In this post, I will share with you the preparation I undertook for my first TV Series. Wow! What an enriching journey and learning process as an actor it has been for me!
Months prior to the shoot
Communication with the Director
I was so lucky to work with a director who was very communicative. We had back-and-forth conversations regarding the role, the character and story during many months prior to filming. This helped me tremendously to understand what story we were trying to tell, what my character’s believes were, her view about the other characters she interacted with. It was a fascinating process! Co-creating at its best! 🙂
Interviews with people who work in my character’s position (job).
It was very important for me to understand deeply my character’s job, her daily routine, work assignments, and how she saw the world through her eyes. Also, and very important, what her purpose was, her main motivations. For that I interviewed people in her position and asked maaaaany questions. I was stunned by how much I learned about human beings and their unique experiences.
Watch videos about the character’s consumption preferences.
This activity helped me know what were the interests of my character, how she would spend her time, on what subjects would she engaged, and find useful knowledge that would inform my character’s behaviour, believes, and responses.
Understand the character’s spiritual lifestyle by interviewing people with the same beliefs.
In order to be truthful to my character, I asked questions to learn and inform myself about the spiritual lifestyle that a person has. What is it like, the life you live? What are your thoughts on this particular subject? What prompts someone to choose this lifestyle or belief? What triggers this in you? The answers can be a surprise, new information, can enlighten you, can make you be more empathetic, on a personal level.
IT INFORMS YOU FROM WHICH PLACE WITHIN HERSELF OR HIMSELF YOUR CHARACTER OPERATES IN THIS WORLD.
Listen to podcasts about real stories, similar to the ones my character lived, and to also learn her accent, her culture, her beliefs.
By doing so, I empathised with the people telling their testimonies, put myself in their shoes, and found a solid understanding WHY my character could be the way she is, WHY her faith was so strong, and WHERE her strength could came from.
Know the motivations and belief system of the character.
I find these to be the core foundations to understand someone. It was a must for me to dig into them. I kept searching and discussing with people since my character’s world was new to me. As previously mentioned, I had multiple sources from reality where to find useful information to understand the character.
Perform work out routines and trained my mind set.
In order to keep up during many days and hours of shooting, you have to be at your best physically and mentally. Therefore I set my self to run pretty much daily, trained my muscles, dranked lots of water, received Coaching, and took care of my face skin (of course, as actors the camera is on you). It was particularly important for me to train my mindset by reading a lot about growth mindset, psychology, and also did some private coaching sessions.
Visualize my goals.
I did lots of visualizations. The power of visualization is incredible. You imagination is a tool. Put it at its best use! So many things I visualized became true. By visualizing , you get to live the event twice. So its like a form of practical exercise in your mind, that you then get to do in real life, with more confidence.
Meditation and Affirmations.
Meditation is very useful to quite the noise in your head and then receive insights, ideas, or solutions to problems you didn’t find the answer before.
Affirmations worked for me as daily reminders of positive ideas, thoughts and believes. They make you remember again, and again. We humans learn by practice and repetition.
Have healthy eating habits.
I ate very healthy during the months of my preparation and training . I knew that healthy food help you have mental clarity and concentration, better mood, and an overall good skin.
Memorize my script lines (of course 🙂
First I read the script several times. Wrote downs the ideas about what was going on in the scene, why the character reacts the way she does AND SAYS WHAT SHE SAYS, what is she trying to achieve. Then I would memorize scene by scene. I started memorizing the script like a month and half before shooting, when I knew I had the final version. Scripts tend to change. If you are new to the process of learning looooots of lines, you have to calculate how long it can take you to learn the whole script. You definitely want to avoid not knowing your lines by the time you have to shoot. You want to feel confident in order to feel you can play and perform that day.
During the shoot
The Director and I kept having conversations about the scenes and their dynamics. Sometimes there are adjustments to be made.
I reviewed the shooting scenes for the next day every day to know my character’s energy, mood, motivations, to know with precision what goes on the scenes, and if there were scenes that required a lot of emotional responses (crying, arguing, to be playful, etc. )
I visualized the shooting day and scenes.
I studied again the lines of the script, the intentions, the actions, motivations of the character.
I made affirmations.
I ate well
REALLY IMPORTANT , got enough sleep to perform well on the day of the shoot.
I drank lots of water.
I went for runs to clear my mind.
I prepared the night before my backpack with my notes on the scenes and had everything I needed on set with me.
Recommendation for actors
The key to everything: DISCIPLINE, PREPARATION, COMMITMENT.
During YOUR FREE TIME when filming, you have the opportunity to go for a walk and explore the places near the hotels you are staying, go to dinner with the cast and production crew, among other possibilities. But if the next day you have a shooting day with many scenes (many hours), you need to manage your time and energy well.
It is important that the day before your shoot:
- – you organize yourself,
- – rest the necessary hours,
- – take care of your voice,
- – and that you drink plenty of water and eat food that help you perform well.
The idea is to MAINTAIN AN OPTIMAL MENTAL AND BODY STATE throughout the shoot.
Remember that the shooting plan can be several days, weeks or even a few months.
TRUST, that if you have done all the work, you will achieve to be in the moment, feel confident, play, and enjoy the experience.
Written by Ivana Consolani. Actress. 31st March 2022.