Listening: The “Pause and Affect” Method

  • Pin It

shari-shawWritten by Shari Shaw

One of the most important elements when performing or auditioning is Listening. For Film, TV, Stage, anything – acting is reacting and to react, you must listen to what is being said.

Acting is about give and take. And while everyone knows that actors are very good at ‘taking’ (let’s do our daily singing warm-up, people – me-me-me-me-me-me-me!), when it comes to really being engaged and fully committed to your scene partner and other performers, you must be constantly ‘taking’ in and listening to what is going on around you. In acting, taking is not selfish, it’s crucial. Only then, can you give back.

Actors who are too busy ‘giving’ in a scene are not paying enough attention to what is going on all around and, therefore, not taking in what they should be. In order to emotionally drive your story forward, you must hear what is being said and understand the situation you’re in. The intention that drives you is your reaction to what is going on around you. You don’t create your reaction, the scene does. Scene work is not just about you and your choices. It’s about you and your choices in connection and combination with everyone else. In order to connect, you must engage. To engage, you must listen.

A common trap for actors is only thinking about you – your line, your thoughts, your intension. All good but only as it relates to everyone and everything else. Your line, your thoughts and your intentions are dependent on what the others are doing and saying. Without that engagement, you are cut off, acting alone and out of sync in the scene. You’re not feeding off others’ words and energy. Your actions affect the others, the others affect you. This leads to jumping on cue lines, rushing words and – don’t make me say it – watching yourself. Acting death.

Listening and engaging with scene partners keeps you grounded and underneath the character. It gives you room to have a thought and respond. Or as I like to call it, “Pause and Affect”.

So, listen up – here’s how it works:

Know your thoughts and intentions.

Listen. Respond. Listen.

Take it in, give it back.

Ying. Yang. Ebb. Flow.

Pause. Affect.

Got it?

Did you listen to what I just said?

Combining principles and techniques learned from legendary coaches Lee Strasberg, Peggy Fuery, and John Lehne, years of on-camera experience as a working actor, more than 10 years as an acting coach, her own inspiring, high-energy personality, along with a remarkable talent for spot-on insights and analyses to adjust and fix an actor’s work, Shari Shaw has created an acclaimed approach to training today’s actors for TV, film and stage. She has also successfully translated these techniques into a focused, success-oriented approach to coaching Business Executives and all types Public Speakers and Performers. In November, Shari will direct the NBC Universal Showcase at the Renberg Theatre.

http://www.sharishaw.com | Follow Shari on Facebook & Twitter

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/watch-andy-serkis-talks-motion-c.jpg
Watch: Andy Serkis Talks Motion Capture, His Career and More
This week saw the release of the final film in The Lord of the Rings saga, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Out of the dozens of actors who appeared in the series, the one whose career was most defined by the six-film franchise is Andy Serkis, who portrayed Gollum in the series […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/dan-stevens-summer-in-february.jpg
Dan Stevens Recalls When Shia LaBeouf Disrupted One of His Broadway Performances: “I wish I’d had a broadsword then”
Though Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is billed as the final movie in the fantasy series, it still incorporates some new blood into the mix alongside franchise favorites like Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. The most significant new addition is Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey, who plays Lancelot. Lancelot doesn’t realize that […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bradley-cooper-the-elephant-man.jpg
Bradley Cooper Takes A Grad School Dream To The Broadway Stage With, ‘The Elephant Man’
Bradley Cooper is proving to be an actor who wants a career defined by strong work. Instead of solely relying upon franchises like The Hangover, the Oscar nominee is mixing it up again between the big screen and the stage. Cooper is starring in The Elephant Man on Broadway this theatre season. It’s a role […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bob-balaban-a-delicate-balance.jpg
Bob Balaban on Being a Character Actor: “It’s what I do and who I am and I really enjoy it”
With Glenn Close and John Lithgow in the cast of Broadway’s A Delicate Balance, it’s okay if you didn’t notice that veteran actor Bob Balaban is also in the cast. Balaban, who is probably best known for his roles in Christopher Guest‘s mockumentaries and for his supporting roles in dozens of other films, has returned […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/michael-c-hall-hedwig.jpg
Michael C. Hall on His Broadway Life After ‘Dexter': “There was a desire to perform an exorcism”
When it was announced that Michael C. Hall was replacing Andrew Rannells in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, it was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t that people thought Hall couldn’t pull off the role of a transgender rock star — he was previously on Broadway as the Master of Ceremonies in […]