This page is provided to help you find scenes and monologues for classes and performance clips. If you are looking for a scene for class at Mighty Tripod, find to something that is 2-5 pages long, and is primarily between two characters. For class work we will probably only use 2 – 3 pages, but longer scenes are okay to start with, as they often provide great context needed for good performances. We can trim the scene together in class, or you can choose the most compelling parts yourself.
When looking for material for your “personal library,” keep an eye out for movies and shows you like, especially when you find actors and characters who are similar to you. It’s a good idea to look at roles and say to yourself, “I think I could do that.” Or, “I’d love to play a role like that.” There are more than a few actors that are similar to my age (this is David writing), who have done a lot of great parts, that I think I could have done well. When I find these “Touchstone Actors,” I then look them up on IMDb so I can see what else they have done. I can often find these those corresponding screenplays and teleplays on the Internet, which I then add to my “library” of materials.
What makes a for a good monologue, and why are they useful for on-camera actors? Good, questions, and ones I will answer here and now, so you don’t waste a lot of time trying to find the “perfect” monologue. There is no perfect monologue. But there are probably plenty that will do the trick, and the links below will hopefully help your search. If you need more assistance after you read the rest of this information and check out the links below, please contact us about coaching, as I am certain we can help you with your goals.
TIPS FOR GOOD MONOLOGUES
- Age appropriate. It gets very distracting when you are clearly “in-character” as a person that is no where near your playable age range.
- Short. For on-camera, 60-90 seconds is plenty. Not that monologues are used in the on-camera world all that often, but when they are, we believe that it’s better to “leave them wanting more.” Of course, if you have been requested to send in a monologue, and they want a selection that’s more than 90 seconds, then by all means, pick a longer piece.
- Active. When selecting a monologue, you should be able to quickly identify your character’s goal/want just by reading the words. You need make sure that the character in the monologue is trying to achieve something, so you have an objective to pursue. We don’t want to hear a passive story or a retelling of events. That usually won’t hold our attention.
- Talent-Specific. Your monologue choice should show off or highlight an aspect of your talent. Did you choose it because you’ve got excellent comic timing? Are you showing off a particular character you can play well? Did you pick a piece to show off your range? Maybe you want to show off your dramatic chops? Did you pick a Shakespearian soliloquy for the URTAs? Whatever you choose to do, make sure you know why you are doing it.
- Actor-Specific. You should pick monologues featuring characters that fit your type. David Hogan, who is writing this, should not pick a monologue from a character who is a college-aged football playing jock. Well, maybe if the character was the kicker… As you probably know, David does not look like he’s in college, nor is he very “jock-like,” in the traditional sense.
- Emotional. No, this does not mean you need to find material that pushes the character to the extremes of your emotional range, but you should look for material where the character expresses or experiences emotions that are at least a bit heightened.
- Conflict. Just as your character needs a specific goal, the character also needs to experience a good deal of conflict for the monologue to engage and excite the audience. Conflict might be external (something your partner is doing), but could also be internal (self-loathing). It could be both.
- Discovery. An audience loves to see when character’s learn something right before their eyes. Try to find monologues that will give you the chance to “play a discovery moment,” as these can be very exciting for the viewer (and the actor).
- Well Written. Do your best to find material that is well written. The best monologues come from published plays and from material that makes it onto the silver screen (or into our homes via streaming). However, finding screenplays and teleplays can be tricky, and finding original monologues written by “monologue writers” is easy. Easy does not always = better. Sometimes it’s best when you see a fantastic monologue delivered by an actor, and the role fits you perfectly. Record and transcribe that piece. Don’t copy that actor’s interpretation, but make it your own instead.
- Final Thoughts: The material you choose should speak to you. It should excite you. You should want to work with the text and on the character. It should challenge you, but not overwhelm you. It should be easy for you to understand what happened right before the character begins speaking (the moment before), what is going on in the piece, what you want, and whether or not you get what you want in the playing of the monologue. It has been said that “we can only see your talent through the choices that you make.” There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to monologues, and we challenge you to find 5 that you love. Learn them. Master them. Use them. Then find more when you outgrow them. Learning and crafting monologues is a great way to sharpen your skills when you are not in the classroom.