On my website I say;

“You will hear from me what you need to hear. It may not be what you want to hear.”

Recently I sent a young actor some feedback on a monologue he had filmed for me. My critique was honest and as I am inclined to be, blunt.

His response surprised me. He said “I have been to many classes and workshops and all I get is a pat on the back. This is the first real feedback I have ever had”

So, what do I look for in a monologue or scene? I am not an acting coach. I don’t go delving into technique. I look at the surface as an audience would.

Do I understand every word, or did I miss the point of the scene due to poor enunciation?

Can I see your eyes and are they engaged in the scene and with the other character or are they looking inward for the next line?

Is it easy to watch or is it filmed against a plain background like an audition……or in a room with an echo? Set the scene – it will hold your audience and lend a bit of “believability”.

Was it a scene taken from a TV show or film? If so, did I immediately start comparing it to the original? This is the “kiss of death” for a scene. Be original.

Impress me. Be unique.

Am I involved in the scene or a bystander? Am I waiting for the end with anticipation or watching the seconds tick by till it finally ends?

Was watching it a pleasure or a chore?

I want to thank this young actor – he has motivated me to be better at what I do.

Sometimes, I hesitate to be fully honest with my clients. I know it is going to hurt. I feel bad doing it. Sometimes I don’t do it – I can’t find the words.

But the truth is if you don’t know what is wrong you can’t get better. I could pat you on the back too. But it wouldn’t help anyone.

I want my critique, my comments, my advice to motivate you to take action. As an actor you are always a work in progress. You can always be better, do better.

The young actor whose response motivated this post took my critique and advice and is using it to take action. That action will surely drive him to success.

He also ended his email with a quote from Tom Hanks –

“You learn more from getting your butt kicked than getting it kissed.”