Here’s one of the biggest problems most actors don’t realize they have. They use a very thorough scene analysis process to make choices that reflect the way the scene is written. The problem is those are the choices the camera finds the least interesting. They mirror what the scene is already doing leaving the scene flat and one dimensional. They are the right choices but not interesting choices. In auditions, most actors will be using the same scene analysis process to make the same right choices and at the end of the day none of them will stand out. Actors who make interesting choices are the ones filmmakers can’t get out of their minds when they’re lying in bed at night trying to imagine their movie. The camera will always seek out actors making interesting choices and ignore actors only making the right ones.
Here’s a simple 1-2-3 step process for making the most interesting choices in auditions and on set. Make two columns, column A and column B. Do your regular scene analysis process and take what you learn from that scene analysis process and put it into column A. That’s the right way to play the scene.
Now, in column B, list three other choices that are also plausible for the story and all different from each other and not what you have in column A. Play the first choice in column B and you’ll be a little interesting. Play the second choice in column B and you’ll be very interesting. Play the third choice in column B and you’ll be fascinating, and all three will be still plausible for the story.
Nobody else in the audition or on set will be creating choices as cinematic.