C.A.S.T. – Where Classical Theatre Training Meets Film and Television
Chameleon Audition Survival Training approaches every scene in every Audition like it’s a short play. Each scene in Film/TV has a moment before, stasis, an inciting incident, a character arc, beat changes, emotional transformation, a climax and denouement, and a moment after as a new stasis is reached. It may even have an actor’s entrance and exit. And although there is a little bit of room to move, the scene will be played basically on a mark, and in a medium shot. The audition is the only time we will ever get to perform our short play to an audience, so we must rehearse it as respectfully and as thoroughly as we would rehearse a longer play, and in order to do that we need to develop a meticulous eye for detail and the ability to create quickly and efficiently. The audition scene is usually only a few minutes long, perhaps only a line or two, but there is still the opportunity to create a short, complete play out of every one. When you can perform the play well and keep your choices camera and Audition friendly, always making sure that your technique and your acting skills are blended seamlessly, when you are ready to bring down the house like it’s your 50th show, you are ready to Audition. Once you book the job you can deal with preparing for set, which is just as arduous and absolutely, completely different.
The art of acting on set and the art of Auditioning are two drastically different animals.
On set, you will have a real machine gun. The girl or guy will really be in your arms, the kiss will be real and will feel real so your reaction to it will be natural and effortless, the slap will be real too so prepare yourself, the food will be real, you will walk and talk and be on location out in the real world or in a real office or on a soundstage with a realistic and professionally lit set, you will be wearing a real costume, if there are four other characters in the scene then there will be four other actors to talk to, you will shoot the scene in short chunks from different angles over and over and hardly ever play it from start to finish in its entirety, you will really be looking out a window at the cityscape, you will really be lying on the ground or in a car or in a meat freezer or at the edge of a building. There is much less pretending, must more truthful human behaviour.
In the audition room, none of these things will be there. You will be on a mark in the middle of an empty space, and the only props available to you will be your sides and whatever you choose to bring in with you. And don’t bring in your machine gun, or even a knife. There won’t be food except occasionally at a commercial Audition (and if there is C.A.S.T. suggests you don’t put it in your mouth before talking), there won’t be a believable environment, there won’t be furniture except perhaps a single folding bridge chair, and there won’t be four other actors, only the audition reader who will stand near the camera and read all the other characters’ lines. You are going to come into the room, say hello, slate, then do your scene one time on camera from start to finish, perhaps get a redirection and another chance to play the scene but probably not, and then it’s thank you very much have a great day. You will usually be in the room for about a minute and a half, unless the length of the scene stretches it to two or three minutes. Yes, it’s a lot of work to put into something that is only two or three minutes long and will probably never be seen again, but if you are an actor who takes his art and his career seriously and if you intend to Survive, you’ll understand that what I’m suggesting is really the bare minimum. The goal is to be the one left standing, and you can increase your chances of that by training harder than anyone else, by working harder than anyone else, by being more prepared than anyone else, and by having more information, more knowledge, more understanding of the Audition process and how to make it work for you than anyone else. Mastering the art of auditioning, and understanding that it requires a completely separate set of skills than acting on set, will help you to Survive as a working actor.
Any professional actor will tell you that auditioning well is far more difficult than acting well on set. One of the main reasons is the speed at which we have to work. Once we book the job we will have a few days, a week, maybe even longer to prepare ourselves, but when we Audition for the role, we generally only find out in the late afternoon that we have the Audition the next day. It is stressful and difficult to accomplish what needs to be done in such little time, yet we have to develop the ability to pull it off in a few hours, day after day, if we want to Survive. Also, Auditioning requires more imagination work, more need for the actor to create the reality for the viewer by reacting to things that he pretends to see. On set all you have to do under most circumstances is to perform simple, mundane, normal actions and let the camera record your truthful human behaviour. Auditioning is also more difficult because we do not shoot the scene in sections like we do on the day, we shoot the scene from the moment before it starts until the moment after it is over, and whatever you create, your play, is what They are going to see.
At the core of C.A.S.T. is the belief that if you can act in the audition room then you can obviously act for the camera, and getting you ready to act on set will be no big deal. Not that preparing for set isn’t different, and doesn’t require just as much preparation and attention, more so in fact because you will be playing all the scenes your character is in and not just the one or two you auditioned, that means group shots, reaction shots, an overall character arc through the script, repeatability, continuity, and motivated behaviour within the scene and from one scene to the next, there’s a plethora of details that need to be addressed before you can make the leap from pretending to do it in the audition room one or two times, to really doing it on set for 22 hours. Nevertheless, C.A.S.T. suggests that if you can nail the entire short play with no props, costumes, or technical support and you can sell your performance and move your audience with none of these accoutrements, then you will have no problem playing the scene once you get to set and They put an actual machine gun into your hands. After you book the role and before you go to set, C.A.S.T. will arm you with the knowledge, information, preparation, and practice that you will need to Survive on the day.
C.A.S.T. is Audition Survival Training because if you can Survive the Audition and succeed, the on set work will feel like the easy part. Also, in order to Audition well, you have to have mastered much more than simple acting and delivery. Although C.A.S.T. will provide you with that training as well, its main focus is on the application of those skills in the real world, in the Audition room, and on set. The studio is a vacuum. Yes, it is useful to have a safe place to practice, but it’s absolutely necessary to prepare yourself for the dangerous and competitive real world if you intend to work in this business as a professional, and be warned, if you choose to not prepare yourself wisely, you risk getting chewed up and spit out before you know what hit to you. Auditioning well requires the ability to act well, but acting well doesn’t require or necessarily imply the ability to Audition well. They are separate beasts.
The bottom line is simple. Studying acting won’t teach you how to Audition, won’t book you jobs, and studying Chameleon Audition Survival Training will absolutely, definitely, teach you how to act while it’s teaching you how to book role after role and to Survive the industry. C.A.S.T. is unique in that it is a practical system that is easily applied in real world situations by beginners and experts alike. C.A.S.T. teaches, aside from Survival Tactics, the art of acting, not only in a studio vacuum, but also in the real world; the professional Audition room and on set, and C.A.S.T. teaches you how to act while balancing the emotional aspects of the scene with the practical and technical requirements necessary to get the shots and finish the project. Michael Gordin Shore, creator and developer of the C.A.S.T. system believes that if you can stand on a mark in an empty room with no furniture to hide behind and no other actors to visibly interact with, if you can nail the scene and move the audience in that barren environment, then you will be able to act on set once They hire you and put you in a costume with realistic props and sets. If They were able to believe you with nothing artificial to support your performance, the audience will believe you once They add CGI and set dec.
And there’s another huge reason to master the art of acting or auditioning on a mark in a blank walled empty Audition room: a tremendous amount of product is now shot against green screen. What that means is that when you get to set there will be nothing. No set dec, no background, no location, no freshly exploded car, no field of dead bodies, no zombies, no nothing. Just you in a costume on a mark in a sound stage with a machine gun in your hand, playing the scene the same way you did in the audition with nothing but a green wall behind you. They will add all the explosions and zombies and other details in the editing room but for now, you have nothing to react to, nothing to respond to, nothing to work with other than your imagination. If you nailed this scene in the audition you will have no problem doing it again now in front of the green screen, just do the same thing you did in the Audition. If you don’t know how to Audition, you will not be comfortable or believable when you have to work with green screen. They are one and the same in most ways. All of this also applies to reaction shots, another species altogether.
Remember: no actor, no matter how talented or trained, will ever get the chance to apply his skills in the real world unless he masters the art of auditioning and booking the role in the first place. In the real world, your ability to nail Auditions will make the difference between whether you get hired or not, and nailing an Audition is the direct result of the successful blending of well-developed technical and artistic techniques. Learn how to Audition well and you will be able to handle any on set acting challenge that presents itself. C.A.S.T. will take you far beyond being a skilled, trained actor. C.A.S.T. will help you become a skilled, trained auditioner, which requires much deeper training than simply becoming a skilled trained actor. C.A.S.T. will teach you how to be the one They want to work with, and the one who is consistently working on different projects. The ultimate goal is not to become a star. The ultimate goal is to be a working actor, and to keep working. Don’t worry about being a Great Actor, focus on becoming a good actor. How do you do that? It’s simple:
Be a Chameleon.
Be the actor They call a Chameleon. When They call you a Chameleon as an actor, They mean that your range is astonishing, practically limitless. You appear to be able to completely transform yourself at will, you can turn on a dime, and you can effortlessly make any adjustment They ask for. They mean that you can play anything. Every character you present to Them is completely different, and They think you can play any character, any role, and be absolutely believable. They are using the word incorrectly but we all know that being called a Chameleon as an actor is the highest compliment there is. C.A.S.T. will teach you how to achieve this by mastering your acting skills, technique, and craft, while it reinforces how the actor must actually be like the Chameleon.
Be a Chameleon. Use your abilities to turn your fancy colors on and off to communicate your intentions clearly, not to blend in. Master stillness. Trust that your true colors are your best defense, and remember who you are.
Be a ferocious little predator with a very fast tongue, one who is also armed with the skills and training required to survive in the isolated and dangerous environment that is the Audition room, without the benefit of modern conveniences like movie magic, props, furniture and other actors that you can actually see, kiss, and touch. Learn how to prepare, always be prepared, and learn how to save yourself when disaster strikes, because it will. Evolve into the organism that is best suited for the environment and you will endure, you will be standing when all around you have fallen. You will Survive. Without Training, there can be no skilled behaviour. Get Chameleon Audition Survival Training and be one of the ones who makes it.