A Giving Actor

A friend of mine asked what a “giving actor” was. Here was my response, may it serve you well:

To me, being a giving actors starts with the other and works backwards. Read the script. What is the other person saying? This will make your lines come more naturally and be more easily memorizable. Get the memorized words out as word-perfect as possible without dwelling on them. The goal is to give your acting partner the cues they need to react appropriately to what you’re saying. Word perfection is both a huge confidence boost and gives both of you more room to play. Study your partner. How are they crafting their character? Even if you are just reading for them, study study study, let this inform how you are crafting your character, so that there are not two contrasting visions going down. Feel free to dialogue about it. The end goal is good chemistry and everybody is different. So, do what you can to complement and move on. Especially if you are reading for multiple people, this can be both challenging and a lot of fun, since a group of people often have a group of interpretations of the same scene. Be present in the read and when they are taking your partner’s coverage during the actual filming. Sometimes this will give you your best performance because the stress is off you. Study how that feels and channel that when the camera is back on you. Also, give the same love you’re showing to your actors to the director. If he or she throws you a curve ball, run with it, so that it becomes more of a game of “Simon Says” rather than “Guess Who’s Right?” We’re there to serve the production and make it damn good, and often times that involves a lot of dialogue and flexibility to make the scene work and visions vibe. Finally, work to create a comfortable atmosphere for your partner. We do a lot of hard scenes in our line of work. Make sure they are okay. Joke around. Note: some people stay in character in between takes. This is fine. You want to present the best performance you can, as well. So, in this case, find the balance. Hope that helps. All these things really help, and trust me I continue to work on them as well. That said, rock it, have fun, and, yeah, totally give me your answers as well! All my best.

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