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And… scene

July 5, 2012

Had a really good rehearsal today (last rehearsal – yay!) that I thought people might be interested in. We were going over the big “action” sequence of the film, which is a basketball game between Stephanie and her dad. Before you start to think “Father of the Bride,” think more like “Raging Bull.”  They play a little rough with each other.

In approaching the scene for rehearsal (and for eventually for filming), I treated it like any big action scene – I broke it into the smallest pieces I could. For this scene, each piece ended up being every basket (or attempt at a basket). We divided up a four page scene (without much dialogue) into seven pieces, then we staged each of those.  That kept each small piece as a manageable section – and makes it easier to do them all together when you only have to remember seven sections. The first is “fake out” the second is “fake and turn,” rather than remembering each moment of the whole scene in order. It also just makes it manageable for me!

I also got in touch with a basketball coach, (thanks, Natalie!) who helped me to choreograph the scene. We went over the scene previous to today (a little – not enough, if I’m gonna be honest), and Natalie helped me to keep it looking like an actual basketball game, when in reality it’s three theatre people pretending like they know how to play.

Because of our inexperience, we started rehearsal with some basics – how to throw, how to dribble, and how to shoot.  Then we took each piece of the scene at a time, made a LOT of adjustments to how it was written, and then put it all together.

We paid very little attention to the dialogue at first, the thought being that we’d get the blocking down, and then add the dialogue. That worked at first, but we needed to bring the dialogue in sooner than I anticipated so that the actors could get a sense of where they were in the scene.

But overall, it went really well – and just reaffirms my belief in whether I’m writing, rehearsing, filming, or editing, the solution is always to break what you’re working on into the smallest bits possible. Wrap your head around those small pieces, then use that understanding to make sense of the next larger pieces, and use that to make sense of the next larger, until you have a whole piece that can know at many levels.

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