Regi: Improvisasjon

Using improvisation can help the actor to live (and re-live) the moment even though he has rehearsed the scene over and over again. With improvisation you can get deeper into the story, and thus get a better understanding of and stronger performances from your actors

The following are different methods and ways of using improvisation in rehearsals and also on set (if you're lucky enough to have some time to share with your actors).

: Get your actors to say his or her lines like they want to put them. That way your actors will get accustomed to the meaning and feeling of the dialogue, and therefore can dig deeper into the emotional transcript of the scene instead of focusing on exact words.

Using facts in the scene
: When you read through a scene you usually get a feeling for what it is that drives the character and how he reacts to others around him. So if we would use the characters facts and rehearse the same scene we're about to shoot (the scene could be e.g. the characters meeting for the first time) and instead of the actors doing their lines they're supposed to deliver, we give them total freedom and simply let them use their impulses based on previous given facts of the character and the scene.

This could lead you and the actor to important information and insight into the characters' objectives, their primary relationships, their subtext, and their issues. It also creates opportunities of layers.

Improvise the backstory: 
It can often help for a character build-up to create improvised scenes that are supposed to happen in the character's past. You could try different possibilities of your characters relationships. Take for example Juno, in the film Juno, and her relationship with Paulie, the father of her child, and how it was before she became pregnant. Also if we use the movie Juno again as an example, it could be interesting to explore how Vanessa and Mark found out they couldn't have babies on their own and what their reaction was at that moment.

The moment right before the scene: 
It can almost be 'shotgun-like' when you scream out "aaaaaaand action!" right before the scene. Your actors could feel like in a beginning of a race and start out with different energy than what the scenes needs. Sometimes it's good to have the actors play out the moment right before the actual scene. That way they pick up the tempo and the vibe from each other. You could have them start this sort of improvisation right before you're about to shoot the scene and tell them to go, in their own time, into the words of the scene.

Silent improvs: Silent improvs is when you have your actors play out the scene without saying a word. Facial and physical expression become the actor's only tool and his/her focus moves from his/her lines to other features. Before saying "action", you could also use this method right before shooting the actual scene as it helps them connect with each other.

The parallel
: By using improvisation you're having the actor play 'as if' something instead of having him thinking 'as if' before a scene. So what could be interesting is that when you have scene where a couple is arguing and you want the woman to "discipline her man like a mother would do to her son" to have the actors actually improvise a scene where the actress plays a mother and the actor her son. With that sort of improvisation you can define and tune the intention of the scene.

Be creative
: These types of improvisation methods are only few of the improvs you can use to get your actor deeper into character. You can also develop your own improvisation stories and techniques, it's just a matter of being creative. What's good to keep in mind is to keep the setup for them physical and factual instead of abstract and psychological.

Written by Rúnar Ingi Einarsson