THE HARDEST AUDITIONS for most actors are those in which you do not speak, commonly called MOS spots. These are the spots where there is no dialogue, but a specific situation is occurring. The session director gives you a group explanation and puts everyone through the paces. Many times they are very, very specific about what they want and don’t want. Then the session director sends the actors back to the lobby and that seems to be where the actors work and preparation ends.
In my classes I always instruct actors to go deeper, to make everything personal and specific, To ask yourself the questions, who, what, where, and why.
Who are you and who are you talking to or looking at? Do you have a history? Do you have a feeling about them right now?
Where are you? Make it somewhere you know and a re familiar with. What do you see there? Be particularly specific in this regards as it will help you the most with MOS spots in grounding you. Make a quick list on a piece of paper about what is in the environment to look at. I find this the most helpful thing to making my audition feel more realistic and ground myself in the non verbal action.
What do you want? This is Acting 101. Do you need anything from the other person? Are you getting it? How do you feel about it?
Ask yourself these questions in the lobby before going in rather than talking to other actors about how many auditions they have or have not gone on.
Over the years I have found the only way to feel good about the MOS audition is to throw myself 100% into the imaginary circumstances, putting myself in the environment and making it as full and real as possible WITHOUT TALKING.
HOT TIP: Sounds are okay. Sounds are free words. An occasional Oh! Or Wow! Or a well placed AHH! Seem to really fill up the awkward space of not talking.
Try it next time and see how you feel. And let us know how it goes.
Judy Kain has been a professional actress now for 37 years, showcasing her skills and talents in over 350 commercials and in over 80 roles for film and television.
Some of her more well-known credits include a Television Series Regular on The Jackie Thomas Show and a Recurring role on the Emmy-winning show Mad Men, a role which won her a SAG Award. Her other favorite recurring credits include Married with Children, For Your Love, Grosse Pointe, and Manhattan, AZ with Chad Everett. She has done numerous guest appearances on the hit shows Modern Family, The Middle, Bones, Castle, Scrubs, Desperate Housewives, ER, Seinfeld, The District, The West Wing, NYPD Blue, Friends, and The Drew Carey Show just to name a few. Her teaching career has also lead to immense success, being voted BACKSTAGE WEST'S FAVORITE ON-CAMERA COMMERCIAL TEACHER IN LA in 2010 and 2011. Her other acting classes have won BACKSTAGE WEST'S FAVORITE IN LA as well, and continue to produce amazing results for her students. She teaches Advanced Callback, Commercial A to Z and Commercial Wednesday Workouts.