Over the film festival weekend, actor Jim Parsons joined Joel McHale, Taissa Farmiga, and John Cho on stage at a Sundance event hosted by The Hollywood Reporter. In the hour-long chat, the foursome discussed the ins and outs of acting.
If You Finish The Script, It Must Be Good
First things first, if the script is good enough to finish, it may be good enough to audition for. There are a lot of bad scripts out there, so just getting through one is the first phase.
In addition, Taissa Farmiga added that when you finish the script and want to read more, it’s time to prep for an audition.
“If You Want To Be Part Of It…” Said Jim Parsons
Obviously, the next step depends on seeing yourself within the pages of the script. Not every script has a character for every actor. In one example, Jim Parsons once auditioned for Barney on How I Met Your Mother, but it wasn’t the part for him. With Hidden Figures on the other hand, he knew he wanted the role.
Is The Character Truly Believable?
After you start to see yourself portraying the character, you have to decide if that character is actually believable. For Jim Parsons, that means grounding Sheldon Cooper in a realistic manner, even if he seems unrealistic.
Ironically, Amy Farrah Fowler made Sheldon the most realistic.
The Collaboration May Not Be What You Pictured
Next, whether or not you get the role, it’s important to see that collaboration is the only way to work. Parsons said that if another actor gets the role (Neil Patrick Harris as Barney), you can take notice at how they portray the role. This is also true for collaborations where thoughts on a character may change.
In addition, it’s important to go with what’s more interesting than initial thoughts on a subject or character.
Know That You Are Part Of The Whole
“You are one small part of it, even if your part happens to be huge,” said Jim Parsons. Despite his super success on The Big Bang Theory, the actor understands that his role on the sitcom is still a portion of the team sport that is the series.
Collaboration Can Be Good Even If It’s Bad
Then, Jim Parsons made it clear that not all communication is verbal. The actors on stage also added that they can feel like a director is great even if they’re not liked. Sometimes, it’s important to do what’s best for the project.
You’re Going To Feel Like A Fraud
Like any other job, there is always going to be a point where you feel like a fraud. Sometimes you feel good, but other times you feel like you’re over your head. This is true for auditions as well as job offers. Either you’ll feel like you accomplished something (winning an audition) or you’ll feel like you’re not good enough (offer).
Some Directors Want You Underprepared
There was a quote from Robert Downey Jr. about some directors wanting actors to check in ten minutes earlier for a spontaneity scene. Jim Parsons also said, some directors want you to slip up so you’re not overly prepared to too rehearsed, which may not feel natural. It’s better to be vulnerable, even if it’s scarier.
This Could Be Your Only Shot
While it’s not a good idea to be overwhelmed during an audition, you do need to be ready and understand it could be your big break. Farmiga added that it’s important to be over prepared, but then let it wash away after the audition
Understand The Vibe Of The Audition
Jim Parsons told fans that some auditions are about things other than the role itself. In certain situations, the directors or producers may only want to see how you vibe with another actor. This could mean the other duo fit the characters better, even if you did a better job at the individual role.
You Will Almost Always Have To Audition
Despite Jim Parsons and Joel McHale’s mega success, they both still have to audition. For some roles, they fit the need right away, but for others, they have to prove they’re as good in a movie role as they are on television.
The Business Side Is Always Frustrating
“Everything about the process is frustrating, artistically speaking,” said Jim Parsons in the interview. This specifically refers to the business side of things, which feel odd since it revolves around the creative process.
Ignorance Is Bliss For Young Actors
“If you feel determined to be an actor, in some ways, ignorance was bliss,” said Jim Parsons as advice to his former self. The actor added that he felt like the combination of timing and luck could have never been imagined. “I was so much more fortunate that I even could have understood at the time.”
Comedy And Drama Can Be The Same
When you think of Jim Parsons, you will likely picture Sheldon Cooper. For the actor, there is no difference than comedy and drama. Basically, he just tries to be honest to the character. Ironically, he never wanted to be a comedy star (unlike a stand-up for example), so truth is vital for Parsons.
Hollywood Will Give You A Label
Despite the fact that Hollywood associates Jim Parsons with comedy, that doesn’t mean that he can’t still do drama. In fact, his Sundance hit A Kid Like Jake allowed for him to do both types of acting. But, in the end, Hollywood labeled him as a comedy sitcom star, so that’s his hole to crawl out of.
Don’t Over Think It (Just Enjoy Yourself)
In the end, Jim Parsons wanted to make sure everyone knew that it’s vital not to overthink the job. Farmiga added that the only time she feels like she makes a mistake is when she overthinks a scene or a role. It’s vital sometimes just to play. “It’s like holding sand or water, the more you grip, the harder it is,” confirmed actor Jim Parsons.
Find A Way To Get Inspired
Finally, if it ever stops being fun, it’s important to find another way to get inspired. This could mean watching favorite movies or simply experimenting with a role. Luckily, Jim Parsons is in a good position to land a show where he can grow as a character and an actor. “Every time I see something [inspiring], I want to get back at it and do more,” concluded the star of The Big Bang Theory.