Actor’s Etiquette: Speed

0958_MA_49_Set EtiquetteFootball season is upon us.  Success in college football does not guarantee success in the NFL.  Why?  Speed.  The NFL game is faster.  Why?  The NFL has the crème de la crème.  It’s spread out in college, but the quality of the players is more concentrated on the professional level.  As a result, everything is faster and sharper.

Understand that speed, in acting, has nothing to do with pauses.  Eliminating pauses does not contribute the kind of speed I’m talking about.  Speed can shorten the pauses without taking away their power, but speed never means cutting them out entirely.  It means not being self-indulgent about our “moments”.  It means interrupting on time, not a beat too late.  It means entering promptly.  It means speaking more quickly than you might ordinarily.

Speed can be a reflection of high energy, but they are not identical and you can’t substitute one for the other.  Speed means that the audience can feel the momentum of the piece.  It’s like wanting to get a drink from the kitchen while you’re watching TV.  Do you wait for the next commercial, or do you think  you can get in and out of the kitchen without missing much?  (In a world without Tivo, that is.)

Speed means that things are going quickly enough that you would indeed miss something if you went to the refrigerator.

Speed, Energy, and Volume ARE interrelated.  If you don’t have energy, your volume will be down.  Try to intentionally pump up your volume, you’ll automatically increase your energy.  If you don’t have energy, you won’t have speed.  Intentionally increase your speed (you may feel like you’re forcing it, but that can be okay), and energy will follow.


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