a success.
Kirk Baltz has been a acting coach for more than 15 years. Kirk helps actors of all levels get the roles that they desire. You can read more about improve acting auditions at the actor’s intensive website.