I have been training a lot, seeing a lot of theater, and reading a lot of books on the craft lately. I am preparing a scene for class from Mystic River (which is quite possibly the most challenging scene I have ever prepped), I just did some cold reading work on Saturday (with a fellow actor), and today I improvised a scene for the camera with an actor I had just met (we had 30 minutes to come up with the conflict, and off we went).
I want to bring up, quickly, the idea of CHARACTER. I urge you to do “character research and prepartion,” but I want to remind you that we as people are defined by what we DO. What we DO is a reflection of who we are (or how people see us), and, therefore, our actions illuminate our character.
When you don’t have time to prepare your character (whatever that means to you), I encourage you to find playable actions, and emotionally connect to the given circumstances of the scene. Then, play the scene, breathe, listen, and respond.