Male, Japanese, Mid 20’s. An ex-retail salesman who just moved to the states. SUPPORTING. MUST BE ABLE TO PULL OFF GENUINE JAPANESE ACCENT.
Tomorrow I have a bunch more auditions, two for short films and another for a SAG commercial. I’ll be doing my audition checklist for both of these beginning with Hiro in Two Lunes. As an actor it is always important to continually push yourself out of your comfort zone because that is when you grow the most. Well, perhaps that stems to much more than just as an actor — but everything in life as well. My point is, I’ve never tackled a Japanese accent before. But does that mean I won’t try? I spent a few hours today youtubing and imitating accents, and now realize the importance of being an Asian-American actor and speaking with foreign Asian accents. Not because we should take roles that make fun of Asian accents, but instead the fact is, there is a huge number of Asian immigrants to the United States which have English as their second language. A Japanese businessman that just moved here is not going to speak fluently in English. That’s just a fact. So to create truthful behavior in the imaginary world of the script, we have to be real to ourselves and our character.
We start with the most basic question:
1. Who Am I?
In an audition situation, make adjustments to yourself. Do not do character work unless you can be that character naturally and easily. You must be the same character at the interview. Remember the audition begins when you sign in.
My name is Hiro, and am I a 25 year old computer salesman from Japan. I was very successful in Japan, and graduated from the University of Tokyo with a degree in marketing and sales. I gradated at the age of 22, and within three years I was already making a significant amount of money: 4,788,000 Japanese Yen, roughly $60,000 USD. However, I began to ask myself if this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. To be a salesman? No. I wanted something more… to explore… this is my first time in America where everything is new and unfamiliar to me. I’ve always had a strong sense of community and control — finally I can get out of my comfort zone. In other words, I was having an identity crisis.
2. Moment Before?
The 3 questions
Where have I been (Creates the past):
I was just eating breakfast at the hostel. I had a very American style breakfast with scrambled eggs, wheat toast. [By the way, this is an example of specificity, it is incredibly important as an actor to be specific in everything, because it also creates specific behavior — that’s called a character choice by the way!]
Where am I now? (Puts you in the present moment):
Since the script specifically says that I am in a hostel now, immediately I was connected on a personal level and I can use substitution to bring more specificity in this scene. When I was in China at the age of seventeen, I stayed at the Far East International Youth Hostel in Beijing. For Hiro, this is a new experience in a new country and culture. At that time, for Sheldon, it was also a new experience in a new country and culture. I can now draw from the excitement of my previous experiences and feed it into this scene. For example, even though it was just a plain ordinary youth hostel, everything excited me because of my curiosity of the unknown — by the way, a basic human need: understanding. There was a chipmunk in a cage, and I remember being there with my ex-girlfriend and being so utterly engaged by it. I note this because if I were in America and saw a chipmunk in a cage I would hardly think twice to look at it for over a minute.
What’s the first thing I need? (Propels you into action — the future).
I want to know more about this young lady who is described as:
[ SIYEON ]
Female, Korean, Mid 20’s. Just immigrated from Korea. Somewhat meek-looking but strong and independent with an appearance of maturity beyond her years. LEAD. MUST SPEAK KOREAN.
I find this woman interesting and attractive. I want to know what she’s doing at the hostel and learn more about where she is from. I’m a bit lonely after moving here all by myself and don’t even have a cellular phone yet.
3. When does the scene take place
It takes place a hostel in New York. It’s morning, autumn and a bit chilly. There’s not many other people up yet because it is early in the morning. I’m drinking a black coffee, no sugar or cream and just finished breakfast.
4. What is my problem?
I’m unhappy with being a salesman. I want more. Maybe it is just the experience of the unknown. But I also want to something to spark my life. As I ask Siyeon in the script: I have an identity crisis. Do you know what that is?”
5. What is my scene objective?
I want to win over Siyeon. She might be the spark I’ve been looking for.
6. What is my obstacle?
My obstacle is Siyeon has a boyfriend.
7. Pick two or three actions to play.
To win over. To befriend.
To all people, places or things mentioned and especially to the other actor or the reader! Love or hate unless you can play subtleties.
I love Siyeon. She is love at first sign. And I hate her boyfriend because he is an obstacle to me getting what I want with Siyeon.
What do I discover in the scene? What surprises me?
I discover that Siyeon has been in a really long relationship.
What do you find funny? What do you do to make the other characters laugh?
I find American backpackers in Japan funny because they come there knowing no language or culture. However, I’m also envious of this.
Did you take a risk in this audition?