Monday, September 17, 2012


Inspired by recent events, I would like to inform you all on something I've learned recently.

A part of me cant believe that I am writing this in a Blog, however the Truth shall set you FREE!! 

I did a Workshop in New York and had a Wonderful Time, however I learned that some Actors are not using what they get what they WANT!!  

Each and everyone of us have been blessed with gifts. Natural gifts that may have been cultivated over years, i.e Dancers, Singers, Players of Instruments, Athletes. Others of us may have HUGE personalities (which have been pruned and so forth), Great with Numbers, Spoken Word, Medical/Legal Jargon and so forth.  

So I entered this Workshop at Times Square Studios, nervous and excited all at the same time. I sit down in the front of the room with some water and my iphone (cause I tweet alot) and wait.  In walk all of these beautiful people of color, (Wearing NO Color I might add and I don't care about the Rain!!!) with expectation in their eyes and nervous energy. 

The instructionsPrepare a 1 Minute Monologue from a FILM,  FOR YOUR TYPE. 

I started by letting them know a little bit about me and my journey...then came the question portion of the evening... Very interesting!! Some of the Questions were Good and Strong and others were...well... Hmm.. Anyway, so ended the Question and Answer Portion of the evening. 

Now come the Monologues!!

I'm excited and ready to see what they've Got!!  There were some Strong Monologues in the Bunch however I started to notice a Pattern... A number of the Actors were doing Monologues according to who they Want to be and  Not who they actually Are! Not utilizing their Type and/or their Gifts.

Use What YOU GOT... to Get What YOU WANT!!

One young man chose a Monologue from Six Degrees of Separation... I tilted my head and wondered why something didn't click for me..  
SideBar: Most Young African American Men LOVE Will Smith and ALL of the Characters that he has portrayed in his films. They have every right to.. Will Smith has done an Excellent Job in his work. The role in "Six Degrees of Separation" character was a Grifter/Con Man whose background seemed upper class, private school educated and affable.  

Firstly, this was a handsome young man with an Strong Athletic Look and Vibe.  I flip over his Head shot and look at the bottom (under Special Skills) ... AHA!! He is a Football Player!!  For this young man, his type lends itself to a Monologue from "Remember the Titans" or "Friday Night Lights".  He said to me  "I like the role in Six Degrees of Separation and Will Smith". I thought... Ugghhh!! 

Another Gentlemen chose a Monologue from an Independent Film. It was a Monologue about a Drug Dealer talking to a person who owes him Money. Again, I titled my head and felt something Amiss. This was a Tall, Svelte Gentlemen with a Bald Head, Dark Skin and very distinct, strong beautiful African features. 

Then I looked at the bottom of his resume and read.. Dancer, Modern, Jazz & Ballet for numerous Ballet companies. WOW!! I knew it.. He was a Dancer. For this man, his type lends itself to a Monologue where a Dancer is required like "A Chorus Line", "Dirty Dancing" or even "Blood Diamond" (due to his Beautiful African Features). He said to me,  "I don't want to be seen as a dancer"... WHY?? ARGGHHHH!!  

BTW: I Do This for a Living!!

Then there was a Young Lady who chose a monologue from "Girl Interrupted"!.. I titled my head again.. This seemed to be a popular theme in the room as that Monologue was chosen twice. I understand why the monologue was chosen. Angelina Jolie is a Brilliant Actress with a huge range, so I'm not mad at the choice.  However if you scroll back up.. 

The instructions were..A monologue for your type!! 

As I sat there looking at her notices her resemblance to Kimberly Elise. I said to her... "Who have people told you that you look like?? She Shrugs... Then I said.. "You remind me of Kimberly Elise.. "She said I get that alot!!"  Then I asked..Uhmm, "Why didn't you pull a monologue from Kimberly Elises work" like, "Set It Off, Loretta Clairborne Story", The DitchDiggers Daughters??  and I received the response of.. "This Monologue Spoke to me.. in My Spirit."  OMG!!! So DONE!!  

SERIOUSLY, I Do this for a Living!

She has every right to feel that way.. All of them Do!! Of Course!! However,  Do those scenes in Class! Push yourself and work on Everything!! In CLASS!

MY Instructions again were...

 Prepare a 1 Minute Monologue from a FILM, FOR YOUR TYPE!!

So here are my thoughts as a Casting Director with those instructions:
Pay attention to the Instructions and LISTEN. Listening is HUGELY Important! 
Knowing your type is very important. 
Knowing your strengths are HUGE!! Use what you Got.. to get what you Want.. 
Casting Directors Cast Types, then after a period of time we cast You against type.  

Start with your strengths!! What we would see you as. 

Pay attention to commercials and notice the types that you see:
Construction Workers Look like..
Doctors look like...
Businessmen look like...
Moms look like...
Dancers look like...
Teachers look like... 
Football Players look like... and so on.

Think about the fact that you only have approx. 5 seconds to put us in the mind of your type.. So if your strength is a Dancer.. then bring that into your choices.. Remember Patrick Swayze, Sammy Davis Jr., Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Hines, Debbie Allen, Zoe Saldana, Valarie Pettiford! 

Stand Up Comedian: Tom Hanks, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O'Donnel, Janeane Garofalo. 

If you remind people of Kimberly Elise then do a Monologue from her Great Works.. 

To Kill A MockingBird
If your background or gift lends itself to being Articulate, you speak strong Legal or Medical Jargon well. then pull a monologue from a Great Film with Law or Medical Jargon. 

If you have a Sports look, whether Football, Basketball or Whatever, find a Strong Monologue from Sports Films. "Brians Song" "Rudy", "Friday Night Lights"!  

I'm Just Saying.. I DO THIS FOR A LIVING!!!

Here's the Deal, knowing your type is Half the Battle.. Get to know what Profession your perceived as having,  then submit yourself or discuss with your agent accordingly. Having specialties or Gifts also help you bring your own brand of Passion and expertise to the Monologue or Role.  This is a Blessing!! Use it!

These are the things that can make you stand out from everyone else!! You are the only YOU there is.. So bring your strengths to the table and... 


Be on the Look Out for the "Truth In Performance Workshop & Pearls Of Wisdom Seminar"
Also My Book "Truth In Performance" is Coming Soon!!


Gail said...

Bravo Ms Twinkie!!! I've asked my agent to submit me to all things law enforcement. With over 30 years of actior training and 23 years for various jobs in law enforcement (cop, crime analyst, emergency management, 911 operator ...) I know that is where my strenght is. My resume reads like Lara Croft's. I'm working diligently to get the outside to resemble the resume. Between Crossfit, weight training and Insanity I should be there by March. :-). As always, great info!

Anonymous said...

You definitely didn't have to share those insights. So glad you did!


Tobias said...

Thank you Twinkie. Very insightful and thoughtful. Words I can use today and tomorrow. Hmph I wonder what my type is. Lol. Peace.

Joshua Nelson said...

BRILLIANT!!! Actors can get more vital information from that blog than at most 4 years schools! Seriously, Acting is extremely important but you have to be smart, you have to stand out and using what you have/what you are is a fantastic jumping point! I really wish there were more casting directors like you (And Wendy Mckenzie) out there teaching actors from your heart and your experience what they need to make make it in the hardest business in the world!

Mark McKinnon said...

Im surprised to see only 4 comments on this so far. This is great! This was the mindset I had when moving to NY, and it has worked. Its the truth. It all boils down to your brand. And your monologues have to fit your brand. Thank you for this blog

Shannon Komai McClain said...

Great advice! I've taken notes & modified my own monologue choices. Can't wait to read for you!