Greetings, Advanced Ones! (And greetings to whomever else might be lurking here!)

We had an interesting and unusual class on Wednesday! Unusual, in that we experimented with our scene work – and I think it was a success!

We began class by watching the three completed scene videos from last week’s Boardwalk Empire class shoot. We watched the videos, and discussed them at some length. As is to be expected with actors, those of you in the scenes were far harder on yourselves than was realistic… everyone else loved them! But, a certain amount of perfectionism is par for the course….

There was a fourth video, which I couldn’t complete and post, due to some serious continuity issues. I’ll take the hit on that – I should have caught it during filming. The body positioning between the master shots and the singles was so radically different, it looked weird cutting back and forth.

But it gave us an opportunity to discuss the topic of continuity – which is something that we actors need to keep in mind. As I do more film-making and editing, I’m realizing how important continuity is. It’s one thing to craft a solid performance which feels natural and believable – but if you cross your arms in the master shot, and uncross them in the single shot (for example) then as the film cuts back and forth, it looks odd, as your arms cross and uncross repeatedly.

Even sitting back in a chair and leaning forward again needs to be repeated similarly on each take, to allow the editor the ability to best craft the final shot.

Other continuity issues include: bottles/glasses with varying levels of liquid in them; random objects in the background mysteriously moving around; cigarettes that magically grow longer as the scenes progress, etc. Even the pros have trouble with continuity, so don’t feel too badly…

Group Therapy

Once we finished that topic, we passed out an ensemble scene, so that everyone in class could be in the same scene together. There were ten of us, and I gave you each a part in a large group therapy themed scene I cobbled together from scenes from: Breaking BadThe Fault in our StarsThe Punisher and 28 Days. I combined them all into one large scene, and assigned roles of various lengths to each of you, giving you about a half-hour to get off book.

We then sat in the big circle, rehearsed once or twice, then we filmed! We spent the bulk of the rest of the class getting master shots, close-ups of everyone, and floating shots. I have all the footage in my editing software, along with the sound we got with my field recorder. I’ll be editing the footage together and posting it here when it’s finished.

[Quick NoteIn reviewing the sound files, I noticed that every time one of y’all shuffled your script pages, it came through loud and clear! Something else to keep in mind, for future reference…]

Here are the scenes I pulled dialog from, if you’d like to see how the pros did it… First, the Breaking Bad scene (Aaron Paul)…

And here’s the Punisher monologue (Jon Bernthal)…

And here’s the scene from 28 Days (2002 dir. B. Thomas)…

When I find a copy of the scene from The Fault in our Stars that’s a decent resolution, I’ll post it as well. Until then THIS is the best I can find…


I then passed out scenes from Breaking Bad for next week. We will film those as well! Filming three weeks in a row! We may even extend the streak by passing out scenes from my current favorite show “This Is Us,” which has incredibly good writing.

It seemed to me that everyone enjoyed the Group Therapy filming. I look forward to next week’s class.

Look for the edited class footage below, when it’s ready. Gimme a couple days, eh!

Dave Wagner

AWS Staff


EDIT: 7/24/18 Been working on the clips every night. The rough-cut came together well, and I’ve been working on the sound. It’s a big step in the right direction, sound-wise, but still plenty of room for improvement. Individual clips are sounding great, but they still don’t sound like a seamless audio track – you can still notice the slight difference as the clips roll one into the other. Anyways, I’ll need another day. I think you’ll like the results. We’ll debut the final clip in class on Wednesday, before we start filming the Breaking Bad scenes. /EDIT

OK, here is the initial cut!