Sometimes you only get one chance to make the right impression.
We speak with a Student Recruitment Advisor and the Head of Acting at the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television (AFTT) to find out what makes the successful applicants stand out from the crowd. Here’s their advice.
1. Make the best choice
Choosing what to study is always going to be difficult. There are so many options and sometimes we even make the decision based on what we think is safer in the long term.
Student Recruitment Advisor at AFTT Nour Lawrence said she sees this happen all the time.
‘Most applicants who are freshly out of high school think that they must select something that will lead directly to employment in a career they haven’t even figured out yet. My advice is to choose a course that you are passionate about, whether that is bio-mechanical engineering or film-making. You need to want to wake up every morning and go to class, not because you have to,’ she said.
After all, you don’t want to be asking yourself “what if?” later on.
2. Lack of preparation
As with most professional courses in the arts, when you apply for the acting course at AFTT you need to complete an audition. Head of Acting Glen Hamilton said what distinguished successful applicants is preparation. ‘An actor who has prepared well for the audition tells me that they take the work seriously,’ said Hamilton.
Preparation includes research. In the case of the acting audition this means learning as much as you can about the character you are portraying in the monologue.
‘Not knowing the background of your character means you are forced to make generic performance choices, instead of building a well informed understanding of who this person is and what is happening for them at the time of the monologue.’
View the Screen and Media: Acting course here
3. Don’t forget your lines
‘Nerves cause us to doubt ourselves and second guess what we know. It’s one thing to be able to recite your lines at home, but once you get into a different environment and the stresses of audition are in play – we often forget what we think we know,’ said Hamilton.
This often includes the lines so memorise them until they stick, even when the stress starts to build.
While repetition is the usual way to memorise, the skill of remembering lines is individual to each person. Some actors write their monologue out again and again to help commit the lines to memory.
4. Don’t play it cool (or safe)
We know interviews and auditions aren’t the place to take big risks, but you also want to be memorable. This means you need to grab attention (in a good way) in your audition.
‘We want to see a brave performer. One who makes bold and creative choices for the performance of their monologue rather than sticking to “safe” and predictable choices. Don’t try to “get it right” – be brave and take creative risks,’ said Hamilton.
Lawrence said another thing that sets the top applicants apart is their ‘excitement and passion for the industry.’ Let that energy take centre stage, whether you apply for live production, acting or film.
Study Film at AFTT
5. It doesn’t end with the application
Once you submit your application make sure you don’t switch off from the process.
Lawrence said, ‘one of the biggest mistakes applicants make is the ease in contacting them once the application has been made’.
‘Not answering the phone, not responding to email contact, it begins to create the impression that they aren’t really that keen. Another big mistake is applying with only the most basic details, no comment on why they are applying or what experience they are bringing to the application.’
The Essential Skills Series is brought to you in partnership with the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television.
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