“IT” is one of those intangible qualities that can be hard to describe. “IT” is a knowingness, a belief in yourself that comes across in what you are saying. It’s being present to what you are saying. It’s a sense of being free to have a conversation with someone else with no other concerns in the background vying for your attention.
One aspect of IT is having a presence. It’s a quality that some people have naturally, and ALL people have the capacity to expand from what is naturally there for them. It’s a way of being totally present in a given moment, a way that gives off big, positive energy.
This unnamable quality can be described, but it can never be fully captured in words. However, here are the some tips will help you develop more of this quality.
1. Be likeable, friendly.
Very simply put, people in the film and TV industry are especially big on working with people they like. For each and every job, from acting to handling the camera, there are many talented, skilled people vying for the job.
On top of that, the measure of skill and talent of most jobs in this industry is very subjective. It’s not like math, where if you get the answers right, you’re good at it, and if you get them wrong, you’re bad at it.
Except for a few talented-off-the-chart-types, talent is subjective, and it is amazing how much better an actor you will seem to be to someone who likes you versus someone who dislikes you. Given this subjectivity, the decision about whether you’re hired or not is automatically due in part to whether someone likes you and wants to work with
As long as they think you are competent, then when you’re also friendly and likeable, you’re much more likely to get the job than someone they don’t like. Personality sells in this business. It starts with being friendly and likeable.
2. Let yourself be seen.
When you pitch yourself as an actor, YOU are the product you’re selling, so you have to let them see the real authentic you!
What you provide as an actor is a willingness and openness to be seen. Although you may prefer to be seen through your characters – what you give to your audience is that you feel the emotions for them.
Letting yourself be seen in an authentic way does not mean to tell everything you know and to be honest about “everything.” It’s a willingness to let your humanity be seen – true emotions, feelings, and aliveness –by being fully present when you are talking to the agent, not self-conscious.
It does not mean expressing your opinions loudly and telling people know what you think. You let yourself be seen, not by WHAT you say, but by HOW you say it and where you are coming from when you say it.
It comes through as you reveal yourself subtly, not by talking about yourself, but by BEING yourself. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.” You job, so to speak, is to reveal who you are as you talk about anything.
3. Enter the room as a distinct human being, not being like everyone else.
Be charismatic by being distinct! Have opinions about things. Be specific. Walk in knowing who you are and what you think about things. If you don’t know, then start THINKING and formulate opinions about things.
Express your opinions, but be friendly and playful. It doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong, but express yourself with conviction and at least a degree of logic.
Speaking with conviction when you talk is to speak like whatever you’re saying is a fact, like it’s the God’s honest truth. Speaking with passion and conviction is often very charismatic if you’re not making any one feel put down or wrong.
4. Own the place when you go in, yet respect that it is their place.
You’re not running the show, but you are there as a peer discussing whether there is a fit for the two of you to work together.
Every time you pitch yourself or discuss work opportunities with someone, you are giving a little mini-performance. It’s your chance to breathe life into someone else, to stir their emotions as you talk with them.
Although this doesn’t have to do with showing your acting abilities, you start creating opportunities to work by first being someone they would like to work with.
If you find it hard to be “on” when you go into an office, think of pitching as playing the role of “an actor selling herself to an agent.”
5. Make the agent feel they can trust you.
The talent agent who is considering taking you on has three questions on their mind when they interview you. They want to know:
- Are you castable right now?
- Can they trust you to deliver the work on the set when you are shooting?
- Are you going to be easy to work with?
These three questions lead to you working and making money. If you can help them answer “yes,” you handle some very important concerns for them. So make sure your casting is clear and that it comes through in your headshot.
Establish your credibility in terms of the work to give them confidence that you can deliver. Be sure to show that you are easy to work with. Start that by being easy to be around in their office.
Hope that helps and gives you some ideas on having more of ”IT!”