As Joey Tribbiani from the wildly popular sitcom Friends said on the show, “The most important part of acting is reacting.” Of course, he did not know the gravity of his own statement when he uttered it during his acting class. Let us break it down for you.As an actor, you will not always have the centre stage. The spotlight will not always be on you and you will have to share it with multiple people that breathe life into a scene. Thus, it becomes prudent to not only get your own lines right but support the act when your scene partner’s part is up.Here are some tips to help you master the skills of being a good scene partner.
This is crucial to being an excellent scene partner in particular and acting in general. An actor not paying attention and listening to their co-worker is a disaster waiting to happen. You have to observe and act on the cues of your scene partner. And for the shot to come together beautifully, all the actors have to be in sync.If you only focus on your part, you may kill the scene with your disinterested demeanour. Thus, listen to your colleague and their body language.
The director rules the set
As an actor, you are more likely to focus on your role and place in the scene. But a director has an overall idea of who goes where and what comes after what. They are the ringmasters and they know their way around their circus.So, pay heed to what they say and ask questions when you are doubtful about something. It does not matter if you are the focal point of a scene or not. If you are unsure of anything, talk it out with your director. Seek their advice and abide by their rules. They really know what they are doing.
The element of surprise
A little surprise on the set never hurt anyone as long as it does not wildly stray from the director’s vision. You are allowed to bring to a scene your individuality and a little surprise. Maybe delivering some lines in an unprecedented way or responding to your scene partner in an unscripted manner would do the trick.
Make sure whatever rabbit you whip out of the hat only adds to the scene and does not take away its charm. The spotlight does not have to be on you for you to contribute to a scene in minor ways that still gives it a more realistic touch. You can do that from the sidelines too.
Do not be a spotlight hoarder
Yes. You heard it right. A lot of actors have a knack for making it all about themselves. Nothing is more annoying than a person acting as the sun, harbouring the notion that everything else revolves around them.
It is okay if the scene does not demand you to deliver long-ish dialogues. You can still have an impact through whichever role you are playing. Lead actors may be the centre of attraction but it takes much more than just them to bring together a scene. It is the contribution of pretty much everyone involved that leads to a mesmerising watching experience for the audience.
So, find a way to shine from whatever place you are allotted in a scene and do not upstage your co-actors. Do not let your ego show up in the scenes.
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