Zeb Koenig Discusses Skills Directors Look for in Their Actors
Zebulun Koenig’s previous work as a talent assistant was simultaneously demanding and rewarding. Not only did it give him the opportunity to learn some of the ins and outs of what goes into finding talent for television and movies, but it also provided plenty of insights into what makes some actors truly stand out. Zeb maintains that there is no clear path for success for an actor- there are many ways that talent can succeed and make roles their own. Still, he notes that there are a variety of coveted traits that successful actors tend to possess. Here, Zeb Koenig discusses a few skills that directors in particular look for in actors on set.
Some aspiring actors hold the misconception that acting is all feeling. While feeling and inspiration do play a crucial role in the profession, Zebulun Koenig notes that deliberation and preparedness are also important. There are multiple reasons why preparedness is a coveted trait among actors. For example, those involved in projects enjoy working with actors that are prepared because they have memorized their parts. Memorization is only one part of the equation for readings but being prepared also helps an actor inject their lines with the appropriate feeling and energy as well. After all, with preparedness comes comfortability, and the confidence that understanding one’s part imbues an actor goes a long way with impressing directors and staff.
A Commitment to Collaboration
Zeb Koenig consistently speaks to how collaboration is the lifeblood of film and television. This is because several equally valuable groups working in tandem are responsible for creating our favorite work. To this point, it is extremely important that actors realize the value of seamless collaboration and acknowledge their role in the finished product. Zebulun Koenig recognizes that there are several ways that an actor can prioritize collaboration. For example, even maintaining a friendly and approachable demeanor while working can be an excellent start for an actor that is trying to show their commitment to working successfully with others. In many ways, sets are different from traditional working environments, but there are significant similarities as well. One similarity is that people will generally want to work with trustworthy, generous, and kind individuals that see value in their insights and output.
An Understanding of Your Role
Simply put, most jobs are easier the more a person understands their role and how their contributions fit into a specific project. Actors that understand their roles are coveted by directors for a wide range of reasons. For example, Zeb Koenig acknowledges that a deep understanding of one’s role empowers an actor to give the best performance possible. A side character that understands their role as supporting cast will not detract from the leads but will work to flesh out the scene and their character for the betterment of the film or episode. Doing so is a delicate balance, and an understanding of the give and take of performance is crucial for these actors to be successful. A lead actor should know their role in several ways as well. This includes remaining aware of the characterization of their character to make roles feel as real as possible. Actors with awareness are coveted by directors because they are deliberate in their choices on even the smallest levels. This awareness means that they will actively make the correct small decisions that themselves contribute to the performance overall.
Zebulun Koenig speaks to the fact that there are many ways to stand out as an actor. While he encourages new actors to make a name for themselves by remaining true to themselves and their characters, he cautions them against actively trying too hard to impress one’s cohorts. Be open, collaborative, and courageous while sharing your work and the rest will simply follow.