This conversation came up in class because a student totally lost his line in the middle of a take. Does that happen to you? How do you typically respond to forgetting your lines?
I get that the fear of forgetting your lines can create a ton of anxiety (especially when working live) but as we discuss in this clip, when it actually happens it’s often a sign that you’re deeply plugged into the moment and out of your head.
The story I share here from when I was pursuing acting is one a lot of actors can relate to: we allow the forgetting of the line to become a mistake rather than let it be the gift that it is.
When you’re really dropped into the moment-to-moment of a scene, of course there will be moments when you don’t know what comes next. That’s the whole goal, isn’t it?
I think in that moment when I stumbled, I let it mean that I can’t be trusted and that I don’t really know what I’m doing after all. Instead, I could have let it be an opportunity to free fall which is when some of the best moments in acting tend to arrive.
So yeah, obviously you need to know your lines. You have to know them well BUT THEN you learn to let go and trust yourself and fly. If you are worrying about forgetting your lines it will keep you in your head.
What if you retrained yourself to believe deeply that every time you drop a line, it’s actually a sign that the magic is happening? What if you let it be your nudge to lean in?
This takes practice but I promise it can be done!
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Student: Maybe because I was so plugged in that I was just totally on what was going on in front of me, so then it kind of maybe evoked a different feeling, a different type of…
Sarah: You got out of your head!
Sarah: You got out of your head. Those moments that you stumble are almost always pure gold on tape. And if you can stay with it, for you it’ll feel like fifteen minutes of you working to figure out what comes next, but it’s usually not so long in the moment.
Sarah: You know, I remember a time when I auditioned for this big show, and I just remember that same thing happening to me, where I lost the line. And I just made it mean too much. I made it…the fact that I lost it, I felt like the whole rhythm of the whole scene went out the window when in fact probably, in reality on the tape it was probably a gift.
And it just totally derailed me and I just never forgot it because it was just…I was so right there, you know? But actors make it mean something that it doesn’t mean. And if you were to come up with something that even wasn’t the line, that would be fine.
Student: Right, right, right.
Sarah: Because those moments, you’re so plugged in, nine times out of ten, you know, you’re in such a great place when you lose your line.