Backstage recently asked me to answer a question they received from a reader about monologue protocol when seeking representation. My answer below.
When it comes to agency auditions, are there specific types of monologues agents like to see? What about anything I definitely shouldn’t use?
Great question! And, where this answer can be quite subjective it’s important to keep in mind that a prepared actor should have (at minimum) three to five monologues, performance level, read to go at any given time. If not – why not? Monologues are something you can and should be continually working on. In my professional opinion, monologue preparation has got to be the most effective, time-efficient, low-no cost thing the actor can do in their development!
Among these pieces, you’ll want to vary the content as well as their lengths, e.g. comedy, drama, 30-second, 1-minute, 3-minute… The actor with an arsenal of monologues that have been worked out and polished will be positioned much more powerfully than the actor who’s trying to whip something up at the last minute. Being prepared will give you so much more confidence as an individual (overall) as well as when you’re in the agent/casting office.
I recommend having a tight and powerful 1-minute, comedic piece. Most everyone enjoys a terrific, well-executed comedy! Comedic material tends to lighten up tension and plays great in the room… if it’s actually funny. So, make sure the content is genuinely funny, contemporary and fits you like a high-quality leather glove. If you have any doubt as to whether or not your ‘crushing’ it, get coaching! You’re not only auditioning for the agency, you’re also letting the ‘forces that be’ know who you are and that you know how to sell yourself. This ultimately makes their job of connecting you to the breakdown a whole lot easier… which they’ll love you for!
Follow your comedic monologue up with a dramatic piece, roughly 2-minutes. Something with some real meat on the bone. Once again, look for content that represents your type brilliantly! If you’ll be auditioning for a theatrical agent, which I’m assuming you will be, then I personally would stick with relevant dramatic film and television material and not lean so much towards plays and Shakespeare. Think about where you see yourself in existing movies or on shows that are already airing? Grab that material and work it up. If you decide to do an original piece, make sure it’s written well… especially if you write it yourself. It’s extremely difficult to be objective when you’re the subject. Get help!
For further insight on effective monologue preparation and to receive your free monologue prep ebook, visit: http://claybanksstudio.com/mastering-the-one-minute-monologue/