Are you bad at text analysis? Listen up!

actor audition text analysis Aug 01, 2022

If you an Actor then you already know that it’s great to get an audition and a callback but it’s even better to book the role.

One way to consistently get more call backs and book more roles is to get good at analysing the text.

That’s why in today’s episode I am sharing with you my simple and very effective way to breakdown those words on the page.


By the time you finish listening, you’ll know:

• The reason why you may not be getting that call back or booking that role
• How to serve the character and the script writer in your text analysis
• The difference between text and subtext

Ready to master the American accent?

Register for my FREE training on The 4 Steps To Mastering The American Accent:

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Then follow me on Instagram to go 'behind the scenes' with me and my own journey as an American accent coach and Voiceover Actor.




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Katherine Beck
You're listening to the All American actors Podcast, episode 73. In today's episode, I want to know if you're bad at text analysis. You know, like when you get an audition, do you struggle to make strong choices that will get you that callback? Well, if so, then this episode is for you. That's coming up next. Ready to go behind the scenes and learn what it really takes to build a sustainable career as a working actor in the US film and TV industry. Join me Katherine Beck, your all American accent coach, as I give you the insight and inspiration to take action on your career, learn my best tips and tricks to performing with an American accent and hear from working actors and other industry professionals. To give you a comprehensive overview of this biz we call showbiz. This is the All American actors podcast. Before we get started, I want to remind you that I have a brand new training out called the four steps to mastering the American accent. So you can attract the attention of agents, casting directors book those us film and TV roles, and become that a lowest working actor you dream to be. And if you are out there, and you know that your American accent is like that one thing that is holding you back in your acting career, well, then you're going to learn so much in this training, all you need to do is head over to Katherine, forward slash training to check it out. And after you watch, let me know what you think. And speaking of letting me know what you think if you are a regular listener of the show, and you're loving this podcast, and want to continue to hear more episodes like these and please take a moment out of your busy day. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts. Because when you do that not only gives me great insight into what you think of the show, but it also helps Apple rank the podcast and get heard by more actors out there all across the world. All takes us about 30 seconds. And when you do that, just take a screenshot share it with me on Instagram stories, and you'll get featured here on the show as well. So if you're loving this podcast, go ahead and leave us a review. All right, I want to share a story with you my first recollection of learning text analysis all the way back in high school. I was a part of the theater group, the theater crew and my high school was pretty amazing. When it came to the theater department. We did like I don't know something like eight shows a year I think and the sets the costumes, the production value, everything was always so high quality and our acting classes. We have the greatest acting teachers from memory and let me see if I can come up with some of the names we had Mr. Rottenberg who was so sweet, so kind and a really amazing acting teacher learn so much from him. Then there was Mr. Estrin Bob Estefan, he was also one of the directors I think he also was a bit of an acting teacher and he was one of the heads of the stage crew. Really great guy, Miss marks. She was part of our musical department. So we did what we called choir opera. She was the director of our choir opera shows every year we did one in junior and senior year, she was believably amazing. And then there was Mr. Baum heart. I know I'm probably missing a couple of other teachers like I can see their faces and I feel so badly that I can't remember their names because they were such a big part of my high school experience. But the last one was Mr. Baum hearts. And I remember I was so scared of him because he just locked in seem so serious. And I know that he had that gentle side to him as well, but I think it was serious is because he took theater seriously. You know, he really was somebody who appreciated the craft of acting. And I think he wanted just the best out of his students. And he can't really appreciate that or really understand that until you get older right? You know, sometimes you think teachers are scary and you don't know why. But I didn't know that he wasn't like scary in a bad way. I was just he was so serious. And I think I felt like I didn't feel comfortable always approaching him and asking questions, but I greatly respected him. I thought he was an amazing teacher. And so he was my AP drama class in senior year he was our teacher and I think that's when I first remember learning about beats and actions and analyzing the text and, and it was in December 2019 Just right before the the world changed as we know it. I was back home at my brother's house and he had a box of a lot of things that I left at my mom's house she moved away from where we grew up. And so he had it at his house. I was going through old papers, things from high school, so many memories coming back and I found my old notes from this class, analyzing the text and gosh Wow, what a fool lot of memories that came back of me as a young actor, and just looking at my penmanship and my notes, you could see how badly I wanted to do a good job. And I was really eager to learn and do everything right and correctly. And it made me realize, you know, so often as actors, we want to get it right. We want to do a good job, because we want to book the role. And so I think often what we do is we're thinking about, what does the other person want? What does that casting director want was my agent want? What does the producer want? What does that person that's going to book me want? What are they looking for, instead of flipping it, and really making it about us, because, of course, there are certain things, you know, that potentially they're looking for in the role. But there's that one thing that they can never fully look for in the role. It's that sort of invisible thing that's there and helps you book the role. But isn't there in the audition, character description, right. And it's those actors that bring that invisible thing to the role? Well, those are the ones that really stand out. And it made me realize just how often we put this extra pressure on ourselves to consider the other person and what they're wanting from us. And I remember in my, you know, late teens, so I started auditioning professionally when I was 17, and got my first agent. And I really quickly started going towards my instincts, less of like what I learned in high school from Mr. Baum heart, and just going off of my instincts, because my instincts were really strong, and they would get me callbacks, but they weren't booking me the role. And so that was a real good lesson for me is that instincts are great. But it's all that preparation, ahead of the instincts that really needs to be put in place. So in my late 20s, I finally got that lesson was like, okay, tired of wasting so much time, I need to take a text analysis class, and I took one, and I was crap. I was so bad and text analysis. I just felt so lost and confused, and really didn't understand the process. And I don't know if it's just like, I'm a slow learner, or I was getting in my own way. But I just felt like I was making really weak choices, average choices, never the strongest choice, you know, when the teacher would say, we'd be breaking down the text, and he'd be asking us questions about the choices we made, and then telling us what would be the strongest choice. Very rarely did I get that strongest choice. And not only that, I didn't really like see where the teacher was getting that from, I couldn't quite understand why it was the strongest choice. And I would always just leave class feeling stupid. Like, am I ever gonna get this? Am I ever going to be good at text analysis? Will I ever stand out in the audition? Will I ever book another roll again? I mean, of course, yes. But I it just didn't come easy to me. It makes me chuckle because then years later, when I started coaching, and I was on the other side of the script, and I wasn't putting my attention towards auditioning and getting the roll, it got so much easier. It got so much easier. Because I was getting out of my own way, I realized that I was putting so much pressure on myself to get it right to think of the strongest choice, the most interesting choice. Think of what the other person wanted, that I lost sight of doing the work following a process and thinking of it in a specific and certain way. So So coaching was like the greatest gift for me. And even though I don't, you know, regularly audition for on camera or stage work anymore, I am still doing voiceover. So there is you know, the potential in the voiceover field to be doing voice auditions. So there is some, you know, analysis work that comes into being a voiceover actor. And it's so much easier now. And so often what I do with my actors, you know, a lot of people think of me as an American accent coach, and they get so surprised when they work with me because they realize I'm so much more. And it's always a funny moment when I'm working with a student one on one and they go, Oh, you're like an acting coach. Wait, hang on. You're way more than a dialect coach. And I go, yes, yes, I am. Because I think that's actually one of the problems in the acting industry, is that, you know, when I was growing up, we had an acting teacher, a voice teacher, a movement teacher, an improv teacher. I write all the different subjects, we had a different teacher kind of like when you go to school, you've got history, science, math, English. But here's the thing, when you are crafting a character, when you have an audition, or you're preparing for a role, you can't really separate all these things, you don't have time to go consult with an acting coach and a dialect coach, and a voice coach, and a movement coach, and an on camera Coach, I know you don't have time for all of that. And what the actor needs, when you're working with a good coach is somebody who gets that someone who can support you, and all the facets, all the things that are involved with booking that role. And so that's my job. And that's what I do with my students. And so a big part of what I do when I teach is text analysis. And I think that I've got a very actually, I know, I know that I have a very specific and unique process to text analysis, which you're welcome to learn all about, I teach inside of all American voice as well as my monthly workout group ultimate screen actor. And I'm going to share a little bit the greater picture of it for you today. Because I think it's important for you to think of your text analysis in sort of two phases, or two stages, or two sections, however you want to think about it, we have two jobs as the actor when you get an audition, or you're preparing for a role. And it's this, firstly, we want to serve the character. That's our job as the actor playing that role is to serve the character. And that's where a lot of the experience and the learnings that you've done leading up to this audition are likely already there and present in your process. You know, your actions, your beats, your moments, your transitions, the obstacle of the character, the characters, objective, all of that good stuff that you've likely already learned. That's serving the character. And that's definitely a part of your text analysis. But there's also serving the story. And this is a huge part of text analysis, which I think a lot of actors tend to forget about. Because we get so wrapped up in the character, so wrapped up in the creative, so wrapped up in the emotion, that we forget about the story. And the story is key, the story is so important. And that's what you know, some of the people that are booking you for that role they're going to be looking at, do they understand the story? Do they understand how to take us on a journey? Do they understand how to break down this text specifically for this role? Do they see those key moments on the page? And can they bring those two life. So the story is so important to your text analysis. Now, those are the two things story and character. And if we break down our text analysis, even further, there's two parts to that as well. There's the text, the actual words on the page. And there is the subtext, the unspoken words that aren't on the page, but are certainly there. So this is the beautiful role of the actor, is to balance the two. And to know how to do that is to be able to think without emotion, think rationally, and really dissect the script like a detective and look for those facts. And where most actors get in trouble is they allow their emotions to creep in when they're analyzing the text. And I totally get it because when you get an audition, you want to do a good job. You know, there's that nervousness, that excitement, feeling of wanting to book that role. There's feelings, there's emotions bubbling underneath the surface. And that can often get in the way of the choices that we make on the page. You think, Well, what's wrong with that? Don't you want to find the emotions and what's going on with the character and and start to like, feel and live and breathe? What's going on? lifted off the page? Yes. And you are going to do that. But you're going to save that for the performance. But if you're letting a motion, help you to make decisions, well, then you're getting yourself in trouble. Think about it like this. I want you to think about a time when you were really emotional. Let's say a time where you're so angry. You're so upset at something or someone can you think of a time you got it in your head. Okay, good. Now, in that moment, were you thinking rationally cheers says are no, right? You are not thinking rationally, you were highly emotional. And you probably made decisions or choices or said something that you didn't mean, because you are emotional. So think about that. Why would you want to be emotional? When you're breaking down the script? Could that be getting in the way of you making the strongest choice? The most interesting choice, the choice that will stand out, the emotion comes later. We got to think like a detective when we're breaking down the text. So two things, you want to be looking for the text and the subtext, you want to be breaking down the lines for the character and serving the story, serving that screenwriter, or that script writer, play writer, whoever wrote it, because we've got to serve the writer, always. All right, so take that and start playing around with those ideas. Those concepts next time you're doing a little text analysis, and see how you go now if you want to dive deeper into your text analysis, and learn more about the American character, and the All American accent, you're more than welcome to join me for my free training. As I shared earlier in the episode, all you have to do is head over to Katherine Ford slash training and I'll see you there and don't forget to let me know if you loved this episode. Take a screenshot of the show. Share it with me on Instagram stories and tag me in it at Catherine underscore Beck underscore, you can find me there you got any questions or topics you'd like to hear me talk about in the podcast? Send me a DM and let me know. Now make sure to share the show with all your actor friends. Let them know what's coming up next week and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become an All American actor. So you can be the Working Actor you dream to be until then go practice your American accent and I'll see you back here next time.