I Don’t Know What To Do With a Script
As an aspiring actor, perhaps you can relate to the frustration that comes when you are given a great opportunity to either audition for or work on a significant part or a complicated script. Maybe you have taken some scene study classes where you have read a play, memorized your lines, and did your scene in front of a teacher that gave you some line readings and some general notes. But then you actually get a professional opportunity, and you stare at these dead words on a page and know instinctively that there is more to acting then memorizing these lines and practicing how I want to say them into a mirror?
Outstanding actors, well-trained ones, know how to break down a script. They know how to read a text for the first time. They know how to break it down into beats, actions, and line intentions. They know how to implant meaning. They know how to prepare to connect to the previous circumstance emotionally. They have a skill set which allows them to respond the way the character needs to. They are educated on the history of great plays and films, bringing knowledge of genre and history to their understanding of the material. They have developed an appreciation of psychology as it pertains to character. They get intuitively the importance of understanding why a character behaves the way they do, and realize this is an incredibly valuable insight.
The Meisner Technique Trains an Actor How to Read a Script
I believe that the technique created by Sandy Meisner in the 1330’s is the most effective way to train an actor in how to interpret a script. The first and second years of the Meisner Technique provide any serious actor with a road map, a way of approaching material that keeps them from feeling like an overwhelmed amateur. There are a series of questions that an actor must answer in a simple, specific, and personal way. Actors call this crafting. You must be able to pin down the previous circumstance and connect to it emotionally off stage or off set. You must know how to craft an acting relationship. You need to identify your objective when you get one and know when it changes. You then need to understand actions and have the ability to do them without thinking. And finally, you must have the ability to implant meaning not only to your lines but also to what is said to you in every moment. It is a tremendous amount of work.
Anything good that happens to you as an actor is a by-product of how well you craft. Most actors don’t know how to do it, so the only thing they can produce is general, pedestrian behavior. The best actors know how to break down a script in simple, actable terms. Simple, specific, and personal crafting will always lead to vivid behavior. So if you feel lost and adrift when you stare down at a script, do yourself a favor and get yourself trained. It’s the first step towards being taken seriously as an actor. Hopefully, that is what you want.
Script Analysis Classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio
The Maggie Flanigan Studio trains professional actors ( http://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/) based on the teaching and life work of Sanford Meisner. The professional actor training program includes script analysis classes. Actors who are interested in applying to the acting programs should call the studio at (917) 794-3878 and schedule an admissions interview.