Strengthening Your Gut and Critical Faculties at Audition Doctor

Strengthening Your Gut and Critical Faculties at Audition Doctor

Till 1When Phillip Seymour Hoffman was asked at in interview at the Golden Globe Awards what advice he would give to those starting out in the acting profession, he said:


“You have to act wherever you can, you can’t be picky. Wherever you get a chance to act – and it might even be an audition room, even if you’re auditioning for something you know you’re never going to get or you might have read it and you might not even have liked it but you know you have to go, if you get a chance to act in a room that somebody else has paid rent for then you’ve been given a free chance to practice your craft. In that moment, you should act as well as you can because if you leave the room or the theatre or wherever you are and you’ve acted as well as you can, there’s no way that the people who watched you will forget it. That was something that someone told me years ago and I think it’s great advice because it’s always about that, it’s always about the work at the end of the day.”

Actors have found that Audition Doctor is a place where they are able to hone their craft to such an extent that they are able to reach the emotional places that the role requires every time. Consequently, auditioning feels like less of a lottery as students are often in control of their performances; performances that have been rehearsed and considered but without any loss of spontaneity or authenticity. Audition Doctor’s popularity relies heavily on the fact that lessons encourage students to become more independent of thought and more confident and adventurous in their artistic judgements.

Hoffman went onto say that the stature and awards that have become attached to his name mean precious little “If I show up to work one day and the work I’m doing isn’t any good, I’m just a guy who’s not acting well. I’d tell that to anyone starting out: take those words and bring them alive. If you do that, something will transpire.”

Professional actors come regularly to Audition Doctor because every lesson takes away the fear of being “that guy”. The intensity of Audition Doctor sessions also strengthens a different muscle – that of developing an acute concentration.

Last week, Mark Lawson wrote an ode to Maxine Peake in the Guardian in which Steven Moffat spoke of Peake’s ability to maintain focus during TV shoots: “Filming can be tedious and repetitive. But even by the seventh take of a scene, she’s still listening to what the other actor says and responding to it, giving you something fresh.”

This is something else that Audition Doctor develops in every one of her students – the capacity to continuously listen and react in the moment and on the line.

“I’ve done 30 hours of television with [Maxine Peake] now,” says Moffat, “and she has never spoken a line of mine wrongly. There has never been an interpretation that jarred, which is very rare. She has this native actor’s intelligence for what you intended or even sometimes to go beyond that and show you something you didn’t know was there.”

Actors who come to Audition Doctor find that sessions strengthen both their gut instincts and their critical faculties, which means that in the audition room, they often surprise themselves as well as those auditioning them.

Creating Something Artful at Audition Doctor

Creating Something Artful at Audition Doctor

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 23.09.54Ralph Fiennes was recently interviewed and asked if he had a set way of approaching characters. He said: “I don’t have a specific method that there’s a label for, I think different projects require a different way in, and again depending on the director, often they will spark off a way to imagine or feel or think your way into a role.”

For all acting jobs, there is clearly a need to demonstrate in the audition that you have the emotional perception and intellectual precocity to somehow find a way “in” to a role. For professional actors and drama school applicants, Audition Doctor has been an invaluable intermediary stepping stone – giving students the benefits of a director’s guidance prior to an audition. Much like Fiennes’ outlook, Audition Doctor’s success lies in having no proscriptive method for her students. Each character is simultaneously dissected and constructed in a unique approach that best suits the individual.

However, what all Audition Doctor’s students share is the graft that both Tilly, and most importantly, the student commit to throughout the sessions. This brings to mind Philip Seymour Hoffman’s opinions on preparing for a part:

 “I think that the amount of concentration — sometimes the amount of personal exploration — it takes to do something well, can be not pleasant … like hard work is. That doesn’t mean that you don’t want to do it, or that you don’t love it, or that it’s not ultimately satisfying… There’s always something about that job that’s exhausting, and that’s what’s exhausting about acting, is the level concentration over very long period of time.

If there’s something emotional about what you’re doing that day, you’re carrying that emotion on one level or another for a long period of time … it can be burdensome. But it’s part of the work, and you’re trying to create something artful out of it…You’re there to take what you know and the experiences and behaviour and emotional life of yourself and others and try to make something artful out of it.”

Creating something artful is hugely helped if you pick the right speech – something that Audition Doctor is vociferous about. However, Ralph Fiennes recently spoke about the difficulties that actors perversely felt when the script was too perfect: “Sometimes if a script is really good it’s easy to learn the lines and have fun but then you forget where they come from and who the person is who’s saying them.”

Audition Doctor never lets students run away with or hide behind the language. Fiennes went onto say: “I think the interior life of the character is very important, how they think, how they feel, what’s going on inside them.” The focus on the character is so in-depth and sustained at Audition Doctor that students always use the language to their advantage; as a weapon to communicate emotions more effectually with the spectator.

Fiennes went onto say that his greatest challenge was “about not judging. What I like is finding the totality of a person…it’s about the humanity and the horror of them.” Characters created at Audition Doctor are never one-dimensional. The work put in in the sessions means that students always end up forming an authentic character, in other words, creating a piece of art.