Don’t sit on the f*cking fence - advice on making commitment

Don’t sit on the f*cking fence

Make decisions. Make choices. Don’t sit on the fucking fence.

“I kinda wanna do this like she’s strong, she’s strong, but she’s also very vulnerable.”

Yes, sure - across the course of a good movie script, a character can make this kind of change or have this kind of journey. But within the beat of a scene, or a single line, you cannot hope to show that level of diversity, without first committing to a single choice.

I see actors all the time that are headfucking themselves into making no choice whatsoever. Some things are as Gary Vee describes them “they’re binary”.  They are 1 or 0, they’re black or white.

You see a simple scene, in this scene, the guy wants his friend to stick to what they agreed to do. You’ve got a friend, you understand what it’s like to make that friend stick to the agreement you’ve made. So, now do that. By all means, bring a ton of differents ways to do that to the scene, but you can’t sit on the fence with your decision. Make a choice, and then decide to commit to it. Until something else happens.

Make decisions. Make choices. Be bold. Don’t be afraid of committing to those decisions. If you think your scene requires you to burst into tears at the end of the scene, then commit to that decision.

The little voice will always arrive at some point questioning your choice. Fuck that voice. It isn’t there to help. Throw yourself into your work, your decisions, your choices with 100% commitment, or the force of doubt will seep into your work and it make you fear committing to your choices. And when you don’t commit to your choices, what happens is simple, you fail to make them.

And choices must be visible. Not that you should show or demonstrate them to the audience. But your choices must be so strongly made that they manifest in front of the audience. Too many people are so scared of ‘over-acting’ that they almost do nothing. When the Bauhaus said “Less is More” they weren’t talking to you. Less is less. That’s why they call it less.

Make a decision. Make a choice. And make a commitment to it.  See it through to the end of the scene. Change if something makes you.

To You, The Best


Mark Westbrook is the Course Leader of the Full and Part-Time Programmes at Acting Coach Scotland.


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The 12 Obstacles

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