Looking for a Moment.
This week I had one objective- to look for a moment in each prepared scripted scene and focus on it, until each student felt as though they had made some kind of 'Breakthrough'.
We began the session allowing the students to prepare for a reading, as if in a casting session and building upon what we had experienced the week before, I asked the students to be prepared to be distracted, but to remain focussed.
Starting with 'Idents' to camera, with 'additional' instructions and 'interferences'.
I had explained to the students that the 'Ident" (name/ agent/ show your hands/profiles), to camera, was sometimes the first thing that producers, or directors saw of you, if they were not present in the casting. In which case, it's really important to remain focussed and present yourself in a professional manner. I began throwing random questions at the students, whilst still on camera and the improvement from the last time that we had performed this exercise, was extraordinary. All students kept their focus and their eyes on the camera, but didn't look frozen. They managed to keep a nice energy throughout their indents and retained their personalities.
Next, their prepared scenes.
Following on from their indents, their scenes were energised and well thought out. They have began to treat the casting situation like a performance, which means that the scenes being read to the casting director and recorded on camera are engaging. Again, a vast improvement in 7 days.
The next stage for us was to look at taking some direction, so the students were set the task of answering a few basic questions, as they prepared their scenes with a partner:
Who am I?
Where am I?
Who am I talking to?
What do I want?
Obvious questions, but I needed them to discuss these questions with each other and relate them to what is happening in the script (The Material). This is their 'job' on this assignment. To bring something to the table. To make some decisions about who they are and what it is that their character wants. In doing this, they can find an objective for the scene and have something to play with and present something for their opposite character to play against.
This enabled the students to take some direction and also prompted them to ask some questions about the scenes and their characters back stories.
We had previously looked at putting scenes in front of the camera, in week 4, but now I wanted to stop the scenes, when I thought that a 'moment' of action, or a thought process had been missed, or skipped over. We constantly have a monitor running for the benefit of these students who are not on camera, to see what is happening 'on-screen'. This enables them to have a visual reference and helps them understand how slight adjustments in performance can have a huge impact on a scene.
Our students will, in the next half of the term, be working, initially, on theatre exercises, before we re-introduce the cameras again. It has been important to cover some basic level of camera acting and we will continue to move between the two genres, as it is important for them not to get stuck in one style. Next term they will spend the majority of the time in front of the camera, so we need to look at some of the more important aspects of character work and understanding how to deconstruct a scene, to find the most basic of answers.
This is our company Blog, re-capping previous weeks sessions.