You’ve finally booked a role! What should you be doing? Posting it on Facebook? Celebrating all night? Yes, of course. But you should be preparing for this amazing opportunity ahead of you. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a job as it is something you enjoy so much and have passion for, but don’t forget it is your JOB and you have to be professional about it.
When you book a role, you will get your sides so start working on them. You have to be off book on set, you can’t show up not ‘knowing where the script is going’ or not ‘knowing your character’s intentions’. I don’t care which technique you use but ‘not learning my lines because it will limit my acting’ isn’t one FYI.
KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING:
Is it a TV Series? Watch some episodes! Who are you talking to? Research their character. Is it a film? Research the director, watch his work, know the other actors involved.
There is a completely different approach when booking a LEAD and a SUPPORTING character.
If you have a lead role you most probably will have the chance to talk to the director extensively about your role. By the moment you’re on set you shouldn’t have questions about your character and should be ready to go.
At the beginning of your career you will get Supporting roles and as the word implies you are there to ‘support the lead actor’. If he is the ‘funny guy’ you are not there to be funnier than him, you are there to support his jokes. If she is the ‘sexy cop’ you are not there to compete with her in beauty, just to support her conflicts. All the attention and probably the edit is going to be on them so be aware and work for the same purpose the whole team is working for, they will be happier with you than if you show your need for attention.
What are you coming to do on set? ACT. One of the clearest ways of proving you’re inexperienced is to direct other actors. Impose your acting technique, impose where the script is starting from, etc. All those decisions AREN’T yours. By interfering and not respecting the director’s choices you are being unaware of all the work he has previously done. You don’t know what his overall intention is with this and he might not share that with you. Nobody cares about your directing experience while filming videos for your Youtube channel. Today you’ve been hired as an actor. So please let Directors work.
Please be especially respectful with fellow actors. You get to know a lot about other actors on set because a big part of our job is to WAIT for everything to be ready. Normally you wait in the same place as other actors and there’s always a group chatting, some reading, others on their phone, etc. Nobody is judging you when you’re spending that time speaking about your weekend plans or taking selfies. So if you see others working or alone please don’t go and ask them ”ARE YOU OK?” (Yes, it’s happened twice in my acting life) you’re putting them on the spot and distracting them from their work on their character or emotions. You’re unaware of what their needs are when portraying a role and how annoying it is for someone to not let you go over your process freely.
LEAVE YOUR EGO AT HOME:
Never forget you’re all on the same boat, all working for the same product. So instead of letting your ego condition the shoot, leave it at home. Don’t get too self-centered and obsessive when you’re on camera. If the other departments say ‘OK, let’s move on’, it means it’s worked and they’ve got what they needed, despite your opinion. So try to avoid the ’Was it ok?’, ‘I could have done better if-‘’, etc. There are so many departments working that nobody wants to deal with the actor that wants extra takes for insecurity reasons, the diva that needs too much attention or the wannabe director that doesn’t let the set flow with his remarks.
The best way I’ve found for me to understand how to behave has been to deal with actors from other positions: Producing, Directing, Writing, Editing, Coaching, etc. This is when I’ve seen things I will never reproduce as an actress on set and realized how acting is a piece of a BIG puzzle; no piece is more important on a puzzle as the objective is to have the whole thing finished.