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Looking for clues

Information about how to find and use the "given clues" within a script
A detectives coat and hat hangs on a rack, underneath stands a pair of boots. A trail of footsteps leads into the distance as a magnifying glass inspects a pair of the prints.

As you may have realized the work will be part finding clues in the script and part using your imagination to make what you find specific and interesting and meaningful to you.

Everyone may see for instance that a scene is about someone asking somebody else for a loan. And that it’s for funding a ground-breaking invention that they’ve come up with. Or that someone is coming to propose and probably wants the other person to say yes or is coming looking for forgiveness and so wants the other to say that everything’s ok. And seeing that is well and good.

But beyond that you must take over and think like an actor.

So, what needs to happen in the other person to make them fund your invention? They must get excited, or trust you, or take a leap of faith, or sympathize with you, or take you seriously, or accept a challenge. Or any number of things. And how might that emotional change in them look. If you don’t know what that might physically look like, then it’s much harder to know if you’re getting the reaction you want.

In the example where you’re coming to propose, it’s not the word “yes” you’re looking for, it’s the perfect moment where the other person is looking at you with love and tears in their eyes expressing “Oh my god, this is the most beautiful and happiest moment in my life. I’m so grateful to be here with you”. And then you ask the question.

Or if you’re coming to be forgiven you want the other person to really show you that everything’s fine, in their behavior.

When I work with students and try to help them make actable choices, I always look for their eyes to light up. (So that would be my objective in that “scene”). As I’m exploring an idea with them, I might offer different suggestions for what an objective could be and I kind of just keep talking until I see a reaction in them – a smile, or a laugh, or a nod or a sound. And then I know that we’re onto something. You can do that same thing by yourself.

Explore an idea in your head until you feel yourself reacting to something. I’m not saying you need to start laughing hysterically or break down crying. Just that you feel something that’s not purely intellectual. That it excites you in some way.

You need to find something that both is in line with how you interpret the scene and that you understand on a gut level.

Thinking like an actor is to look for what makes you come to life.

© Luleå University of Technology
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Introduction to Acting

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