The Art of Specificity: How To Make Your Auditions Stand Out with Michael Cohen

The Art of Specificity: How To Make Your Auditions Stand Out with Michael Cohen

Last week, The Modern Actor team attended a two hour seminar on the Art Of Specificity hosted by Michael D Cohen. In this seminar, Michael shared his insight on auditioning after a successful twenty year career and what he believes are the most important tips to remember in the casting room. We are positive you won't want to miss this exclusive advice! 

Take A Look At Our Notes:

Michael believes:

 Holistic Process of Acting= Mind + Body + Soul

Mind=conscious Body=unconscious 

How to get out of our own way 

Nervousness is a focus on us

Actor Agenda v.s.  Character Agenda

Nerves v.s. Focus on your scene partner                                         

The Two Things Every Scene Should Focus On Is:

Relationship + Conflict

  • If you have more than one character find a specific point in the room for each. It's gonna be subtle, but the camera will catch it.

  • Talking to a big group of people? Just look at the reader.

  • The more the actor stuff comes out in the audition the more general your audition, and the more the character stuff the more specific.

Let your nerves have a voice so they can be controlled. 

  • Circle all of your nouns and make an image and relationship for them.

  • If your reader is dull, then use that. 

  • Keep your reactions with the person you are talking to and always refer to the people in the scene, with a quick glance over if your character mentions them.

Should we practice keeping our heads still or only focus on Fitting the frame?

Focus on the connection, but yes keep the head straight.

We as the audience are projecting the scene on the actor so the more still you are, the more we can see. Imagine: A a film being projected on to a screen that is folded, the image will be distorted and hard to see. No flatten that screen out and the image is clearer. Think of our heads and faces as a perfect flat screen. 

How big can i be?

Whatever the space, you need to work on authenticity. Just being authentic...that's the most important thing. 

Connection is the most important thing!

In Auditions:

  • If the casting director asks for more energy, increase your articulation and projection.

  • Actor ticks don't look good on camera... It's your nerves. Be aware of your ticks.

  • In a comedy if there's any threat then it's not funny! Don't act angry, but frantic.

In regards to being off book: 

Create as much of a performance as you can. The casting director is looking for commitment, presence, and believability. Tell The Story.

You are the artist= Empowerment


Our body is our instrument

Aiming towards: Mastery

No leaning forward

Use the chair/ Rehearse both ways sitting and standing

Prepare with your chest open and your body upright

An opening moment with a Discovery looks great!

Slow down always.

Thanks SAG-AFTRA for organizing this event. If you like what you read above and want to find out more about Michael D Cohen and his audition techniques you can follow him on Facebook! @Michaeldcohenstudio