Asked on Quora: What is the best way for an aspiring actor to land a villain role?
Answer by Enna Morgan:
Dec 2015 – working on my ‘villain’ character!
As with everything in life, there is no sine qua non with regards to landing an acting role, or a particular type of role. You simple have to go through the process of sussing out what works for you…..you have to find your way. I will let the Bodhisattva in me respond to this question about finding “the way.”
There is no magic formula. You must learn the dualistic path of what does not work (and for Heaves’s sake, learn it through the mistakes of others!) vis-a-vis what does work. Then once you have a handle on that middle path, tailor it to what works for you in particular. Hone it, shape it, and formulate your own recipe (and when you become successful, bottle that shit and sell it!)…..that’s how I’ve autodidactically learnt most things in life.
I will pass on what I (1) have gleaned over the years (in acting and other areas of auditioning/ interviewing), (2) learned from some of the best instructors (3) learned from some of the top actors in the business (4) learned from a few renown casting agents.
- If you want to be seen as suitable for a particular role, villain in this case, then your task is to convince the casting director to see you in that role. Meaning that at your audition, you should act, speak and look like a villian. Now I am not suggesting that you should don on a Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow outfit!……use your common sense….oops, I mean rare sense.
- If that is definitively the role you would like to pursue, then study those types of characters in the movies. Study their mannerisms, their looks, their attitude, and even their processes (read about them, learn how they did it). Then use that to fashion your own style. Try not to slavishly duplicate others, or you will be just a cliché (and no one wants that!); be yourself.
- Instead of clogging up your reel or online profile with needless and lengthy videos (which only you think is groovy), use specific clips that show you in the role that you want directors / casting directors to see you in. Then when you send out your online résumé, insert a hyperlink to those clips. Make sure they are short and shows precisely what you want them to see, casting directors receive thousands of submisisons (for the good roles), and time is critical. So, you’ll have just a few seconds to WOW them!
- Sign up with Backstage and if you are really serious, Actors Access. They both require a subscription, but Backstage is cheaper. AA is free, but there is a price to pay to be seen. Here is a link that can give you a bit of the inside scoop:
- Find the shows/ films you’d like to be in, study them, practise monologues from them, craft your own characters, then remake that scene. Post those videos on your online profile/ website.
- Connect with casting directors who are casting the types of shows/ films you’d like to be on and get in their feed. USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR BENEFIT RATHER THAN AS A SHOW & TELL FORUM (nothing wrong with show and tell, but using for both purposes optimises the service. And once you narrow down who (casting director) you may want to schmooze with (pick several), attend their workshops, accept extra roles, volunteer work, and whatever gets you in front of them. The objective is to be seen! You will never get hired unless you are seen. And on that note…..
- Audition, audition, audition! Enough said. Oh, um, did I mention audition?