Don’t start until you’re ready.
After ‘Action!’ you need time between their order and your beginning.
It doesn’t have to be much time and space but not jumping when the gun is fired is critical.
You should always be trying to be on top of the work. To put yourself first. To be in your own time and space that suits you for the beginning of this particular scene. Not theirs.
It’s a question of an outlook and approach that is opposite to: trying to please them, trying not to hold up time, trying to get it right.
Going in your time is qualitatively different.
This does not mean you hold up production. No. It doesn’t mean you don’t hit your cue in time or meet the dolley move or the camera push. Doing that means you are fulfilling your duties and being professional.
It’s the mental conception that you start.
When do you go on set? When the Trainee Assistant Director comes and calls you and leads you on to set chatting all the way or when you decide to get up and leave your trailer and go in your own peace?
See if there is a difference.
In acting class we practice this by asking the question, ‘Am I ready?’, ‘Are you ready?’. We take the exercise further by having one partner challenge the other, ‘You’re not ready.’ ‘I’m not going yet.’ ‘You don’t want to start.’ ‘You’re not ready.’ ‘Yes! I’m ready’ etc. The actors must give their answer to what they are actually feeling – ready; not ready. It’s a hyper-sensitive exercise.
There are a myriad of ways to use this - the start and how you start – to explore what you are as an actor.
It is about Time and how you control it.