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    How can I take this monologue to the next level?
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    I've just started a scene study class; this is my monologue after a week and a half. My teacher keeps telling me to do less... How does this look? What are the glaring errors that I should work on before next class?

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    Chapelgrove Films
    Join Date
    May 2006
    North Carolina
    I thought it was really good! Very nice pacing and delivery.

    I'm not sure what your teacher is looking for. But start from the opposite end and work backwards. Go completely, totally motionless -- as though you are paralyzed from the neck down. All you can do is speak. Don't even move your head. Say everything -- every emotion -- with your voice and your eyes. Then you can start to add in the physical motions -- very limited, one by one. See if that helps.

    In my opinion it's pretty great!
    David W. Richardson
    Chapel Grove Films
    Celtic Cross Films
    Bliss Video Productions

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    Black Flag Member Melvin Harris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Houston, TX
    Are you a film actor or a theater actor?

    Just a few thoughts...

    Chris Keller is a great character. His difficulty, his guilt, and his burden of knowledge and experience is a fertile landscape from which to make choices.

    And seriously, you actually really do a lot.

    Your face is a veritable wonderland of tics and movements, why?
    Licking the lips, pulling the smirk, fluttering the lip, flexing the nose, they are just affectations.
    Do less.

    Why sigh? What is making you breathless?

    When you begin to tell the story, you emote through it instead of telling it. Help Ann understand. She has accused you of kissing her without true passion. Give her your passion. Explain the truth. When we are passionate about something there is no room for anything but the thing... It doesn't matter the delivery, just the purity of the thing.

    Why are you looking away? What do you see? What are you really looking at? How does that affect what you say? What is the effect on the listener? What is the listeners effect on you? You want Ann to understand. Why are you looking away from her? Do you need to turn your head to see past her?

    Giving your commander your last pair of dry socks is a big deal! It shows trust, respect, admiration, and a myriad of other things. It's not a whimsical or light thing. Make her understand that. Make her understand your men and their sacrifice.
    Make her understand the desolation in realizing that nobody respects that sacrifice.

    As a director, when you perform a piece that I know, I wanna know that you know what is going on around the words you say. I wanna see that your choices are informed by what has happened before those words and is going to happen after. When I audition, I audition for choice based on character, not "performance", because I am a film director and not a theater director. So, that's how I watched this.

    Again, just my thoughts. I've got more but pm me...
    You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.
    -Harlan Ellison
    ADOBE Master Collection CS6/CC and AVID Media Composer 7

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    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Thanks for the great reply pharpsied, I know there's a lot of work to be done and I'll upload a new version when I get the time, but until then I can try and explain the choices I made... I had another class the other day and I basically realized I had taken the least interesting choice and ran with it.

    About the sigh, it's this: I've been trying to push this war and my brother out of my head for the last 3 years, trying to move on and even lashing out at others for not being able to do so (really angry at my own insecurities). Now this girl wants to undo this wall I've built and start digging through the bones in my closet. She is pressing me into a corner and the sigh is saying, "fine, I guess this is where I need to finally come face to face with this." Even with my reading, I'll admit that the pause was too long.

    Now, I realize that the main problem is that I chose to feel defeated about coming back to find that nobody cared about the war and its sacrifice. I felt foolish about building this mental monument and like I've been living in a fantasy world where people would care. I was depressed about it. It still seems valid to me, but that's such a boring choice! Now I'm working on actually getting her to care. I have a mission; it isn't hopeless, but it is difficult and very important that she gets it, otherwise, how could I love and be with someone who represents the world's apathy? I like the way you put that: she's looking for passion... give it to her!

    A technical thing about the looking away, I was looking at the broken tree that represented my brother, and at the house that is this place I wanted to escape right before the scene started. I am also taking an on-camera auditioning class, and I've become much more aware of looking off-screen in general, that is, if you're going to do it you only need to look a little to the left or right. I had a tendency to go full profile, and it just looks bad, takes me out of the scene.

    Good point about the socks. I guess I did sort of breeze over that when it should have been a powerful moment. Just because I say it's "only a little thing" doesn't mean it is.

    And the tics and movements, it's a recurring problem, one of my main issues. I guess for me they just show the blanket emotion of, "conflicted." I know blankets are bad. Moving around is my fallback, and I feel it's as bad as someone who doesn't speak up or wrings their hands. Luckily the work I'm doing on this problem is slowly starting to help. Still, I feel like if I'm not thinking about them, they come out inevitably. I'm still exploring this. I hope you're right about the purity of the thing; unfortunately in my daily life I use a lot of exaggerated movements to get my points across, so I wonder if when I am truthfully living a moment whether that default behavior can be changed. Maybe David's idea will help; I'm eager to try it!

    Thanks again! I am mostly looking to do film and television, but I also find the stage very exhilarating. I know I can't do everything all at once, but I still get a little antsy when people ask me to choose. A lot to work on!

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