Fall / Winter 2021

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102 SAG-AFTRA | Fall/Winter 2021 | Y ou aced the audition and got the acting gig. You did the work and made some interesting character choices. But for whatever reason, you didn't make the final cut. The life of an actor can be a challenging one, but it can be particularly disheart- ening when your part gets cut way down or, worse, your performance doesn't appear in the final project at all. When it comes to ensuring your hard work makes the screen, you may not be able to whisper in the editor's ear, but there are ways you can increase the odds in your favor and not get cut after the director yells "cut." Emmy-winning editor Jordan Goldman, ACE, author of How to Avoid the Cutting Room Floor, said the most important thing you can do is to deliver a solid performance — one that's worthy of being included. Goldman has edited numerous episodes of Homeland and Sons of Anarchy, among other shows. "Giving a good performance is the main function of the actor. We want to see you experience the story in a believable way ... People watch dramas because they want to see other humans experience emotional and challenging events. If we believe that's really happening, we're going to feel fulfilled by what we're watching," said Goldman, who on Aug. 31 presented a virtual seminar for members as part of the President's Task Force on Education, Outreach & Engagement livestream series. That may seem obvious, but Goldman and others in his profession see plenty of performances that just don't work with the story that's being told. It's useful to understand what editors are looking for when they make the first cut so that you can get as much screen time as possible. They are trying to assemble the most impactful scene they can from the footage that was shot. It's the director's job to give them close, medium and long shots to assemble the scene, and it's the actor's job to bring the story to life with the human element. Some aspects are beyond your control. Oftentimes, a part is cut to reduce the show's running time or to smooth out the tempo of the story, and not because of the performance. Even high-profile actors have had their parts cut, so it really can happen to anyone. If you're not the star of the show, your part may be that much more expendable. A great performance enhances your odds of getting more screen time — filmmakers want to include impactful on-screen moments. But in shooting for "great," don't forget your acting basics. Stand in the Right Place Hit your marks. If you're not where you're supposed to be, the camera may not be properly focused on you, and a blurry performance isn't likely to make the cut — even if it's Oscar worthy. If you're in the wrong spot, it can also create continuity problems. Editors review several takes of the same scene, and they want to weave together the best parts from each, possibly modifying the cadence of the scene, depending on what worked best in each take and the input from the director, writer and others. But putting those pieces together can be a Jordan Goldman Make the To Keep Your Performance Off the Cutting-Room Floor, CUT Suzanne LaChasse Get Back to Basics

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