What is Scene Study?

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Scene study involves actors taking a specific scene from a movie, television or play and working on it in front of an acting instructor or a group of peers.  The goal is to receive specific constructive feedback that helps the actor improve their craft and their abilities in specific roles. Scene Study is a way for actors to continually work on their craft and discover their strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great way to take all the exercises and techniques they have learned to create characters, connect to the emotions of the part, and fight for what they need and put them into a performance. Scene Study is a very important part of the actor’s process because it makes the actor harness his or her skill set to create a performance. Technique classes are where actors learn the exercises and build up their foundational skills, Scene Study is where they put it all together.

What Scene Study is NOT:

Scene Study is not a place to learn a foundational technique. Therefore, it is not the best place for beginners. Scene Study is best for actors who already have some training and some skills that they can bring to the performance of a scene. We at EMAS get many students who joined a Scene Study class somewhere else and felt they had no understanding of how to approach a role or scene. So they came to our Beginning Technique classes or our Meisner Technique program to learn those important steps first.

How Scene Study Benefits Acting Skills

Scene Study is a beneficial class because it allows for actors to explore different writers, styles and genres of scripts. They learn how to craft the arc of the scene, and they get to practice creating different characters. Timing, focus, and taking direction are all part of a scene study. It teaches actor’s how to break down a script into playable actions, as well as develops their dexterity to approach different characters truthfully. It also helps them realize the collaborative process between actors and directors and coaches. The actor learns the nuances of the director’s scope of the direction of a plot. The experience of scene study helps the actor perform their roles with a keen awareness of the intent of the director. It is also important for an actor to get comfortable putting up a “finished product”. So to speak and Scene Study can help them get there.

Tips on Doing a Scene Study

Scene Study is a chance to take risks in an actor’s work and develop characters and scenes they may not be asked to play in the professional world. Taking risks includes working on weaknesses as well as strengths. You should be working in class every week, so you do not get rusty. Work on a range of writing styles from comedy to drama, from Aaron Sorkin to Tenessee Williams. Even style pieces are important these days (Shakespeare, Restoration Comedy etc.) as more and more TV shows and movies are taking place in another time period. Find out what you do well and what you need to continue to work on. Find a teacher who you trust. Work with them over time. It takes a while for an instructor to really learn how you work. Give them at least 3 months to learn how to help you grow as an actor. Work with committed actors who are willing to rehearse and put in the work.

Conclusion – Scene Study

Scene study is a great way to keep acquired skills sharp and even learn new ways to approach a part. It is the best way to stay on the top of your skill set so that you are at your best for that big audition!

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