Suitable monologue for witty art student character?
January 19, 2012 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Auditioning for an indie film! I'm a total newbie who had the silly idea of giving it a shot. There's no specific request for a monologue, but since it's my first time auditioning, I thought I better prepare something or have something to practice with, at least. Please help me find a suitable monologue for the character I'm auditioning for.

The supporting character is a bohemian-maybe hipster art student in college, and she's supposed to be the one to hand out witty one-liners in her group of friends. That's all I got from the official character summary, her role may be more complex than that, but I don't want to put my own interpretation on it for these recommendations.

Hope you can help me out. :) Many thanks!

(audition tips would be a great added bonus and much appreciated.)
posted by drea to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You'd probably find some suitable drollery in a movie like Ghost World.
posted by tumid dahlia at 7:13 PM on January 19, 2012

Hi, I audition actors for indie films.

Did they not give you sides to prepare? ie, the character's actual lines in the film? "Preparing a monologue" is a very theatre thing and is hardly ever done in film. I have only done it once, for a music video where the character had no lines, but I still wanted someone who could act and not just a pretty place.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:33 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

A few general tips:

1) When in doubt (like now), email and ask the casting director what you should prepare.

2) Come dressed like the character. Some actors show up in sweats, but it makes it really really hard to picture them in the role. I would never cast someone who did that unless they were truly fantastic.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:35 PM on January 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks drJimmy11! I have emailed the producer and awaiting their response.
So far I've only been given character profiles and thought to ask about monologues because I googled "auditioning". I suspect that they'll give the actual lines to read during the audition.
posted by drea at 7:39 PM on January 19, 2012

Sounds good. A few more things I thought of:

That's all I got from the official character summary, her role may be more complex than that, but I don't want to put my own interpretation on it for these recommendations.

If at all possible, get a hold of the whole script and read it! For me almost nothing is a bigger plus than someone who comes excited about the story and prepared to discuss it intelligently.
And "your own interpretation" is exactly what acting is all about. Don't be afraid to make bold choices! I always look for actors who have a strong idea- even if I don't agree, I can always coach them out of it later. But actors need to make strong choices.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:42 PM on January 19, 2012

Finally this is a big one:


If you can memorize it, than that's fine of course. But I see *so many* actors trying to act like they have it memorized but they don't. You can't act while you're trying to remember the words. It's so brutal to watch. If you don't have it memorized just read off the paper. Please.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:43 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Hi there. Since you've never auditioned before, and you don't have any acting experience either, perhaps this advice will actually be less useful, but remember this, if nothing else: on film/video, less is more.

Think of it as the difference between being alone, and being with a friend (without speaking). When alone, you're not communicating anything to anyone - you're simply being. When with a friend, even when not speaking, you might make your gestures/actions/movements overly obvious so that your friend gets it.

For example, you're in a waiting room by yourself, and getting bored/impatient. With no one around, you might just sit there, staring at the floor. If you were with a friend, you might sigh very loudly, fidget a lot, make faces.

On stage, the audience is that friend. On film/video, you are alone. When auditioning for film, do not mistake the camera for that friend.
posted by war wrath of wraith at 9:39 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Forget about a monologue since it was not specifically requested. Study the character profile and think about how you can relate to those traits, so you can bring them out during the audition.

When you audition - just go for it! Throw yourself into the character and don't hold back. Pay attention to any feedback/notes the director may give and just swing for the fences.

Passion and the ability to take direction are key factors for getting cast, and you only have a short amount of time to get that across in the audition.

Lastly, break a leg.
posted by shino-boy at 5:53 AM on January 20, 2012

Just so you know (going forward), you're supposed to pick a monologue which sells you as an actor, not one that sells you as a specific character. Tailoring your monologue choice to a specific character you want to play is very risky because you have no idea what their vision for that character is. It's better to prove yourself an able actor in general, because then they'll *imagine* you in the role and know that you can do whatever they ask.
posted by hermitosis at 8:14 AM on January 20, 2012

One thing about comedy that might be a useful thing to keep in mind... When a character is trying to be funny, it's almost never funny. That's because true comedy comes from surprising an audience. And there's rarely anything surprising about a character saying "joke-y" things to try to make other characters laugh.

What is almost always funnier is angst, emotion, weird moods, extreme opinions, surprising situations and that kind of stuff.

Now get into the head of your character:
Why are you spouting off these one-liners? Making people laugh is the obvious answer... but look for something better than that. Maybe you say them because you're *really* desperate to make people like you. Or maybe it's to prove you're smart. Or maybe it's because you're socially awkward, and being around your friends makes you really anxious. It can be anything, but if you can come up with an answer that gets at a truth of how humans behave, beyond "sometimes we like to say witty things to get a laugh", then you can really get to the heart of your character. And that's usually where comedy really comes from.
posted by Ziggurat at 8:30 AM on January 20, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers everyone! It's building up my confidence. Ziggurat, that's quite an insightful comment and will keep that in mind.
I will definitely remember to read off paper. :)
posted by drea at 8:34 AM on January 20, 2012

Come dressed like the character, not as the character. Why? Because you might need to roll on the floor. Wear comfy clothes for this reason.

I'm stunned you don't have the lines. Get them, make choices. Making choices is your job. If you get direction for something else, make more strong choices.

Film acting is a little more like lying to someone's face. Keep it subtle, unlike stage acting where you communicate from head to toe.

I don't know if this will help, but a friend of mine, when he auditions swears by this: act like you don't need it. Or want it. He says it gets rid of the butterflies and makes you more interesting because they've seen 100 needy people. YMMV on this one.

Regardless, have fun and good luck!
posted by CarlRossi at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2012

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