Acting Questions

A question from Steve:

On a show like Star Trek is it challenging to have a different director each episode? Their styles varied probably?

Great question – Yes, challenging for the actors and the directors. Collaboration is imperative.

rené a.
Posted here December 22, 2015


A question from Jen:

I have a very special, amazing, wonderful son, 11 years of age…who filled most of his summer with sessions doing plays, learning acting elements, and doing improvisation…. When I saw him on the stage, I saw a transformation. He was so happy. He enjoyed it, he was so confident up there…. But this is like a foreign land to me.

What is it about being up there on the stage? Why is that so fun to those that enjoy it? What is the nature of this type of creative force? What, if anything, should we (his parents) do to nurture it? Thank you.

Hi Jen –

What a lovely story It is amazing how something that may seem terrifying to most folks becomes a source of confidence to others… especially shy people. I know successful actors who stammer off stage and never do it when performing.

I would say that supporting your son without pushing him is the best way to go. Many people have happy, productive lives without ever becoming professionals.

When young folks ask my advice about whether or not to pursue a career in “show biz”, my answer is usually something along the lines of: Do it for the joy – not the fame – do it anywhere there’s an audience – don’t worry about being a professional. If you can imagine yourself contented doing anything else as a profession – DO THAT!

Thanks for making contact!
rené a.
Posted here July 25, 2015


A question from Jamie:

As an amateur writer and hopeful future author/actor I was wondering something: do you audition for the parts you play or do the people in charge of the project (video game, TV show, or movie) contact you and ask for you specifically? I’ve noticed that no one seems to want to audition an amateur actor who doesn’t have an agent and who hasn’t gone to drama school.

Dear Jamie –

Often I’m offered work based on my previous work. Sometimes I audition.

I’m afraid it is a bit of a ‘Catch 22’ situation regarding the unwillingness of producers to consider actors who lack representation or previous experience. I can only encourage you to study and gain experience by networking with other aspiring artists.

Best of luck –
rené a.
Posted here July 25, 2015


A question from Paula:

Love your work and of course Odo. I do think you look much better without the makeup. Have you and your two children been in anything together? Is it out on DVD? If not, why not? What’s on your favorite wine list (reds, whites, everything else)? Thank you :-)

Hi Paula –

I just finished working in a film that my son wrote (with his wife) and directed: The Blood Stripe. Keep an eye out for it!

As for wine – I don’t drink alcohol – but red would be my choice if I did.

All the best –
rené a.
Posted here July 25, 2015


A question from mad-hatter-teacups:

Does René still keep in touch with any actors/voice actors he’s worked with over the years? : )

Hi “Mad-hatter-teacups” –

I have a great many dear friends with whom I’ve worked over the years and we still stay in touch. I see my colleagues from DS9 at conventions on a pretty regular basis.

All the best –
rené a.
Posted here July 25, 2015


A question from Owen:

What was biggest thrill about directing DS9 and what did you learn about the craft? Did it have any effect on your acting?

Hi Owen –

Wow! Great question.

The biggest thrill was getting to stand on the other side of the camera and help my colleagues achieve the work they desired. As an actor, it deepened my understanding of the entire process.

All the best –
rené a.
Posted here July 25, 2015


A question from Michael:

I guess I’ll start by saying what a talented actor I think you are. I suppose my question is this, how do you go from playing Clayton Endicott on Benson, to Odo on DS9? Like I said your a talented actor, but these are two VERY different roles. I applaud your ability.

Hi Michael –

Thanks for your kind words and generous observation. My dream was always to be a character actor and have the chance to play a wide variety of roles in a wide variety of a mediums…. I’ve certainly been blessed.

All the best –
rené a.
Posted here July 25, 2015


A question from Artie:

Hi Rene! Is this really Rene?

Hi Artie-
Is this really Artie?

That’s the trouble with cyber-space… you’ll just have to come to a convention and ask me in person.

All the best-
rené a.
p.s.- last time I looked in the mirror it WAS really me!

Posted here August 29, 2013


A question from Jamie:

What do you enjoy more, acting or directing, and why?

Hi Jamie-
I really don’t consider myself a director. Acting is what I’ve dedicated my creative life to.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here August 29, 2013


A question from Anonymous:

hey i’m a fan and i was just wondering how you do the subtle emotions so well? I’ve played Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker and have found that those subtle emotions are often the most important. Also, what is your fave memory from DS9?

Hi… uh “no signature” Fan –
Yes, the subtle emotions are usually the most important when it comes to getting the audience to suspend disbelief… and, when you’re acting for the camera lens, it becomes even more important. It’s taken me years to get close to achieving that.

As for a fave memory from DS9… oh dear! Too many to single one out!

Thanks for your anonymous message.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here August 29, 2013


A question from Jackie:

I am a big fan of DS9 and particularly the character of Odo, obvious really otherwise I wouldn’t be here, although I’ve only just found the site. I first saw you in Benson, another show that me and my family loved. My question is, do you have any specific criteria when choosing a role to play?

Dear Jackie-
I’ve always tried to live by the rule of three… as long as at least two of the three are fulfilled.

1) The role should be challenging.
2) The work should seem like it would be fun to do.
3) The remuneration should make it possible to support my family.

Sometimes all three coincide…

Best-
rené a.

Posted here August 29, 2013


A question from Michael:

Dear Mr. Auberjonois,
My name is Michael Brown, one out of so many trekkies/trekkers out there in the World. I’ve been a Star Trek Fan since I was 7 and ever since Star Trek:DS9 came on the air in ’92, your character in that DS9 cast was one that fascinated me the most. I’ve also noticed your guest appearances in many other features, including the voice acting role of Xyber 9. How all do you like acting? What does it feel like to be famous?

By the way, I was wondering what you thought of the “William Shatner Roast” that happened a few months ago. I noticed you and many of the other Star Trek cast members in the audience were there. When I saw it, I thought I was going to just DIE from LAUGHTER.

Dear Michael-
Thanks for your message and kind words. You had three questions.

1) How do I like acting? Well it’s the only thing I ever wanted to do. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to make a life as an actor.

2) What does it feel like to be famous? I don’t think about it much. I’m a character actor…. that means I can pass through life without being recognized at every turn.

3) What did I think of the Shatner Roast? I was pretty uncomfortable. I thought it was often cruel, and always vulgar.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here July 1, 2007


A question from Lynne:

When I see all of the new reality shows based on dance, such as Dancing With The Stars, it reminds me of the wonderful scene in “His Way” where Odo is dancing with Kira. Even with knowing that Nana Visitor is a trained dancer, you looked splendid and you looked like you know your way around the dance floor. I know that it was common practice in the past for children to be taught to ballroom dance. Were you taught as a youth? What do you think of the reemerging interest and increasing popularity of ballroom and other forms of dancing? Do you think you would be interested in trying something like Dancing With The Stars? I figure if Jerry Springer at 63 could compete, a gentleman of your obvious grace and agility would do well.

Dear Lynne-
I took a few ballroom dancing classes when I was a kid… hated it. My mom tried desperately to teach me how to waltz… a failure. I’ve danced quite often on the stage… you can fool all of the people some of the time.

Oh Gad! I’d never even consider Dancing With the Stars. Oy! I’d rather bungee jump. )o;

All the best-
rené a.

Posted here July 1, 2007


A question from Joe:

hello rené,
I’d just like to say i’m not a trekkie or whatever there called but i did like you as odo in star trek : deep space nine and i’m just wondering , as an actor how difficult is it for you to hide your accent for starters and also how did you manage to keep a straight face almost all through every joke and comical moment? It’s just brilliant and i don’t think except for some random vulcans on star trek (yes i know i don’t know their names haha) you are one of the few actors i’ve seen keep a straight face.

Dear Joe-
I’m not sure if you think because of my name being so foreign, I should have an accent to go with it… I was born and raised in the U.S. of A.

As for keeping a straight face… that’s not so hard to do when your face is covered with rubber. (o;

All the best-
rené a.

Posted here July 1, 2007


A question from Amit:

Dear Mr. Auberjonois,
I am a huge fan of Benson, and I feel that your portrayal of Clayton Endicott III gave true meaning to the word ‘CLASS’ and ‘sophistication’, will you ever consider actually running for office or writing a book about your distinguished life?

Dear Amit-
Thanks for your kind words.

I certainly would NOT consider running for any kind of political office. Heaven forbid! (o; As for writing a book… well… probably not… I’m too busy using my free time to work on my photography and art.

All the best-
rené a.

Posted here July 1, 2007


A question from Danny:

Hello sir,
I have no idea your politial affiliation but I would like to know if you have ever percieved a bias against conservatives in theatre or film.

Thank you for your time.

Dear Danny-
I believe that theatre and film tend to present a more progressive or liberal stance. But I do not think that there is a bias against conservatives. In my experience, the majority of artists of all types are liberal.

Best wishes-
rené a.

Posted here November 1, 2006


A question from George:

Hello,
Thank you for taking time to answer, I am an actor as well and I was doing some research on different books and your name was mentioned among others and I wanted to know how you feel about Bob Fraser’s book You Must Act. I look forward to your answer.

Dear George-
I think Bob’s book is an invaluable resource for actors at any stage of their career. I believe that he has a testimonial from me on his website.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here November 1, 2006


 

A question from Ginger:

Dear René,

As I type the salutation, my southern upbringing is yelling at me about the informality of my greeting. Starting a letter should not be this difficult! But you’ve been entertaining me since Benson and I have a hard time thinking of you as anything but an ‘old friend’ – hence the informal “Dear René.”

All rambling aside, I do have a question. How much of the physical characteristics of a character (the posture, the walk, the voice, the speech pattern, etc) comes from the director or from the script and how much of it is left to the actor’s interpretation? Or does it depend on the medium? If a lot of the physicality of the character is left up to the actor, how do you decide?

Your talent has amazed me for years. (I couldn’t act my way out of a paper bag!) Thanks for giving life to such unforgettable characters. ‘Clayton’ made me laugh and ‘Odo’ made me feel. And your character in Sly Fox made me grateful for bladder control. (o: There are many others, but I’ll spare you the recitation. All the best to you and your family.

Dear Ginger-
Thanks for your kind words.

As for your question, it is usually the actor who brings the physical and vocal interpretation to the character. The writer may describe some elements, and the director will cast the actor he feels will be able to supply what he imagines. Sometimes the actor will immediately have a concept, and sometimes it will evolve during rehearsals. In Sly Fox, for example, I had seen an illustration by Arthur Rackham for a children’s story of a little old man walking with bent knees. That’s how I started in rehearsals and everyone seemed pleased with it… everyone but my knees!

Best-
rené a.

Posted here November 1, 2006


A question from Molly:

I’m 32 years old and have always wanted to become an actor. I did amateur stuff when I was in high school and have been an extra on a film that I think went straight to video. What sorts of advice do you have for an “older” girl like me wanting to become a movie or TV actor?

Also, do you plan on coming or have you ever been to Winnipeg?

Thanks!

Dear Molly-
To be brutally frank… keep acting in whatever venue is available to you in your own “territory”… don’t give up your day job. Just act anywhere you can, and just do it for the joy of it.

Never been to Winnipeg…would love to some day.

Good luck!
rené a.

Posted here March 6, 2006


A question from Kim:

Dear Mr. Auberjonois,
First of all, I’m a big fan. If I weren’t I doubt I would be visiting this site. LOL! I truly love the character of Odo even though I doubt I have been watching DS9 near as long as a lot of your fans. I just started watching it when I was 13 (I’m 15 now). Just after I started watching it my father died and it hit me hard. Watching Star Trek gave me a lot of hope for a better tomorrow. Your character made me smile when I needed it most.

So Thank You!

Now onto the question. I noticed that one of your hobbies is photography. My U.S. History teacher (who is a woman who is only about 10 years older than me yet seems to have been everywhere) enjoys photography as well. The most interesting thing she does is what she calls Composite Photography in which she takes a lot of little pictures of the pieces of something and then puts all the photos together like a big puzzle. She has one on the wall in class of the Eiffel Tower. Have you ever tried this?

Dear Kim-
Thanks for your message. It’s always gratifying to hear that the work one does can have such a positive effect on people’s lives.

Yes, photography is a real passion of mine. I am now doing most of my work on the computer. The only Composite Photography I’ve done is with regular 35mm film. You should ask your teacher if she’s familiar with the photographic work of the artist David Hockney.

My best to you-
rené a.

Posted here March 6, 2006


A question from Daisy:

Hello. I’m a great fan of yours and you’re a wonderful actor. I hope someday to see you at a Star Trek convention. Here’s my question: I was wondering, what would you be doing if you hadn’t gone into acting? Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Dear Daisy-
If I hadn’t become an actor I probably would be an artist or photographer…two things I do in my spare time.
Here’s hoping we meet some day at a convention.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here January 17, 2006


A question from Robin:

First I’d like to say that I think you’re a great actor and it’s really nice of you to participate in this forum. Hope you’re still lovin’ that computer, did you get an iPod yet? :)

I’d like to know if you have any tips on how to deal with stage fright and performance anxiety. I’ve suffered from severe stage fright since I was a child and have given up many opportunities due to my inablilty to perform in front of an audience. I was a music major, but couldn’t graduate because I was unable to perform in front of an audience. (I got a Math degree instead. Whee, fun!). I’ve passed up television auditions because I would have to stop and throw up on my way there and then couldn’t bring myself to go in. (I thought trying acting would help, jump in with both feet! and guess I wasn’t too bad, I got an agent my first day out!). Needless to say, it didn’t work. Have you ever had to deal with this problem? Have you worked with anyone who had stage fright? What’s a good way to deal with it?

Dear Robin-
Yes, everyone encounters stage fright at one time or another. Even the great Laurence Olivier was overcome with the malady.

It’s not uncommon for people to feel sick to their stomachs and even throw up before performing.

There’s really no “cure”…you just have to decide if it’s worth going through the “agony” for the “ecstasy”.

Just remember to BREATHE.

If that doesn’t help…well perhaps your body is trying to tell you that performing isn’t for you.

Good luck-
rené a.

Posted here August 22, 2005


A question from Neil:

Dear Mr. A,
In hanging out with Armin I’m sure many interesting things have happened. Is there a moment that you both shared that sticks out as something really special, serious, or funny?

Dear Neil-
Armin was and remains one of my very dearest friends…we’ve shared so many wonderful times together that it would be virtually impossible to choose one above another.

Thanks for your interest,
All the best-
rené a.

Posted here April 12, 2005


A question from Mike:

Hello sir—thanx for making me laugh & for making sit on the edge of my seat (from Benson to Trek)…my two questions would be:

(a) your very name and stature in some appearances make me think of you as “aristocratic”….are you aristocratic by lineage, or is this just good acting from a regular guy??

and (B) have you been to Canada much, or more specifically my home province of Ontario?

Mike-
Thanks for your questions.

a) My mother was born with the title Princess Laura Murat, a direct descendant of Joachim Murat, King of Naples, brother-in-law to Napoleon Bonapart. Does that sound aristocratic?

b) I’ve spent a good deal of time in Western Canada…less in the East…some in Toronto and some in Montreal.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here April 12, 2005


A question from Chuck:

Hello René,

Thanks for the contribution to the entertainment industry. You are such a gleamingly polished character actor, adding depth & dimension to all scripts you’re involved with. But I put a lot of thought into pronouncing your last name, and I was crushed to find that I was waaay off! So tell me please, what is the longest French name YOU’VE ever heard, because your name is at the top of my list and, to date, the most challenging to pronounce.

And I’m still waiting for that DS9 movie! It would be true folly to pass that up!

Dear Chuck-
Don’t hold your breath!

Thanks for you kind words…and don’t worry about pronouncing the name…even French people stumble over it.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here November 10, 2004


A question from Elizabeth:

Mr. Auberjonois,

What was the factor that prompted you to start acting? Also, did you ever think of doing improv on Whose Line is it Anyway? as a side thing?

Dear Elizabeth-
Acting was all I ever wanted to do…I decided that when I was six years old…I guess I just never wanted to grow up! (o;

The thought of doing improv on TV gives me nightmares.

Best-
rené a.

Posted here November 10, 2004


A question from Justin:

Hi René,

I recently met Micheal Dorn at a comic book show I went to with my father. I asked him how he got his start in acting. He said he went to Paramount and auditioned for a role in Star Trek. Well, he seemed busy so I was not able to get a lot of detail. My question to you is, where should I go to audition for Star Trek?

Dear Justin-
Unfortunately, unless you have an agent in Hollywood, the chances of getting an audition are very slim. Sorry…but that’s the hard truth about ‘the biz’.

Good luck,
rené a.

Posted here November 10, 2004


A question from Mark:

I’ve been enjoying your work for years, especially on Benson, so was recently startled to discover you are my fourth cousin. My, what an interesting family you come from! Did having all of those creative relations (and princesses) make it easier to take up acting? So many actors face family objections.

Dear Fourth Cousin-

I come from a long line of artistic people…so they were very supportive of my choice to pursue acting.

Thanks for your kind words.
rené a.

Posted here November 10, 2004


A question from Lynne:

You have a great talent with voices. Do you think that growing up in the U.S., Paris, and London promoted your ability?

Dear Lynne-

Hmmm…interesting. I have no idea. Perhaps listening to all those different voices did contribute.

Thanks for your kind words,
Best- rené a.

Posted here May 14, 2004


A question from Eric:

Dear Mr. Auberjonois,

I have a question. Who was the most fun to work with? In a movie or t.v. show, actor or actress? I wish you the best with the Broadway show. Keep on doing your thing.

Dear Eric-

That’s an impossible question to answer. I’ve worked with so many talented and kind people who have given me great joy and many laughs. I couldn’t possible choose one.

All the best- rené auberjonois

Posted here April 14, 2004


A question from Teri:

Dear René,

I just wanted to take a moment to say how much I enjoy watching you perform. I traveled with a Christian theatre group for 2 1/2 years, and am currently a drama teacher at a middle school here in Orlando, FL. One of the things I have been focusing on with my students is characterization; namely, being real to the character and not “overacting.” Your dedication to the acting craft is amazing, because, no matter who you are playing, I never see “René the actor”, but a 3-D embodiment of a character.

I was wondering if you might be willing to share any insights into the acting profession and/or what you do to prepare yourself to become a character with my students?

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

Dear Teri-

Thank you for your kind words.

As for acting tips…hmmm…I just try to tell the TRUTH. That doesn’t mean you have to be REAL…you can make very bold choices as far as your character is concerned…but you have to tell the TRUTH.

All the best- rené auberjonois

Posted here April 14, 2004


A question from Marsha:

Hello René!

I’m a great fan of yours. Your character Odo on DS9 is one of my favorites. You’re pretty cool yourself. I’m borrowing my friend’s e-mail to ask this question. How is your family doing these days? I read that both your children are actors.

Dear Marsha-

Thanks for your message. Yes, both of our “children” are actors…very talented actors who work mostly in the theater. Our son, Rémy, will be seen in a few weeks on The Sopranos as a therapist. Keep your eye out for him.

Best- rené a.

Posted here April 14, 2004


A question from Daniel:

Dear René,

I have only really had the honor of seeing you perform with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; however, your role as Odo was very brilliantly played and I don’t believe anyone could have filled that role as well as you have. I have a few questions and comments I’d like to ask and express – I’ll try to make them as brief as possible with being specific.

You’ve said you don’t really consider yourself a singer; in one DS9 episode, you were singing to yourself in Captain Sisko’s office. I found it to sound quite soothing. You may not “be a singer”, but your vocals are pleasant. You’ve mentioned that your name, René, was “perceived as a ‘girl’s name'” in the 1950’s. Gender is extremely irrelevant; your name René is very belonging to you. It sounds exquisite and artistic. You are very much an artist and your parents named you perfectly.

You describe yourself as “prickly” and “shy”; do you think your own personality helped develop the character Odo, specifically in his shy manner? Also, do you believe your passion for Kira in the series was just acting or taken from passions in your own life, perhaps for your wife?

Best of luck. I’m hoping to see you more, perhaps cast in a somewhat recent movie. If there are specific roles you liked very much, I would welcome your suggestions on what to view.

Dear Daniel-

Thanks for you kind words. I can answer your two questions with one word…yes.

The website has a very complete bio of my work which you might enjoy hunting for, either on TV or at your local video outlet.

Thanks again-
Best wishes….rené a.

Posted here January 22, 2004


A question from Justin S.:

Dear René,

I am a bit of a fan. I have watched Star Trek for a long time (which my father got me into.) And liked the good acting you did in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Then I was surprised to find out that you did voice acting in one of my favorite video games, “Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver” and now “Legacy of Kain: Defiance”. I just turned 18 and am looking at trying a career of acting. My question to you is what college would you suggest I go to. I live in Michigan. but I don’t believe there are any good acting classes I can take here.

Thanks in advance.

Justin-

There are a number of good schools with drama programs. Try to get a copy of American Theater magazine. There will be lots listed.

The premier schools are (in no particular order):
Julliard
Carnegie-Mellon
Northwestern
U.C.L.A.

Good luck!
rené auberjonois

Posted here November 12, 2003


 

A question from Ina Hark:

When you are creating a new character, do you always think that character through beginning with a blank slate, or do you sometimes think of a characterization you’ve done before and edit it a bit, or turn it around 180 degrees?

No matter which way you develop a characterization, are there any two characters you’ve done whom you think are most like each other?

Ina, a fan since your stunning Edgar in the James Earl Jones King Lear

Dear Ina-
How great that you remember that production of KING LEAR!

It’s one of my favorite theatrical experiences. I played Lear when I was 25 and then the Fool when I was 28 and I always thought Edgar was an impossible/thankless role…boy was I wrong! I learned that he’s the true hero of the piece and one of the most complex and fascinating characters Shakespeare ever created. Thanks for reminding me.

In answer to your question: I always think I’m creating a totally new character…of course, when you’ve been doing it as long as I have you’re bound to keep using some of the same colors…also you realize that a lot of yourself is revealed even though you think the character has nothing in common with the “real” you.

Thanks for your kind words.
Best- Rene Auberjonois

Posted here April 19, 1998.