Point of View: On Acting
How to Make Your Audition Monologue Come Alive
By Jeff Salazar
The monologue is one of the most important tools in an actor’s arsenal. The actors monologue can help land some major jobs and propel their career to new heights. Here are some tips for not only choosing a monologue, but preparing and presenting one as well.
Keep it Short
When I say short, I truly mean one to two minutes, max. Most casting directors and agents are not willing to sit through anything longer. You need to show the character’s arc, your ability to portray a wide range of emotions and deliver a message that is truly meaningful. Staying within the one to two minute time range will gain you points with the decision makers and hold their attention.
The source of your monologue is just as important as the monologue itself. Don’t limit yourself to one that has been done by an iconic character and is well known. If you were to perform the iconic TAXI DRIVER monologue, for example, it would be nearly impossible for a casting director to see you performing rather than Robert De Niro. Also, I urge you to look into plays. It’s easy to find a resource for good play dialogue here in Seattle. Start at your local library — the downtown branch has an amazing selection of scripts. This source has proven to be my go-to; it helped me at the beginning of my career as an actor and I still use the library today.
Recognize the Author
This is another important thing to remember when delivering the monologue. While this is a small factor — and one which can be overlooked on both sides of the table — it shows credit to those that write the words and gives you credit as a professional actor. Anyone can do a monologue that they saw in once in a movie, but a true actor reads the words from the script and interprets these words for themselves. No one wants to see you do an impersonation of what a famous actor has already done. Casting directors and agents want to see your artistic interpretation come forth, giving life to the character. This shows them that you will apply the same tools towards their character when you book the job!
When slating your monologue, instead of saying, “I’ll be doing a piece from The Wolf of Wall Street” (which everyone has seen and knows so well), try saying, “I’ll be doing a piece by Terence Winter”. This will give some originality to your piece and take the audience’s mind off of Leonardo Dicaprio and back onto you.
Always remember to breathe and give life to your character. You are focusing on getting the job, but the job depends on your truth to the character’s life and the performance should reflect that.
Stay safe, have a great week, and I’ll see you on the other side!