Disney Acting vs. Real Acting

After sitting behind the audition table for several years and hundreds if not thousands of auditions, I’ve started to notice that the acting style young people present usually falls into one of three categories:

1) Realistic Acting – It is rare to see realistic actors in high school auditions, but those who do present their material in a direct, realistic way usually get in.

2) I’m terrified – These are usually the students who have had no guidance on acting and are not really thrilled by the thought of standing in front of a panel of strangers and performing an acting scene solo. These are becoming a little more rare than they used to be.

3) Over Acting – This category of actors has been exploding lately. They flail all over the place, they try to be funny, and their auditions are often embarrassing to watch.

One day my wife and I were flipping through TV channels and we stopped on the Disney channel and the Hannah Montana channel as a joke. But then we started to watch and we had a revelation, the actors we are seeing in auditions are mimicking the acting styles on Disney shows! To test our “hypothesis” we watched iCarly and more recently Jessie, and sure enough the acting is almost always over the top and ridiculous. Are these shows funny to teenagers? Obviously they must be or they wouldn’t be on the air. However, for most adults they are not funny and since adults are the audience you are auditioning for you need to consider what it means to be an adult/real actor.

I edited the following video to help you understand what we are seeing on the other side of the table and what we are looking for. The first clip is from “Jessie” and the second is from an HBO series called “The Newsroom.” I’ve placed notes at the bottom of each scene. I encourage you to watch it through a few times. First, take in the scenes as a viewer, then go back and pause the video to read the notes. After you’ve read all the notes, watch it a third time and see what other information you can gather on your own.

Wishing you all the best in your future auditions!