Me Against the Monologues

Monologues. Every actor or actress will have to do them at one point. Especially if you want to audition for acting schools there’s no way around it. I was never any good at monologues. I never really quite knew what to do with them, how to make them interesting or “good.” I auditioned two times for the Theatre School in Amsterdam with a monologue, but without success. I told myself that it didn’t mean I sucked at acting. One of the most successful actresses my age in the Netherlands didn’t get through the

first round of auditions either after all. Maybe there was just a big difference between acting on film and theatre acting.

And there is. But despite all that I have to admit I just didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t take it seriously enough. Monologues scared me to death, to be honest. Standing there by yourself, acting off of nothing or off a camera with four people watching your every move? I can feel my hands get clammy already! But this week I finally beat the monologues…Having been rejected by the Theatre School twice, I thought: let’s try the Film Actor’s Academy then. Less prestigious and old but building up a nice reputation. And I did want to be a film actress after all. Not completely motivated to actually enroll but more to prove something to myself I applied.

Audition at Film Actor’s Academy: Attempt Number One
I received my monologue a couple of weeks later and another two weeks later I was doing my monologue on camera before the admission committee. While I thought it went okay, yet another rejection was dumped in my mailbox afterwards. On the feedback form there two boxes: acting talent and filmgenic. I had a ± in filmgenic and a – in acting talent. Now, you might wonder why I’m even writing this blog with experiences and tips if I’m such a complete disaster of an actress, but hang on…The feedback form also said I should do the introductory acting course at the academy first.

At first I didn’t really want to do it because it was expensive, I felt I was past the stage of introductory courses and was basically really doubting my abilities. But I did it anyway. Mostly because that successful Dutch actress my age I mentioned before had also done it. And it’s one of the best choices I ever made. Because in the 15 weeks the course lasted all the things I had learned in previous courses and workshops (like these and these). finally started to click.

And the response was awesome. People complimented me on my skills and for the first time I got some confidence in my acting abilities. Some confirmation. Because even though I had done some successful auditions for film and TV, the reality for any actor is 90% rejection. Especially because I had no formal training sometimes I just felt like I had no idea if I was any good. And when you’re acting it’s so important to have confidence, because if you don’t have that you can never go to the extremes that scenes sometimes require. You can never scream or cry. You can’t make the scene seem important.

After the 15 week course was done we were given the option to audition for the main course (French fries with steak please!). I was quite nervous about this, since I had been rejected previously, with quite negative feedback. But of course, as an actress you have to keep going, so I applied again.

Audition at the Film Actor’s Academy: Attempt Number Two
And last Wednesday was the big day. I didn’t get off to the best start, since I had lost my monologue in the train. But luckily the admission committee sent it to me again after I e-mailed them. The night before the audition though, I suddenly realized that along with the monologue I had forgotten the letter with the information about the time and location as well! I know, I’m such a loser (literally! ;p) So I set my alarm clock at 08.30AM and called them to ask at what time I had to come again. Fortunately for me it wasn’t at 09.00 or 10.00, because then I wouldn’t have been able to make it. It was at 11.30.

So I got up, put on more make-up than I like to prevent getting a ± in the “filmgenic” category again and started rehearsed my monologue again. And then I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to bring a pass photo. Which I didn’t have. So I stopped rehearsing and speeded off to get pictures, and then off to the Film Actor’s Academy.

After a quick exchange of forms it was time. The big moment.I walked into a dark class room where three people were sitting behind a table, all smiling in that polite way audition people always do. Kind of like they pity you. Maybe they do. I had to do a quick introduction and then it was “camera’s rolling….and action!” I did my monologue, and as soon as they said “cut”  I tried to read their faces. Which I couldn’t. Still the polite smiles.

I was waiting for a direction so I could do it a second time but before I could stress about that they said: “Thank you. I think we have seen enough.” BAM! Go chew on that! Almost everyone I knew had to do it twice, so either that was really positive or really negative. It was either fantastic-we-don’t-even-need-to-see-anything-more or that-was-so-bad-we’re-not-even-giving-you-a-second-chance. I had to really prevent myself from running back in and demanding the result.

And yesterday I got the result. With clammy hands I opened the envelope, dreading the We-regret-to-inform-you-thanksbutnothanks words. But they weren’t there. I got “We are delighted to inform you!” I made it through the first round! This time there was a plus both in the “acting talent” and “filmgenic” category!

Now it’s on to the second round. I need to prepare a funny, Dutch film monologue. Anyone has any recommendations?So, to everyone who has ever been rejected for acting school, just work hard, study and one day you’ll get your happy day! All the best of luck!

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7 responses to “Me Against the Monologues

  1. Janice

    Monologen… Ja ze zijn niet erg leuk. Het is net als het leren van een bepaald vak op school voor een toets (bijvoorbeeld Geschiedenis)
    Stampen, hoofdpunten arceren en lees het sowieso elke avond tenminste één keer door. Ik heb ook regelmatig monologen met mijn stuk, en nja… het is echt stampen soms. Vooral van die hele lange 😛

    Met dialogen heb ik een soort van tel- en “inlevingstechniek”. Ik tel dan meestal het aantal mensen dat wat zegt voordat ik weer aan de beurt ben, en met die “inlevingstechniek” bedoel ik dat je je zoveel mogelijk verdiept in je personage, zodat de zinnen die je moet zeggen logische reacties zijn op je tegenspelers. En natuurlijk ook gewoon elke avond sowieso één keer doorlezen. Werk voor mij altijd ^^

    • Hi Janice, dat is zeker handig. Maar soms heb je dus “blote” monologen die je moet doen bij audities voor toneelscholen en dan heb je geen tegenspelers om van af te werken. Maar stampen is altijd een must!

  2. Achraf Jabri

    Ik snap eigenlijk nog steeds niet zo goed wat monologen zijn, welke er allemaal zijn en wanneer je ze moet gebruiken?
    Kun je me wat informatie hierover geven?

    • Monologen zijn stukken tekst geschreven voor 1 persoon, dus een scene die je helemaal alleen moet spelen. Je hebt klassieke, van oude toneelstukken vaak in ouderwets taalgebruik zoals Shakespeare etc. en je hebt moderne, van nieuwe toneelstukken en films. Om toneelscholen binnen te komen moet je vaak in de eerste auditieronde een monoloog voorbereiden. Meestal zelfs 2, een klassieke en een moderne.

  3. Achraf Jabri

    ah oke! Het is nu al een stuk duidelijker, bedankt!Zijn er ook boeken waar monologen instaan?

  4. prive

    ik lees nog steeds geen acteer tips, waar kan ik die vinden ?

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