Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons

Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons

When we’re not really Engaged, we tend to Illustrate our ideas about the scene. We know what the writer is trying to say about the character, or the relationship, and we find some obvious way to portray it. Either with a line reading, or gesture, or a piece of business of some kind.

It works okay, but it isn’t really a pleasure.

We don’t want the work to seem Deliberate. We don’t wanna Demonstrate our choices. There are plenty of fine actors who Demonstrate most of the time. They get away with it because they’re so good in so many ways. But that Deliberateness saps the work of real excitement.

We wanna be able to set certain things. We wanna be able to set the blocking and the business and maybe even the emphasis in the dialogue. But then we wanna get out of our heads and let the moments tumble about in a way that feels accidental.

Is Illustrating the same as Simulating? Basically, yes. But I tend to think of Simulating as pretense of emotion and Illustrating as showing your ideas about the character and/or the progress of the conflict.

— Rob McCaskill

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