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  • Acting Tip: Forget the comma!

    February 18, 2015 | News
  • I get asked sometimes what are some good tips I can provide some of my colleagues out there, stuff that you may not just inherently pick up in an acting class, but are things that I have discovered throughout the years that work for me. Here is one:

    Contrary to many actors' natural beliefs, commas did not jump down from the heavens and get written on stone. Commas are the tool of a writer and for those that read in proper grammar - not a speaker. Commas replace the missing human voice where intonation helps decode written language and make it comprehensible for the person reading the sentence. All of this is a fancy way of saying: just ignore commas when you act.

    Commas belong on a written page or script, not in a spoken line. Replace commas, not with pauses, but with vocal variety, or just ignore those squiggly pests completely. Do NOT immediately pause when commas cross your path. This produces an "acty" performance, which is what we all should be getting away from when we're in front of the camera. So, next time you work on your lines and you inevitably see commas, just try to slide right across them, especially in large chunks of dialogue. Most of us don't talk in commas, so do yourself and your audience a favor, and don't act in commas either.

    My slogan as the comma cop is DOWN WITH PAUSES CAUSED BY COMMAS! It's an easy tip you can add to your acting arsenal right now. Go ahead and try it. It works!