The interviewer would like to see the passion behind your career choice. This desire is what will drive you, even on the most terrible days. Let your excitement for being an actor shine!
"I have always found the variety and sense of escapism exciting. I joined a local youth theatre group when I was 13 and always participated in theatrical productions at high school. I suppose I got to a stage when I was about 15 where I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else so decided to try and pursue a career as an actress."
"I became attracted to this career path when my father took me to the local theatre. We had a backstage pass where I could witness all of the wardrobes, set pieces in action, and meet a few of the performers. The buzz was amazing, and I caught the bug!"
"I have been an actress for the past ten years. Some days are a bigger struggle than others, but I knew from a young age that this was my calling, and I will never give it up. I love to entertain others and cannot think of doing anything else. The variety keeps me on my toes."
Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.
"I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my acting career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity."
"In my current role, I work alongside cross-functional teams regularly. Together, we manage our performances very effectively. Diversity is a must in the acting industry."
"I would say that pretty much every group I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life helps shed different perspectives and identify new characters and storyline possibilities."
Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to encourage creative ideas in your team members or cast mates.
"I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of the most successful actors I have worked with are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas."
"Here are some ways that you can encourage ideas in others: - Get to know them and what they like to work on - Send an encouraging email letting them know you like their plan or ideas - Publicly praise their efforts - If you are a leader, then tell them that you like their ideas - Say things like 'Well done' or 'Nice work' on a regular basis - Show that you believe in their quality of work before they even deliver it"
"I encourage my castmates to tap into the best parts of themselves. It helps to ask probing questions to get them to generate ideas on their own. I have found that by painting a clear vision for the project, my team will often jump in with creative solutions to get us there."
Is honesty always the best policy? Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on openness in the workplace.
"Sometimes full disclosure can damage someone's self-esteem, and reality it isn't always best expressed in full. Complete honesty can be self-indulgent based on the person's intention. In those instances, honesty isn't always the best policy."
"I do feel that honesty is the best policy so long as the honest comment does not come with the intention of being hurtful."
"Honesty is always the best policy. Often, it is just a matter of how you communicate and deliver your message so managing this with each situation is critical to building honest and trustworthy relationships."
This is an excellent opportunity for you to talk about your experience! You don't have to choose a character that is exceptionally challenging or complex. Perhaps you brought depth to a typically flat character. Talk about how you made them interesting to watch. Maybe you enjoyed playing the character just because of your passion for the overall production. Share what you learned from that role.
"My absolute favorite role was playing Viola de Lesseps in 'Shakespeare in Love.' Her character was so complicated, and I loved playing a historical character."
"I am newer to my acting career and will never forget the very first role I was given. It was a local performance of 'Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley' and I played the character of Mrs. Darcy. The script was challenging due to the flowery language and lengthy monologues."
"Every part I am awarded is my favorite for a unique reason! It is just so difficult to choose as I appreciate each role for their uniqueness. If I had to choose just one, I would say that the production of "The Humans" was what stretched me as an actor the most. Playing Aimee in this one-act play was an incredible experience for me."
Will you ever walk the stage of the Academy Awards to accept an Oscar like Marlon Brando? Forget about it! Okay, okay, anything is possible! Even as you visualize those actors who have awed wide audiences and won those awards, think about the characters they have embodied. What made them believable? How did they make a significant contribution to the film? When you talk about your favorite actor, talk about their characters, films and the lengths they went through to take on those characters. Show your understanding of how a person's style can make their characters great.
"My favorite actor, since I was a child, has been Audrey Hepburn. She is classic and embodies the idea of effortless acting."
"I have many favorite actors, in a variety of categories. For comedic actors, I admire Bradley Cooper the most. When it comes to drama, I cannot get enough of Denzel Washington. When it comes to romance, well...Ryan Gosling has it all! I believe the common theme between all of these actors is that, despite their years in Hollywood, they remain level-headed in a challenging industry."
When you're not busy working on a new role for a production, you are spending your time working towards your goals. If you want to be an actor, you'll need to be willing to put yourself out there. Get creative and be persistent. You'll need to know how to market yourself to gain attention from talent agencies and casting directors. There is always something you can be working on, even if it's just doing research and taking time to brush up on skills you know would help you get the part next time.
"I joined an actors guild to help me network and learn from other actors. Each week we take turns presenting a topic and sharing tips to help each other out. I'm also taking a stand-up class to gain more confidence, help with my writing and comedic timing."
"I recently joined a local theatre troupe, and we are currently working on a production of 'Fiddler on the Roof.' It's been incredible so far, and I have learned a great deal about musical theatre. "
"I have a few projects on the go at the moment. Two of which are very significant. One, a commercial for a new beverage product. The other project is a one-man-play that I am producing and starring in. We are opening March 8th."
Think about what you need as an actor to be successful. Do you need a lot of direction or can you jump in and quickly pick up on cues? Depending on your training, you may be the type of actor that does extensive research on your role and stays in character after they call "cut." Who are your influences? What do you do to prepare? All of these elements factor into your "style." Your style also acknowledges your shortcomings. By defining who you are, you are willing to accept who you are not. You can't be everything to everyone, and you won't be perfect for every part. Think back to your strengths. How do they contribute to the style that makes you unique?
"Here are some ways you can describe your acting style: - Intentional - Thoughtful - Methodical - Emotional Here are some specific acting techniques that you may follow: - Stanislavski - Strasberg - Stella Adler - Meisner - Chekhov - Practical Aesthetics - Uta Hagen - Viola Spolin "
"I best describe my acting style as intentional and thoughtful. I am very methodical when learning a new character and like to dive into the ins and outs of character development fully."
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my director and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
"Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to improve my acting skills."
Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness...all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer. If you do have volunteer experience: "For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."
"For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."
"If you do not have volunteer experience: "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is essential to take care of the needs of the family."
"For the past three years, I have volunteered as an acting coach for at-risk youth. The classes take place every Saturday morning. It's been an incredible experience for me, and it's volunteer work that I hope to continue for the long-term."
Perhaps your first role was when you were in a school play at eight years old. Or, maybe you were cast in a local commercial for which you have tried out. For some, acting is in their blood. They have molded themselves into characters since early childhood. You may reflect fondly on your first role or, you may not. Your example merely gives the casting director historical context and insight into you as an actor. How have you grown and improved?
"My very first acting role was a commercial for a local candy store when I was just five years old. I recall memorizing my lines in my bedroom and being nervous for the big day. I don't even remember if I was paid for the gig! Regardless, it gave me the bug for acting, and I haven't looked back since."
"I just started pursuing my acting career which means that my list of experience is short. I recently played a minor role in a community play. Not only was the experience fun, but it also taught me a great deal about discipline. I am excited to get the ball rolling on my career as an actor."
"I started my acting career in my grade 7 school play! I cannot recall a lot of the details, but I remember how I felt. Like I was on top of the world! Ever since that day, I knew I wanted to be an actor."
The interviewer or casting director would like to be assured of your confidence! By asking this question, they get to see just how prepared you are when the pressure is on. The best way to answer this is to say yes, and offer to jump right into the scene.
"Yes! I have memorized Scene 4 in full because the character monologue jumped out at me. May I read through this scene for you?"
"The best way to prepare for an audition is to memorize the lines of the role you intend to play. You can hold the script in front of you, but don't hold it too close to your mouth! Hiding behind your script will make it difficult for you to be heard. If you are on video, they can't see the expressions on your face either. Learn as much as you can about the character, the story and how the director intends to portray the piece before you go into your audition. Understand the tone, dialect, and style. It can be a bit nerve-wracking to read in front of another professional, but take heart! The more you audition, the more opportunities you have to practice! So, when you are asked to read through the script, be prepared to jump right into character. "
"I would be happy to read a scene with you. I have prepared the monologue from (character name) on page 18. If there is another scene that you prefer me to perform, I am glad to do so."
There are many reasons why you will have difficulty with certain characters. Sometimes it's because you can't relate. Other times you can relate too well. Perhaps you are reminded of an estranged relationship with a family member because the character is so similar. Or, maybe you have never met anyone like that character in real life.
"I was playing the role of Lurch in The Adams Family and it was difficult because I had to maintain the exact same expression for the entire play. I've never played a static character like that before."
"Last month I auditioned for a role where the character was the opposite gender of myself. I wanted to audition for the challenge but knew it would be incredibly difficult."
"I have experienced this numerous times in my acting career. The greatest challenge of my acting career so far was to play the character of an abuser. I am gentle by nature, so it was incredibly challenging for me to play someone directly opposite of me. Getting out of character was equally challenging. I had to spend time meditating and doing yoga after a day on set so that I could shake the character a bit."
The interviewer wants to know how comfortable are you with performing in front of large crowds. If you're going to perform in front of hundreds of people, you have to reach some of those smaller goals, like starring in the latest adaptation of Peter Pan in a small mountain town theater. The more comfortable you become with larger audiences, the more opportunities you have to perform. With that experience, your confidence grows, and you can take on different challenges. As you talk about your experience, even if you have only performed in small plays, talk about your goals and how you are working towards them.
"The biggest audience I have performed in front of was during my time in the off-Broadway play 'The Pill.' The theater held approximately 250 seats, and we were sold out for six days in a row."
"I've performed in front of an audience of 30, and I am currently auditioning for larger theater troupes."
"I have performed in front of audiences of all sizes. If I can recall correctly, the largest audience was likely around 800 individuals. That was while performing at our city's annual holiday production. I love performing in front of large crowds. It's exhilarating!"
You don't have to be a director or official lead to motivate others. Offering a listening ear or providing words of encouragement can make a world of difference to your cast mates. Sometimes, just being a positive influence and showing up consistently can also make a difference. If you have worked in a leadership role, think of ways you helped set clear goals or helped individuals cultivate a new skill. Reflect on your experience and share some ways that you have helped encourage others to keep up the good work!
"I motivate my fellow team members by coming to work with an exceptional attitude every day. I won't allow anyone's bad mood to let me down. That influence alone has helped many of my cast mates get through their day on a more positive note."
"I motivate others by complimenting their work, asking them their opinion, and making them feel like a valued part of the team."
"I motivate my cast mates by telling them the many ways in which they inspire me! When you know that you inspire others, you tend to be more motivated to keep going, even on the toughest of days."
Don't get caught in the trap of telling them your life story! The interviewer wants to get to know you, but is most interested in how it will help you be successful in acting school or their next production. Sharing your training, acting experience, and a few hobbies is a great place to start. When talking about hobbies, think about the ones that could be relevant to your job as an actor. You'll need to focus, study and research, so speaking about how you enjoy reading poetry or how you have played on a successful sports team is valuable information. You'll be working with a lot of different personalities, so talking about how much you love people and enjoy going out to concerts or other public places where you get to meet new people shows that you are outgoing and friendly. Try to keep this answer brief, but give the interviewer reason to want to know more about you. The way you talk about yourself is also essential. Be enthusiastic and composed. Show that you are prepared.
"“I have a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from the University of Michigan. I am also a professional pianist and classically trained vocalist. I’m currently looking for a change in professional acting."
"With pleasure! I have over ten years of experience in commercial acting and am interested in growing my career to the next level. On a more personal note, I love to read classic novels, go hiking and spend a lot of my extra time volunteering with the humane society."
Now that you know your type and can talk about your style, it will be easier to identify the roles the best-fit roles. As you develop a broader range, meaning the ability to create a higher depth into a full spectrum of characters, you have more options. Practice makes perfect! You may need to challenge yourself by trying something new. Share how what you've done in the past has prepared you.
"Since I have been playing 'the girl next door' quite often, I want to challenge myself by going after more villain or temptress roles. I've been watching Betty Davis films and working with my acting coach to take on this darker style of character."
"I would like to land my first role in a musical. I think it would be very challenging for me as an actor. I am trained in classical music and voice, so I see a potential fit."
"There are so many roles that I would like to try in the future, including roles that are on the emotional and dramatic side. I tend to be cast in a lot of comedic based roles and would like to change that."
Unique skills could be anything from funny voices to acting techniques that make your style unique. You may have a character that you made up that shows your creativity and comedic skill. If you can cry on cue, that's a skill! Think about some of the skills you have perfected that you can act out on the spot upon request. If you're not sure, list off some examples to jog your memory. Reflect on some of your past roles and productions you did in the past.
"Yes, I sure do! I have a great British accent and am also able to cry on cue. How could those two skills be used in the same scene? I don't know, but I am ready!"
"Here are some special skills that you could mention: - Multiple accents or dialects - Singing abilities - Dancing abilities - Strong projection - Makeup Artistry - Wardrobe specialty - Set design or building "
"I have found through my years as an actor that I have a strong flair for the set and wardrobe design. I enjoy incorporating those skills into the projects that I take on. It never hurts to bring more to the table than your director expects."
To become a well-respected actor, you will need to have the self-awareness that you can always improve, and know what you can improve upon. Auditions are one way to learn these things. So is feedback from other actors and directors. As you learn your weak points, learn how to talk about them and describe how you seek to improve. You may have recently discovered that your British accent is not believable, so you have been watching Jane Austen films repeatedly and speaking with an accent around your friends to improve. Be specific. Make a list of any areas you know you stand for improvement and think of what you can do.
"I would like to expand on my range of accents and dialects. I recently enrolled in a 4-week workshop dedicated entirely to this craft. This workshop starts in 4 days. I'm excited to see what doors this training will open for me!"
"I am passionate about being an actor which means that I am always open to new training opportunities. There is always room to improve. If I had to choose one particular area today, I would choose to learn more about method acting."
"Training and continuous improvement are critical to me, as an actor. I would like to improve myself in the area of Stanislavski’s System. This method is so widely used, and I cannot get enough of it."
Are you familiar with actors unions? A union is designed to protect you as an actor, ensuring fair pay, hours, and working conditions. In the past, unions have passed legislation that brings work to areas where actors are struggling for employment. Casting directors and producers look highly upon those who join unions because your membership shows that you are a professional and take your career seriously. If you aren't a union member, check to see what is available in your state. Your membership could get you your next audition!
"I just became a union member, yes! I am happy to have joined Actra International recently."
"I have been an Actra member for eight years. It's the best decision I have made for my career in the acting industry."
Do you remember rolling your eyes when the girl in your English class would ask a question about a character in a book that she would have known the answer to if she had just read the whole chapter? Well, that's kind of how casting directors feel when an actor asks questions that they could have found the answers to on their own. 'Do you have any questions' is often another way of saying 'Are you ready' Be prepared to get started right away through researching the story, the character, the director and as much information you can gather about the production details. Sometimes a director takes a story everyone is familiar with and they put their own spin on it. Knowing that 'Romeo and Juliet' will take place in the 1970's and Juliet will be portrayed as the hippy daughter of a wealthy mobster might make a difference in how you play the role. If these kinds of questions are not answered through your prior investigation, ask! However, be prepared to change the approach you had planned to take in the way you play the character.
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this role filled? - How long has this position been vacant? - Is this a replacement search? - What is your favorite part about being a director? - What is your primary goal with this production? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not cast me? "
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of characteristics are you looking for in the actor who fills this role? And lastly, I would love to hear more about your vision for this project."
Actors and actresses portray characters in the performing arts and various media, including theater, film, and television. Depending on the part that they play, they may interpret a written script in order to convey information to the audience in an engaging or entertaining way. Actors typically do not find full-time work and the hours are long and irregular. They work in film and television studios, on stages, on filming locations. Some actors travel with a touring show. A degree is not required, though taking courses on drama or attaining a degree in theater arts may help. Actors and actresses can also take classes and engage in long-term training to enhance their skills and abilities.
The interview will assess the actor or actress' range of dramatic and acting abilities and work experience, and will typically involve an audition in which the actor performs a 'cold reading'. The main objective in this interview is to determine whether the actor is able to demonstrate the qualities needed in the role that you're applying to portray. This involves a combination of several factors, including physical appearance, ability to convey and evoke certain emotions, physical acting, and verbal acting. Depending on the nature of the role, improvisation may also be integrated into the interview. Memorization, reading, and speaking are important skills that'll be assessed during the interview.
To prepare for this interview, an actor or actress should familiarize themselves with the role and how the character fits into the production. When possible, you should research the director and/or writer's body of work and see if there is a common theme amongst the actors or actresses that are chosen for a role that's similar to the one you're applying to. Look for an acting style that seems compatible with that body of work.