Thinking about a shot

Billy and I get a lot of questions about how do you get good acting. Well we can’t really answer that it’s subjective and also relates to your inherent ability to act. But there are tips for how to help you come up with acting choices.

Here is an example of the things you might want to be thinking about when approaching a shot.

The Shot
Character at a bus stop and he just missed his bus.

All the stuff you need to know to animate this shot.
• What is the story point of this shot?
• Why does this shot exist in the film?
• What is it you are trying to tell?
• Who is this character?
• What was the character’s emotional state before he/she got to this shot? In the Sequence and film?
• How does the character feel about missing the bus?
• Where did he/she come from and where is he/she going?
• What time of day does the character arrive at the bus stop?
• What is the weather like; cold, hot, windy, rainy etc?

Answers to questions like these will help you start to understand the character and their appropriate reactions to situations like a character missing his bus. These answers start to help you build your performance, the character’s acting. You start having things you can act out that make sense rather than just hitting a bunch of standard poses that don’t relate to the character’s current emotional state and situation.
The first thing I do, which I think is super important, is I try to capture all of the above questions in one frame. I create my story frame or my KEY, Golden drawing, whatever you want to call it, and then determine what else needs to be in the shot to get the story point across. Less is more.
There are a million more questions you can ask yourself about any shot these are just a few to help get started. What questions can you come up with?

Dr. Stephen G.