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Improvise and Realize

Air Date: 10/26/2023

Improvise and Realize

I was asked to workshop a scripted reality show pilot last week. A sort of send-up on actors in an acting conservatory setting. My job was to help the actors connect and relate to their characters and the other cast members in the project. At first, I wasn’t completely sure how to take on such a task. It needed to look and feel natural for the talent and yet was surrounded by scripted elements. I finally figured it out. A skill that every actor can really use no matter what. We’re going to look at an often under-used technique that can make surprising impacts on your acting. Improvise and realize on this episode of Casting Actors Cast!

Define improvisation: Spontaneous interactions from a character under special circumstances. Unplanned connections and reactions from the character you are playing

General rules for your improv work:

1. Cannot refuse or say “no” in the situation you are given

2. Must work within the circumstances and move toward the objective in the scene

3. Connect emotionally, physically and mentally with the character choices you make

4. Stay in character

5. Talent is not allowed to end the scene. It must continue until the director sees a logical conclusion or beat

What happens when you Improvise and Realize?

1. Must connect to the partner while maintaining the character you are playing

2. Excellent listening training

3. Define’s real moments for your actor memory

4. Spontaneous and surprising qualities produce unexpected results

5. Objective, goal, subtext, nuance are all key features when done well

When you Improvise and Realize…

1. Discovery of interesting choices become apparent

2. Fear of the unexpected creates heightened awareness and specific energy

3. Adds dimension and layers to your character and informs your relationships

4. Removes your structured choices and provides creative confidence

5. It’s fun

Finding spontaneity with your acting is critical for your professional life. You can use the tools of improvisation in every role to great effect. More and more professional environments rely on and expect an actors ability to improvise and realize.

Jeffrey Dreisbach, Casting Partner, McCorkle Casting LTD-New York, NY

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