Are you wanting to book the next audition you go on?
Is that a YES I hear? Well then it’s time to learn how to tell a story that engages your audience!
“The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.“ Cecil B. DeMille
An actor’s job is to tell a story, and the way you tell it can be the difference of either costing you the part or getting you to book it.
Storytelling is an art! People love great stories! But since good storytelling is so hard to do, many actors fail at giving their audiences a memorable experience!
Here Are 6 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Telling A Story, and Tips to Use to AVOID THEM!
1. Sharing Too Much Detail
This is a common mistake I see 90% of the time when an actor tells a story. An actor needs to discipline themselves when sharing details because an audience will get bored quickly once you are giving them way more information than they need to know. It is your job to feel their energy and sense their disconnect! I am always amazed when someone is telling a story, that is going and on and on and on, without realizing they have lost their audience minutes ago!
TIP: If your details are not absolutely necessary towards advancing your story- get rid of them! We don’t need to hear it! We are only interested in the important stuff that drives your story and gets us to care! This takes discipline and awareness to know what to include and what to eliminate. Remember: Less detail is better- even for us Writers!
2. Making Excuses For Your Story Before You Even Begin Telling it!
“My story is weird.” “I am not sure this is a good story, but I am going to tell it anyway.” “I am not sure this is the story you wanted, but…”
TIP: Eliminate these excuses as you have already lost your audience when you begin this way. It shows you have no confidence in your story! If you don’t want to tell it, why should we want to listen to it? Start strong, energetic, and be excited to share!
3. Telling Us Instead of Showing Us!
Telling all the details and facts are not necessarily going to interest and transport us into the world of your story. Simply stating what happened leads to mundane storytelling.
TIP: Use sensory words instead! Get us to taste, feel, see, hear and smell your world. Show it to us, don’t just tell us about it. Create a picture for us so that we can see it with you! Replace mundane words with evocative ones!
4. Telling Your Story in Chronological Order!
Big mistake! Huge! I know you may want to argue me on this one, but it is much harder to captivate us when you start from the very beginning and take every little step to get to the end. It will honestly bore us. A good story teller has a responsibility to organize the story so that it follows a path of meaning, not one of sequential order!
TIP: Instead, start at the Key Moment! Grab us right away! All your steps are going to confuse us anyway, and we probably won’t know where you are going with your story. Just direct us right there from the start! If you want to engage us, start with the best you got, and then keep making it better!
5. Fear of Revealing What Your Audience Wants Most!
If you are telling us a story about you, which I hope you are, you may fail to give us what we really want! Most storytellers do not want to show themselves in a bad light. Instead they show us why they are the hero or have been misunderstood. Big Mistake!
Tip: Do you really want to grab your audience and book the role at your next audition? Don’t just show you at your best. Be willing to show you at your worst! If you cannot do this through your own personal storytelling, you will certainly struggle doing this when you play another character! We go to the theatre and watch films to see human beings struggle and fail. We are riveted by the stories you instinctively want to shy away from telling. But, those are the ones you should tell! Those are the ones we really want to hear about!
6. TIMING IS OFF!
Timing is so important to the art of story telling. Some actors forget the importance of varying the pace and rhythm of their story.
TIP: Add a pause! When? Before the most important part of your story is revealed. Right before you get to how the problem is solved, add a pause or beat. This will fill your audience with expectations and excitement as they wait for what you will say next. Also, be sure to vary the pace and tone of your story. Use your voice in different ways to avoid being monotone. And use your pauses powerfully!
Want to Master the Art of Storytelling?
Then, try the implementing the 6 tips above.
Also, make sure to structure your story into 3 clear parts.
THE BEGINNING: This is where you set up your story and give your audience just enough context. Set it up by telling us where and when it takes place. If you do not set it up where we understand what is happening, you will lose us- your audience. But don’t bombard your audience with so many details either. Remember, less is more!
THE MIDDLE: This is where the problem is introduced. How are you going to get your audience hooked by the conflict of your story? First, you must make clear what the problem is. Then, you have to show why your protagonist has to really overcome this problem. The stakes should be high. If not, honestly, this is not a story worth telling. We want stories that are filled with tension, not ones withproblems that are easy to solve and overcome. What fun is in that! THE END: This is where your story is resolved! This is why we kept watching- to see how your story ends- happily, tragically, hopeful, regretful…etc. However if your beginning and middle does not hook us from the start, no one will really care about how you end your story.
NOW GO OUT THERE AND TELL GREAT STORIES, because…