Once you’re on set of a movie or TV show, you suddenly become aware of all the time you spend – waiting. You wait between scenes, you wait for lunch, you wait for lunch to be over, you wait for scenes to be re-shot, and you wait for your turn to go on. Waiting is probably the biggest surprise and most frustrating part of acting. In fact, although some days are full of “your scenes,” most days are not and you may find that only 15-20% of your day was actually spent working. So what do you do while waiting?
I’m a strong believer in positive thinking so I’d like you to use your power of positivity to turn waiting into opportunity. Think of it as getting paid not only to work but also to catch up. How often can you get paid to catch up on email or finish a paper if you’re a student, or write that Pulitzer Prize winning screenplay? Seriously, whether you have a way to go online or not, you have your most powerful computer in your own mind and can still write, read, create and study. Creativity is the key.
Ideally, you can bring your laptop or Blackberry and even use the extra time to submit for jobs. If you have a laptop but can’t get online, you can write emails and then send them from home that night, or make lists, or finish homework. Positive affirmations are really important to program your thinking to success. What better time than while on set to read, write, or memorize your positive thinking techniques? Create your next jobs mentally while physically working on your current job! How cool is that? Do you have a monologue prepared for a sudden audition that calls for one? Bring it with you and memorize it while waiting. You have the extra-added bonus of other actors (also waiting) who would be happy to listen and give you feedback. Waiting actors have a real sense of camaraderie and are usually willing to help each other. (After all, they want something to do, too). And speaking of that, make friends. You will be amazed how much you can learn from fellow actors and their experiences, including auditions you may not know about. Making friends in this business is a real plus.
Another benefit of being on set is that many times you’re able to watch the action as the filming takes place. You are theoretically being paid to study your craft. Watch the actors and how they prepare for scenes. Notice how easily they walk to their marks or how carefully they listen to the director. Pay attention to how they handle themselves between scenes or what techniques they use to express various emotions. Many times you’re sequestered in another area, but when you get the chance to be in on the filming, PAY ATTENTION! Real life is the best acting class you can take.
If you ever tell me you’re bored or frustrated with all the waiting, I’ll know you haven’t even begun to tap into your true creativity. As long as your mind is active, you should never use the B word – bored.