FIRST REHEARSALS_OBJECTIVES_BEATS_LINES_IMPROV_F2023.docx FIRST REHEARSALS - OBJECTIVES - BEATS - LINES - IMPROV A FEW NOTES on the REHEARSAL PROCESS 1. Read-through with Cast 2. Discussion: Some items to discuss should include: a. What is the film about? b. What is the scene about? c. Who are the characters? d. How are they related? e. How does their relationship change by the end of the scene? f. Define Beats of the Scene 3. During your first read-throughs, read through all the scenes in the script that both of your actors are in .... 4. On the feet: first time 'on the feet', let your actors, script in hand, follow their instincts to bring natural responses, impulses, etc. 5. Blocking - do not set in stone YET ....... 6. NEVER give an actor a line reading! "OBJECTIVES" Each actor needs to find a one-sentence Objective for their character, beginning with: "I must ....... " Importance of Objective ..... not "I might..." or "I could .... " What does the character WANT from the OTHER character? and (intention) what does he DO to get it? It is not enough to 'define' your objective, you must pursue it with mind, heart and will If you really go after your objective, your will 'get out of your head' It is this importance that motivates the character to DO, and do it now In most scenes, characters (come on stage) to either "GIVE" or "GET" something from the other character How does the relationship between the characters change by the end of the scene? Objectives should be kept from your scene partner Objectives of each character should be opposite There are times when an actor might not fulfill her Objective in the scene - because the other character's Objective overwhelms hers - but that's okay - unfulfilled objectives are equally valid and often more interesting SUPER-OBJECTIVE: a character's overall driving force throughout entire film, the character's "through-line" Remember to be flexible, do not resist change or suggestion - you may encounter a stronger objective during rehearsal - then change it! What is SUB-TEXT? Actors must do their homework - which includes writing a BIO for your character, BACKSTORY and lists of (i) what other characters say about you; (ii) what you say about your character; (iii) what the script/screenwriter says about you; (iv) what you say of other characters 1
FIRST REHEARSALS_OBJECTIVES_BEATS_LINES_IMPROV_F2023.docx "BEATS" ACTORS: o Emotional transition o A 'moment' o Designate a pause, as in "I want to take a beat after I pick up the knife but before going after my victim." WRITERS: o Define a series of events o Beat works in a script like a beat works in a piece of music: in a song, single beats are grouped to make up a "measure" ...... by adding more 'beats', ie. more 'measures', you create a 'phrase' and then an entire melody o In a dramatic script, 'beats' or 'moments', placed together, create a SCENE Often 'beats' are grouped together in a "UNIT" The 'beats' in a SCENE, together, create the beats of an ACT, which together, create an entire FILM A new beat occurs when the previous subject matter or physical activity CHANGES the previous action. A new beat can be created from an entrance, an exit, a kiss, a slap, a shout or from a change in conversation Each one of these beats should be given an action/intention VERB And - these verbs should be what the actor is playing/DOING in an attempt to fulfill her overall Objective Beat breakdown must be discussed with both partners; ie. both should agree where the beats change Rehearse the scene in parts/beats, rather than running through the whole scene Understanding the beats helps to see the TRANSITIONS in the scene Helps to see how the individual characters move from A to B to C to D Beats help make the transitions CLEAR, not muddy, helping the characters spring to life o Do not let actors skip the 'beats', or run through them ..... Select a VERB for EACH BEAT (different verbs, different 'colours', different choices) Do not play the same verb/choice for the whole scene (static, dull) LINES and MEMORIZATION Lines must be memorized prior to the final rehearsal - and - actors MUST be off book for the final presentation Do not paraphrase: should use author's lines, word for word; by doing the author's lines, you learn the rhythms, which may not be your own On the other hand ..... paraphrasing in rehearsals is natural while learning the meanings of the lines ...... Study the punctuation, and do it! If the writer puts in a pause, a silence, a dash or dots - it means something. It was not an arbitrary decision. Playing the punctuation can take you to the right rhythm. 2
FIRST REHEARSALS_OBJECTIVES_BEATS_LINES_IMPROV_F2023.docx Learn the lines precisely as it's written: It's tough to correct once you've locked in the wrong words. Do not add verbal pauses: o Almost all of us add little words and sounds to our speech when we talk - "uh", "you know", "like" - it's natural. o But - when an actor does it for a role, it sounds sloppy. o The writer will insert the little words that are necessary for the role - which are part of the character traits, perhaps - but extra words added by the actors are unnecessary and interfere with the scene. Lines are easier to learn when learned with ACTIONS Dangers in 'memorizing by rote': words are just words; AVOID THIS o An actor can "freeze", and if the lines are learned by rote, he/she will be looking for the 'words', not the meaning ....... Learn your lines while at home, doing regular tasks - run them over and over and over ...... Make the words YOUR OWN IMPROV SUGGESTIONS (WESTON Ed.1, Pages 263 - 268) 1. PARAPHRASING: Put lines in THEIR OWN WORDS 2. IMPROV BASED ON FACTS: Unstructured, exploratory based on some facts you know about the characters, etc. 3. IMPROV to CREATE BACKSTORY: Something that happened in their life that has had a big impact on their current situation 4. PRE-SCENE BEAT: What JUST happened? Where did they come from? THEN - "Go into the words of the scene" 5. A PARALLEL EVENT or RELATIONSHIP: "As if"; use the character's INTENTION; Higher or lower stakes 6. SILENT IMPROVS: Set up the physical world and let the actors live in it - then go into the scene 7. THIRD CHARACTER IMPROV: Have actors play the scene as if the "third character" is actually in the room 8. SWITCH ROLES: Have actors switch roles 9. HIGH-LOW STATUS: Create the HIGH-LOW status situation, ie. one is crawling on the floor, one is standing over the other, etc. - then - SWITCH STATUS 3
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