Insight From Academy Award Winner Kenneth Lonergan

I was in NYC a few weeks ago and crossed paths with my friend and fellow creative, Kenneth Lonergan. We met back in 2015 on the set of Manchester By The Sea. Working on that film and meeting him have been such gifts in my life.

We were catching up over dinner and I was telling him about ActorPlaybook. I was explaining how important it is to me to provide a valuable + affordable resource for actors so anyone, anywhere, who has this dream in their heart to act, can have support. I shared with him my nerves about an upcoming Skype call-back audition (I find these TOUGH!) with the director of the film and he started to share SO MUCH valuable insight into the audition process.

I was elated, yet cursed the noisy restaurant! I wanted to record our audio!

Anyway, Kenny being a writer, kindly offered to write down what we were discussing and email it to me later that week. He did.

 Four pages.

And I want to share some of what he said with you.

Kenneth Lonergan (born October 16, 1962) is an American film director, playwright, and screenwriter.  

He is the co-writer of the film Gangs of NewYork (2002), and wrote and directed

You Can Count On Me (2000),  (2011), and Manchester by the Sea (2016).

​1) I want to like you.

I want you to be a wonderful actor, and I want to cast you so I can go home or move on to the next role. Even if I'm cold-blooded, uncommunicative, tired or cranky, I still want to like you so I can cast the part.

2) I want you to be right for the part.

How you relate to my idea of the part is more or less beyond your control. What is within your control is doing the best job you can, in your own way. This is really, really important to remember. It's much better to do a good job than it is to be exactly right for it, because A) "right for it" will probably stretch over time, and B) anybody who does a good job in an audition has one more good audition to his/her credit and will be a welcome sight next time. That's why I want to see you do your best, your way. Whether you are right for the part or not, I want to see your way of doing it.

3) I want to know you're professional and easy to be in a room with.

Be friendly and positive and businesslike. Make it easy for me to concentrate on your audition. I'm not interested in your emotional condition. The easier you can make this for me, the more freedom I will have to watch your audition for itself. I don't want to worry about the social side of the situation, which is that you are trying out for me, you really want to do well, and may be nervous that you won't. I also don't want to know if you think you did badly. Come in, be friendly and professional, do your audition, do it again if asked and go away, friendly and professional. If you're friendly and professional I'll be happy to see you again for some other job.

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