Yesterday I felt like an actor. And a writer. It was wonderful 😉

My workday officially started with an audition for a horror movie, without a script, where we are filming ourselves, sort of like The Blair Witch project. We will have characters, and a storyline, but the dialogue will come from our own reactions, in the moment. This is what he explained when I got there, then had me audition with some sides he had sent.

I used to always learn my lines without really paying much attention to my scene partner’s lines, which you can get away with most of the time, but unless you are doing it to fully listen to and absorb the other person’s lines, the scene will suffer. I learnt this many times over the years, but especially when I was in London. When Riz Ahmed came to talk to us at LAMDA, he even said that when preparing for a role, he spends hours just listening to the other person’s lines, without even knowing his own, because those are the words that make you want to speak. Just like understanding that learning my lines was one of the least important steps in a performance, this discovery helped me stop being an actor in a scene waiting to speak. I bring this up because for the audition, instead of giving me the other person’s lines, all I got was “line”. He literally said ‘Line’ instead of any dialogue.

To be honest, I was completely thrown, although I did understand that a lot of the scenes would be me talking to myself, or to the camera, documentary-style. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone, and removed the person I could play off of, but it was also an interesting acting exercise. With no one to work with, I had to work with myself, which was strange, but must have worked, because I got the part 😉

I spent the next couple of hours editing my book before going to a café for a meeting with fellow actors for an independent project I am a part of. It is basically a group of actors getting together to film stuff that can go on our demo reels, so we discussed the storyline, brainstormed ideas and locations…it is really nice when people are excited about things.

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Finally, I had acting class, where I got to do my Begin Again scene with Art. I absolutely loved it! Not a huge fan of sitting on the ‘park bench’ and having to turn to face each other, but I love the connection between Dave and Greta, the hurt, the attraction, the regret, the love…there were so many different layers to play and experiment with. We did it once and got the note for me to be less nice at the beginning, because he had hurt me, so it made sense. Then I had to make fun of him for the ‘On the Road’ reference, and every time we did it, I got to explore something new. Our last take, Art wanted to shake things up by doing the scene like more of  a rock star. It definitely wasn’t my favorite take, because we lost a lot of the human connection, and he came off as a jerk who didn’t actually love me, but it did keep me on my toes. And made it a lot easier to get mad and be mean to him. It’s a scene I would really not mind doing again 😉

“As an actor, you’re listening to the other person and always trying to be present and take everything they’re giving you, but when they’re not there, you have to produce that yourself.”

-Tatiana Maslany

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