Your Stage : Get Cinematic by John Swanbeck

John Swanbeck

Get Cinematic

Rehearsing is a dangerous idea on camera...

Rehearsing Is A Dangerous Idea On Camera - BlueSwanFilms
Rehearsing Is A Dangerous Idea On Camera - BlueSwanFilms
Directors and casting directors can tell if an actor's self-tape audition took the actor a couple of takes or many. The way they can tell is whether the scene and the actor look well rehearsed. Rehear…
David Rountree

Thanks John! I agree. As a feature film director and the owner of LA Acting Studios, I work with lots of actors. I do not like for my actors to fully rehearse the scene (aside from blocking). There are MANY problems that happen when an actor rehearses and especially over-rehearses. First, the actor falls in love with the way something sounds during a rehearsal, then on the day, they try to duplicate those "amazing moment" they practiced so that they may be able to say it exactly they way it sounded when they rehearsed. If an actor is truly living moment to moment, then even the smallest difference will ripple it's way through the scene causing changes in the way future lines are delivered. The best actors work to provide obstacles in a scene to prevent the other actor from achieving their goals and the other actor should do the same. This assists in basic story-telling. Creating obstacles that have to be overcome is what makes the scene fun to watch. This means actors must live moment to moment and not pre-plan everything. The obstacles often come from the environment of the scene, which, in most cases, you are not privy to prior to being on-set. You have trust that your scene partner will provide an avenue to challenge you during the scene. It should be fun. A live sporting event is fun because the teams don't know what plays are going to be run. They each have a goal and work to achieve it. There is a basic idea of what to do, but it's moment to moment. Acting should be moment to moment, which also allows for those wonderful surprises on camera to happen. If an audience sees one bad acting moment, they just start looking for the next. Look at some of the bad VFX movies out there. As soon as you see one horrifically bad talking robot shark, you can't wait to see the next one. Acting is same way. One bad, contrived line delivery, we start looking for the next. I'm not saying don't have an idea of where they scene will go, but it should be loose and open to change. Things change all the time on the day. I had an actor tell me one time when he arrived on set and the blocking was different than he envisioned, that he "had practiced the scene sitting" and wasn't sure how to do it standing and moving throughout the first half of the scene. It was VERY tough to get what I needed for this scene because the actor had already "rehearsed" it exactly they way he envisioned it. On the day, when things changed, it became very difficult for him to adjust as he stumbled through the actions/dialogue and it was quite obvious that he was trying to force the scene to be played exactly how he had personally rehearsed it. Another time, an actor stopped the scene (please never do!) and said that the other actor delivered the line emotionally too wrong to allow her to be able to say the next line the way that she wanted. Yikes! I loved where the scene was headed, but this actor could not adjust. Let's just say that I have never hired her again. My suggestion is for the actors to go through the dialogue to make sure they have the words down and while doing so, truly listen to each other. This will allow for real moments to happen on set rather than contrived pre-planned delivery of words, which almost always reads as false and unusable.

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