With the acting world coming back slowly, this is a perfect time to get quiet & work on your skills before our biz gets back to 100%.
How is your scene analysis game?
Do you struggle with breaking down your scripts?
Do you find it difficult to connect with your characters/scenes?
How easy is it for you to ‘throw away’ your work and surrender to the moment?
There are three parts to actor scene-study: I call them Study, Sense, and Surrender.
Study encapsulates your ability to break down and analyze a script. You are basically a text detective, finding the clues that the writer has left you.
Sense represents your ability to personalize the text. Your universal connection to the world and themes of the piece. It’s the emotional part of scene-study.
Surrender illustrates your ability to let go of the work and lose yourself in the moment-to-moment discoveries & actions of the piece. This is often the hardest step but arguably the most important.
Here are 3 Easy Steps to Stronger Scene-Study.
1. Break your Scene into 3
Life is narrative. Every moment in our life has a beginning, middle & end. Acting is the artform of life & therefore we must find the 3 acts of our scenes & of each moment.
This technique helps greatly define the arc of your character and the piece and makes for a much more interesting and human performance.
Try this: read through your scene & figure out where the two major shifts/realizations happen in your scene. Draw a line across each of these moments. Voila, you have broken your scene into three!
2. Find the Inner/Outer Conflict
People rarely say what they really mean. Your job as an actor is to figure out what your character wants & what they feel underneath. These two intentions will often be in opposition to each other. This represents the inner (and outer) conflict of the scene.
Try this: once you figure out what your character wants (ie. she wants him to leave her alone), ask yourself what else could be true. Does she also want him to stay deep down? Does she hate that she wants him to leave? Does she want to leave?
3. Identify Relationship to Everything
We all know it’s important to figure out your character’s relationship to their scene partner but to take your scene-study game to new heights, uncover your relationship to EVERYTHING in the scene.
You must know how your character feels about everyone they mention, every object/item they use, every location they inhabit or talk about and the list goes on and on…
Try this: once you’ve established the relationship (eg. he is my brother), go deeper into how you feelabout him (eg. he is the one I look up to). ‘Brother’ is too general and we always need to reach for specificity in acting.
Your journey to becoming an unstoppable, confident actor starts with strong scene-study. Become an expert at this important element and you will work all the time!
Tony Babcock started IYA Studio for Actors over ten years ago with a mission: to bridge the gap between improv, acting, and life in order to help actors reach their full potential and enjoy the journey.
Tony is an award-winning, unionized actor, director & acting coach with over 20 years of industry experience. He has helped thousands of actors to be more successful in their careers. He is also a certified life coach, NLP practitioner, motivational speaker and author.
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