Acting and Advertising have a lot in common.
The first rule of advertising when launching a new advertising campagin for a product is to test, test, and test. And when you’re done, test again. Because no matter what you think of a logo or a tag line, it’s not until it’s in the market that you know if it works or not.
And with each set of results, you tweak your campaign until you better the results. Simple.
Acting is no different. Yes, you need to have a firm grasp on how to present your character before you “launch,” but once you get in front of that audience, you may find that they respond a bit differently than you thought they would.
You could be stubborn, and not allow the audience’s response to affect what you do. Or, you could treat it like an advertising campaign, and make little tweaks here and there, depending upon the audience’s reaction, to allow them to enjoy your performance even more (provided, of course, that these tweaks [and I’m not talking about making changes to the actual text, mind you] are with the Director’s approval).
That’s what’s great about acting for the theater, as opposed to film. Once that film performance is in ‘the can,’ you can’t make a tweak, no matter what. You couldn’t even dodge a tomato if it was thrown at you.
But in the theater, you can, and you should, because having a live audience is like a having a focus group in front of you every single night.
To ignore them, would be like a marketing person ignoring metrics.
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