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Eight is NEVER Enough's Improv Study Guides

"THE RESPONSIBLE PERFORMER" by
Walt Frasier

in a world of intense competition, one of the best ways to get work as a performer –
and keep it – is to have a great reputation on and off stage. The RESPONSIBLE PERFORMER is an asset to producers and directors. Talent will get your foot in the door. Work ethic will get the next job, often without an audition.

BE PREPARED
There are dozens of acting schools. There are 100s and 1000s of interpretations of various acting techniques. You will often encounter other actors bragging they trained in the Meisner Technique - “I am a method actor.” One of the keys to becoming a true artist is finding the training that works best for you. If your current instructor is not clicking with you, find another. Once you are out of school and past the “showcase” stage of your training, your process will become your own. You need to get yourself in the mind-set to work; you need to prepare your performer’s body to move; and you need to get your voice ready to speak and/or sing. In the real world, you always need to show up to your first rehearsal OFF BOOK (Completely memorized). We all have different methods to memorize text. But you need to implement them as soon as you get the script. Chances are, if you have a major role you already worked with the director. If you have a small role, you are usually on your own. It is your job to BE PREPARED.

KEEP HEALTHY
So many artists get sick way too often. You work very closely with your fellow artists. Disease and germs get shared at work all the time. So many run themselves ragged, working all day, partying all night. The focused artist is always watching dietary intake and at the gym. The competition is fierce.

PUNCTUALITY
Directors go crazy when actors are not ready for call times. In the real world, “ONTIME” is actually “LATE”. The responsible performer is always early. Especially in a city like New York or LA – both traffic and public transportation can be unreliable. Being late due to traffic is not acceptable. Being thirty minutes early because traffic was great is much appreciated. Beyond that, in the REAL WORLD, it is the job of the performer to be prepared to perform. Physical, Vocal and Mental warm-ups will prepare you to do your job. You are expected to do these before call times.

TIME MANAGEMENT
Even worse than being late, wasting time on set or at the theater. When the director yells, “cut,” FREEZE and wait for instructions. Beyond wasting time, the best performances come from being focused along with the other actors and the director. Every time you flake out and start talking, commenting on the scene (“Man, that was whack”) or worse, about totally irrelevant topics (what everyone is doing after rehearsal etc). Time is wasted, and focus is lost. Often times, actors behave poorly because they are uncomfortable with the previous work. Insecurities lead to disruptive behavior, hoping to minimize the effect of their work. Wasting DOWNTIME (time between takes or rehearsal) on petty conversations takes away valuable time for you take in the good, bad and ugly of the previous moment. Take time to REFLECT. Maximize the rehearsal process. In a play you will learn the material much faster.

SCHEDULING
If all goes well, you will be in high demand for your talent. One of the worst mistakes of the young performer is to over commit. I see actors all the time taking on so many projects they provide second-rate work. Keep a journal and a detailed scheduler/calendar. Communicate with your producers (usually via stage manager or similar position) regard conflicts etc. detailed planning and good communication will keep you out of hot water.

THE REAL WORLD
Ever hear the phrase, “TIME IS MONEY?” In the professional world, time is very limited. Unions demand every second of the performers’ and technicians’ time is paid. As a result, the cost to run rehearsals, performances and filming are very high and directors are given very little time with the performers. In TV and commercials, there is no rehearsal time. It is your job to be on time, prepared and at your best at all times. For every time you skip the gym, dance class, coaching session or voice lesson, there is someone out there taking that extra step to better their talents. THIS IS A BUSINESS. Learn you craft. Be the best you can be. Show the world you mean BUSINESS!

Mr. Frasier has appeared on film, TV, Commercials and the Live theater and is currently the director of instruction for the COMEDY HALL OF FAME FOUNDATION. See Walt Frasier live in Times Square and touring nationwide in Improv Comedy Troupe EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH.
Improv Performance Tips:

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Why study improvisation?

I want to improvise
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The Responsible Performer

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No Questions. No Blocks


Pantomime

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List of Ask Fors

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