The best research is repeatedly re-reading the script.

Understanding the Action

The actor succeeds only as s/he serves the action.
The given circumstances.  The world as it exists before the first scene.

  1. What’s happening?
  2. Who is involved?
    1. social, political, philosophy of the group identity
    2. specific relationship
  3. Where is it happening?
    1. physical climate
    2. sociopolitical
    3. behavioral norms
  4. When it it happening
    1. historical era
    2. time of year
    3. the timeline of the film (Pulp Fiction, Memento, Dunkirk, Citizen Kane)

The Shape of Drama

Tell the story of the film in your own words.
Plot the emotional temperature of the film on a graph.  At what point or line does it climax?

Understanding Character

Tell the story of the film only as a series of pivotal choices the characters make.

The network of relationships.

Sources of character information

  1. Explicit – the script describes a character as 30 years old.
  2. Hearsay – how does Vic talk about his mother and sister?
  3. Implied by the action – a woman who wins a ballet scholarship may be thought graceful or lithe

Character Specifications

  1. Physical traits
  2. Social Traits
  3. Psychological Traits
  4. Moral Traits

The Production Concept

Imagine a list of adjectives and verbs for each of the script’s “beats” that describes the experience of each of the five senses.  Additionally, have these concrete terms on hand (for coaching actors or describing production concepts):

  1. Texture
  2. Color
  3. Value
  4. Kinesthetic Quality (nervous, joyful, depressed)
  5. Specific imagery (a fortress, a disco, and so on)

Exploring the Action

EVENT – reaction – choice – objective – EVENT – reaction – choice – objective – EVENT

What do they want?

  1. Objective
  2. Proximity
  3. Vectors