Answer: make your partner the most important person in the scene. Yeah, I know it’s hard when you just want to say, “Get into class!” But don’t forget: natural acting happens when you’re being, not “acting”. And the #1 way to “not act” is to focus on your scene partner and really listen. This will keep you focused, honest, engaged, and (ultimately) present in the scene. Remember the 9 Questions of Intentional Acting? A really good example of Question #8 is in the film Meet Joe Black starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins. Frankly, I wasn’t impressed with Pitt’s performance – particularly when paired with the great Sir Anthony; the gap of experience between the actors was very apparent in one scene. But I *was* impressed when Hopkins didn’t do anything differently just because his scene partner couldn’t hold his own: he made Pitt the most important person in the scene and by doing so gave a stunning performance. (For those of you who are upset with me for dissing Mr. Pitt: I think his work as an actor has grown tremendously and I have great respect for him now!)
What *Not* to do When Acting with a Lousy Scene Partner or a Reader Who Won’t Even Look at You:
1) Don’t judge your partner – if you do, you won’t be in the scene anymore. Reframe it. Use what you’re getting - which maybe lousy acting - and make your intention: to get them to listen and connect with you.
2) Don’t let your irritation or impatience show. It’s unprofessional and it does NOT reflect badly on your scene partner, it reflects poorly on YOU. Be like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black: Do your best work and leave the judging to the casting team. It may seem counter intuitive, but put all your attention over there on the lousy scene partner or reader…then discover what can happen!
Share your comment below on what happens when you make the other person the most important person in the scene.
If you’re an actor, (or know someone who is) feel free to share this article with those you believe could benefit from it. Thank you.
And risk being vulnerable right here. Share your experience as a fearless or fearful actor. Who knows, your input just might make the difference in preparing and inspiring someone to deliver the performance of a lifetime!
LIVE THE DREAM YOU WERE BORN TO
Acting should be simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you are an actor, or know someone who is, and you need a safe place to be yourself and to be challenged to continually grow and share vulnerable performances, Intentional Acting may be the right class for you.
There is no better moment than now to make the intention to take full control of your acting career and live the dream you were born to.
Call 818-325-5752 or email me at Loren@IntentionalActing.com to interview and sign up for the next Intentional Acting class today.
In the meantime, to learn more about Intentional Acting and the 9 questions that frame the work I do with actors of all ages, visit www.intentionalacting.com/what-is-intentional-acting/.