Photo by Debra Lopez
What we learned about on camera performance from Bridgerton, Season 2: Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in the Bee Scene
What is the key to phenomenal on camera performance?
This was a great question, I got from my client, Ann Perry Wallace. And over the next few weeks, I will be exploring returning to the basics. It's the first thing we learn in acting class and the very first thing we forget once we get in front of the camera: Truthfully listening and responding moment-to-moment.
1. Instead of waiting to play the beats of a scene you detailed ahead of time, you truly listen deeply and respond in the moment to what your scene partner is giving you.
2. The emotional homework you have created is not what you work on during a scene. We shouldn't be watching your homework: which looks like you trying to make moments happen that your scene partner have not given you or trying to remember lines.
Your response is informed by the larger given circumstances of the relationships, the inciting incident in the scene and what you and your scene partner learn from each other while the scene is happening. What you learn moment-to-moment irrevocably changes both people by the end of the scene.
3. Learn how to say "fuck it" and be present instead of trying to be perfect. Acting is about doing truthfully in the imaginary world. The world may be imaginary, but your emotions and response to what is happening to you is informed by the most truthful barometer of them all: your heart.
4. Working moment-to-moment only happens when you are off book by rote. If you memorize lines according to the beats you want to hit, you are never ever in the moment. The camera picks up on that and it reads as if you're pretending which indeed you are because you cannot experience genuine human emotion while playing beats: that's not what acting is about. If nothing profoundly deep is happening to you, then it won't happen to your audience.
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April Yvette Thompson