Always be going to the thing.
A joke can be a useful lesson to you as an actor because it always goes to a punch line. That’s the thing.
In scenes the character is always going to one thing. You can call it the objective or what you will. If there is a transition then that thing changes. Be clear what the thing is. You can’t play until you’re clear on what you’re doing.
It’s usually something singular and simple.
We often think a thing is something, but that doesn’t mean it is what it is. By investigation you find out what the thing is; not what you think it is.
The same in the business side of your actor’s life.
If a producer says he’d really like you to be in the movie that doesn’t mean you are. They often say things like that because they can. Signing a contract means you are in the movie.
Develop your ability to define things and analyze things whether it’s the text, the business or your life.
Not knowing what a thing is leads to confusion.