A Bad Studio Day - When Things Go Wrong
Occasionally it happens that so many things go wrong on one day that there is no hope of achieving the day's shooting schedule. It's usually caused by ill health but sometimes by bad weather. Bad weather can often be planned for but ill health is nearly always unexpected. Sometimes so many people are sick or injured that scripts have to be re-written and schedules re-organised. This is a nightmare for the production manager, line producer and first assistant. But it can also put pressure on actors.
Often the main stress generator is in fact fear of the unknown. All the preparations the actor usually practices are suddenly removed and the sense of understanding and the element of control they generate no longer exist. Confidence is replaced by a great sense of insecurity. The pressure being placed on the actor to deliver a performance at short notice generates a fear that he/she will let the team down. Inexperienced actors often fear that -
Without the experience which demonstrates otherwise, these fears are not unreasonable. However, other actors may in fact be looking forward to the challenges of the day with a sense of adventure. For many people the complete rearrangement of the schedule brings a great sense of freedom for it absolves them of any responsibility.
They look forward to a day in which whatever they can achieve will contribute to helping resurrect something from the ashes of a disaster entirely instigated by fate. Directors and First Assistants along with the Art Department are all addressing the day with an attitude of "OK! We will do what we can!" Actors should do the same.
In fact actors who view a day of unexpected challenges with an open enthusiasm create for themselves a wonderful learning opportunity in which they may suddenly flourish discovering a raft of new skills they were not actually aware they had.
In fact having to work under conditions which force a breaking of old habits may reveal a plethora of new skills and allow a blossoming of understanding and process. This is the sort of adventure which should not be missed.
No one can be responsible for the unexpected. The only option for everyone is to relax, assess, identify problems and make the next choice ... not a bad description of the acting process itself.
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