Method Acting Video Course: Day Six, Part Six

Make It Look Real

The best way to get your work to look real and spontaneous is through improvisation…

Here is a test for you:

Chose a scene from a play and read it with a scene partner. Listen to how that sounds and feels to you. Then put the scripts down and improvise the scene using the given circumstances.

By that, I mean you know the situation they are in: Improvise using your own words (not the script) and take the actions that seem natural.

What you will notice is that improvising seems easier and flows more naturally and less self-consciously.

The trick is to get that feeling into the scripted work.

You do this by going back and forward between the script and improvisation. Eventually, you start to bring the improvised feel into the script.

It takes time though and you need to keep going between the two. Sometimes in class I get actors to go in an out of the script and improvisation during the scene. This prevents the actor from being able to think too much about what he/she is saying or doing.

It may sound funny for me to say that I want to get the actor to stop thinking. You would think I would say the opposite, right?

Well, the problem is you can over-think and over-analyse things. When you operate in real life, you just react out of your subconscious. You’re not consciously thinking about every word and action.

But you do know yourself and your beliefs.

This is what you need to know about the character. This is your acting fuel. When you’re acting in the moment you don’t have time to think about the character’s history and what his/her beliefs are – you either know them or you don’t. You need to know them so well that they are ingrained in your subconscious, so that when you improvise, their words and actions just flow without effort.

Practise improvising and then going back to the script – and see how real you can make the script feel