Artists have their own way of approaching their scripts the first time these things land on their laps. Some of them create the world where the characters live, while others imagine the detailed sets, complete with lights and cameras aimed at them. Still, others imagine the end—the money and fame that comes after a successful box-office run.
While there is something positive for each of these methods, it seems that a combination of all three approaches will be the best way to take in your script.
But first thing’s first: you have to take a look at your script. Right off the bat, you will see your dramatis personae of cast list, which includes a brief note that has in it contextual details like age and profession that you will need for an appropriate approach of the characters.
Take time to research a role—yes, a lot of details are given in the script, but sometimes, you have to take it upon yourself to research in order to portray the role accurately.
Ask yourself questions about the script that can help you become a better actor, for instance, where and when the scenes are set, or if there are specific ways that people carry themselves, or dress, or if there are any major events that took place. This way, you can understand the social, political, and historical context of the story.
Once you’re able to do that, you can go over your script again and decide for yourself how you’re going to approach it in a way that can help you prepare better for the role. However, if you have no idea which approach works best for you, here are some tips:
Approaching a script like it is set in the real world will give you a more grounded performance—and you can become more authentic as a character. The stakes of the scenes will be fluid as it is in real-life because you have immersed yourself in the world of the script. Your relationship with other characters become real and you are transported in another place and time. Everything is at stake, because for those who take this approach (which is sometimes referred to as method acting), their roles are part of the real world, real death, real consequences.
While this is not as immersive as the real-world approach, this is where you see yourself in costume, and the actor opposite you is another character who can help you show the audience what the bigger picture is. The bird’s-eye approach makes your approach more functional. You can tell the story with other actors on-stage without having to put anyone in danger. It is a story, it is not about life and death. You will invite your audience in, and they will be able to enjoy every word
This approach works best for long-running plays. You can separate yourself enough from your character so that you can maintain your social life outside the stage. You tell your audience a story on stage, but once the curtain closes, you’re back to being the plain old you, who would probably need a bubble bath after a long day of performing.
Those who go for the futuristic approach look at the end game: giving the bow to a standing ovation, getting all buddy-buddy with the big Hollywood stars, and maybe the paycheck that can definitely pay off your student loans.
The hunger for success is infectious, and while others may think not focusing on your actual work may be dangerous, there is something useful about seeing the end game—it will give you more confidence as an actor and could attract a lot of good vibes.
A combination of these approaches can help you nail your performance as an artist. For instance, some actors focus on a real-world approach when filming for a television show or movie to avoid overacting. However, having a bird’s-eye perspective makes theater actors better in handling confusing direction that comes with live shows. Finally, there are also others who believe that focusing on their future could help them pick the roles that they actually want so that they can take their careers to the right direction.