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Simple Tips for Choosing Your Audition Monologue

On-Camera Agent | Jessica Mitchell

Every working actor knows (or should know!) the importance of having a great monologue under your belt. Having a tried and true, appropriate to your type, knock-their-socks-off monologue is one of the best tools in any actor’s arsenal.

That being said, it is the mark of a smart actor to have several options of monologues that fit your audition setting. After seeing many, many new talent auditions here at Cast Images, I’ve realized we may need to shed a bit of light on the appropriate types of monologues for an agent audition in the Northern California market.

Here are a couple of items to check off when selecting a monologue for an agent audition:

- 2-3 minutes long
- clear storyline (look for a beginning, middle, and end)
- PLEASE be completely off-book…pick something you know you can memorize and are comfortable performing even when you’re nervous.

Here are some quick and easy things to AVOID when choosing your monologue:

- Classical text (Shakespeare, Old English, period pieces, etc.)
- Accents
- Graphic themes/language
- Experimental, non-linear pieces

And now, please pay attention, because this is advice I hope every talent submitting to Cast Images takes note of…intensely dramatic monologues are very rarely the best fit in this setting.

Now you may be wondering – what if a dramatic monologue is my very best piece? That’s great – we love to see that skill set. However, it is very easy to overdo dramatic pieces in such an intimate setting - a bout of overwrought shouting in your monologue is more awkward than it is impactful. My best advice is to tread lightly when choosing that type of material…and to imagine how you will deliver your monologue when you are performing a mere three feet away from your audience.

It is also super important to cater to your type…your monologue (as well as your imagery, resume, and all other materials) should always accentuate the most cast-able version of you! If you’re a kindly older grandfather type, a super edgy monologue from an HBO show is not going to be your best bet. 

I know you actors are already worrying about typecasting as you read this – but I can guarantee that playing to your type is the basis of doing well in this commercial driven market. Talent who can pinpoint their most appropriate and commercial friendly type are those who book frequently…so your initial monologue with us is the first test of that personal know-how.

Basically (for all of you who just skimmed to the bottom), I want you to pick a piece that will showcase the very best of your skill and potential as an actor. I truly hope that every talent who steps into our office will knock my socks off with their audition – and hopefully these tiny bits of advice will help you succeed in that endeavor!

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