Status, Why It’s Important

A lot of things need to happen to make a scene successful, some more obvious than others. One thing that helps me gauge how well a scene is going in my on-camera scene study class is whether or not the actors are aware of and playing their character’s status.

First and foremost, actors need to know what their Main Objective is. What is it that your character wants from the other character(s), or from the situation or the circumstances revealed in the scene? The Main Objective is the engine that drives the scene.

imagesOnce a character knows what his/her Main Objective is then the element of status comes into play. There are two possible scenarios for your character in a scene: you are either getting closer to whatever your goal is or you’re moving further away from it.

In a well-written scene the issue of your character’s status should always be in flux.

With each scene the writer wants to impart a certain amount of information but if they23yytwx4h3h2ckhjs47icijwusr4z3_17-1 slant the scene too heavily in one character’s favor the audience will get bored. Why? Because there isn’t enough conflict or tension to hold their interest. So, in a well-written scene, one moment you might be getting closer to what you want only to discover in the next moment you have lost ground and the thing you wanted is actually slipping away from you.

Where actors get into trouble is they pick a main objective and then make a beeline toward it. By doing so they miss out on the chance to orchestrate the scene, to play the highs and the lows, to experience and express the shifts in their character’s status. Once you understand how important this shifting of status is, you can create compelling, exciting characters. Ask yourself the next time you’re working on a scene “Am I, at this moment, getting closer to what I want or is it slipping away from me.” And let the answer to that question motivate what you do next. I promise you, the ride in both directions will be incredibly rewarding.


9 February 6:30 – 9:30

Casting Director Cindi Rush will be our guest at the next FREE Industry Workshop. Invitations will go out February 6th at 11:55 AM. The invitation will be going out via Mail Chimp so please make sure you look for your invitation coming from them. We are discontinuing our relationship with Constant Contact.

Here are a few highlights from Cindi’s bio: NY: Promising, Ruthless, Disenchanted, Drop Dead Perfect, Under My Skin, Silence!,Rooms, Jacques Brel, Urinetown.The Thing About Men, Home Street Home, Regional Theaters: Triad Stage, Hudson Stage, Penguin Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Charleston Stage Co. Film: The Grief of Others (SXSW/Cannes), Runoff (L.A Film Fest), Policy of Truth (SOHO Film Fest),The Woman (Sundance),Funeral Kings (SXSW) Ghoul, Theresa is a Mother, Jugface (Slamdance), In The Family (Independent Spirit). Plus she has been a consultant for NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (1999-Present).

New Classes:

Commercial Level 1 class starts the 6th of March and goes thru the 17th of April.

Commercial Level 2 class starts the 9th of March and goes thru the 6 of April.

Two-Camera Scene Study class starts the 14th of February and goes thru 11th April.

For more info on these classes go to click here



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1 Response to Status, Why It’s Important

  1. Powerful simple easy to use tool! Thank you John!

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