Sitting down after a long day on set, I was discussing the art of film acting and other information with a group of aspiring film actors. While my body was weary from the 12-hour work days I’ve been experiencing, my mind was running wild with the possibility of assisting younger and lesser-experienced actors throughout their journey. After several minutes of light banter, one of the actors asked, “I remember reading somewhere that you have to match all of your movements from the rehearsal, how do you do that?”
Taking a sip from my coffee, I smiled and said, “It’s not that complicated. You just need to remember.” The night continued, but when I arrived home and laid my head on my pillow I thought about my answer. While it is really isn’t very complicated for me, others may find the requirement of memorizing their movements a daunting one.
Remembering your movements from rehearsals is a skillset required of all film and TV actors, and while this is an individualized process, there are several tips to help guide you.
Using Surrounding Objects
Whenever I first arrive on set for a rehearsal, I immediately take note of furniture, props and other physical objects within my vicinity to help make a mental note of my positioning amongst them. Throughout the rehearsal of the scene, part of my mind is continually tracking my placement in correlation with these objects.
The purpose of this is during the actual filming process, I can remember where I was standing in correlation to a chair, vase or vehicle at specific moments within a scene. This allows me to mimic my physical placement throughout the scene take-after-take.
Try to make major physical movements before, during or after saying or hearing a specific keyword. For example, in rehearsal you placed your cup of coffee on the table after saying the words “Come here.” Thus, in future takes, you can remember after you say the phrase “come here” you need to place your cup of coffee on the table. This is an extremely easy way to mimic your movements from rehearsal in every shot.
Position with Other Actors
When all else fails, remember your position when related to other actors. Sometimes I just can’t remember where I was standing in relation to objects and my keyword movements become jumbled due to a long scene. When this is the case, I always remember where I am positioned with the other actors during a scene. While this may not be the most accurate way to replicate your movements from rehearsal, it is helpful to at least this get close to mimicking your physical placement and movements.