The Moment When Everything Changed


As an actor, when you’re breaking down a scene, do you include in your research, the moment when everything changed? 


You’re probably considering the event, the relationship, the conflict, (problem) the moment before, and the emotional life of the character as you analyze the scene.  But what about the moment when everything changed?  It’s a big moment in the character’s life and it’s important to discover it.


As an example, the two people in this scene are in the middle of an argument and he says to her that she bores him and they’re intellectually not compatible.  It hits her particularly hard, because she had always felt inferior to him in this way.  When she confessed this to him a long time ago, he said nothing could be further from the truth.  And now he says this knowing how deeply it will hurt her.


This is the moment when everything changes for her.  It isn’t just the remark he’s made, it’s the fact that she realizes his intention is to crush her and make her feel utterly humiliated.  So in this case, the moment when everything changed, happens during the scene.


Another example could be when the mother of a ballerina, as a young dancer, realized she would never have the fame and recognition she so desperately wanted.  At that moment everything changed and she made the decision that her daughter would do what she was unable to do.  And she has pushed her daughter relentlessly to where the girl has become emotionally unstable.


In the above scenario, the moment when everything changed happened years before.  These moments are pivotal and create a major turning point in the character’s life.  The character is stuck in that moment, frozen if you will, and are driven by the emotional impact from that time.


As a last example, you could have a character make a big discovery that has a positive impact on his life, and decide to change the course of his life and move forward in a new and remarkable way.


When preparing for a scene, be sure to include finding the moment when everything changed and watch how it affects your work and the dynamics of the story.


Lynette McNeill

Call us now! (310) 274-1085

© 2016 Lynette McNeill Studios