Patrick’s Acting Class Notes: 11/6/18

Some thoughts on “Noticing the Moments”….

In every scene we’ve found one of those moments. An Ah Hah! moment. Something that was part of the arc of the scene. I don’t know if this was a conscious writing decision or one that just comes most naturally to humans. I suspect both. But in playing it… it must be a conscious thing. It’s that moment when you let the audience catch up to what your writing… and what the character is thinking/feeling. And it is growth for the character… and that always come slowly. And actors have to find a way to act, feel, experience those beats. You can’t do them… they have to do you!

I think before I’ve likened it to “giving face”… that thing we do in Soaps. It also resonates with what I’d call expanding a moment… films do that is slow motion and cutaways so that an instant of real life can stretch out and have impact on the audience. Maybe it’s the equivalent of a writer’s stage direction of a PAUSE, BEAT, SILENCE, or even a LOOK. In musicals it’s often the cue for a song. In movies it’s al most always a change in music. In life we almost never realize those moments till later after they’re past and we can look back on them. Regardless… we’ve found examples in each of the scenes we’ve worked on. So I think that’s an element of this writing and as a performer… you must be aware of them. If there are lots of those it might be referred to as a style. If none then a fast pace. Or if well used in balance… then it’s dramedy and good acting/film making.

It seems to me that few of the scenes we work on in class have that kind of moment. Maybe we do mostly TV writing, or those scenes just don’t catch our performance eye, or maybe they’re harder to do. Whatever the reason it’s mostly absent from our workouts… here in your writing it abounds. Now that could easily dissolve into an all too slow paced film if it becomes a style. But it could also be a light almost comic touch if well used.

So just a heads up to you as a performer that these moments when they occur have to be noticed and played. They’re little notes of music that you can’t ignore.