This Scream Queen acting observations blog is about focus and confidence.
Last SQ blog mentioned an actress doing "actor mind games" and how the judges called her on her overacting. She was trying to figure out what had caused her to lose it (she had been getting top actress at the beginning of the competition) and realized it was because she was busy playing mind games. Didn't exactly phrase it that way, but...
In the ex-safe from elimination challenge the task was to play someone performing a seance and becoming possessed by the ghost of the town tramp. One actress decided to take it a different direction from playing sexy. She approached it as if it was not a deserved reputation, but was due to the lies of a spurned lover. Hers was the best. Make choices that are not the obvious choice, but not too far into left field. Playing the tramp sexy is an obvious choice and the majority will make said choice. The aforementioned actress made a choice which was not so obvious but still believable. If she had decided to make the town tramp a nun, I would think she got the wrong sides or something.
In the skills class, the task was to learn how to play drunk. Of course, actually being drunk on set is not a viable option. One of the things the actresses do is practice the new skill. One actress was so afraid of overdoing it that she played it too safe and lost her drunkenness. She was really upset with herself and was allowed to do it again. This upset another actress because she felt you should get one shot. (This actress had gone between the other actress' two times and they had been given the same scenario to play.) So the actress felt like "yeah let her go again after I show how to do it". The coach pointed out that it was her lack of confidence that was causing her to be upset. And he was more likely to remember her outburst than her performance - which was good.
In the director's challenge, the task was to play an insane person. One actress decided to just trust her instincts. In other words, she decided to just react to what was given her. This does not mean she had scanned the script a couple of times and was winging it. She still did all those things one should do when preparing to perform. But she let it all go (at least from her conscience, sure it was at work at the sub-conscience level) and allowed herself to be in the moment. The only adjustment she was given was to amp the emotions up. She got leading lady.
By the way, the preparing well and allowing myself to be in the moment is the approach I try to use whether it is at an audition or on set.
One actress made a choice - play the insane person quirky - and committed to it. However, quirky was not a good choice. Disturbing? Perhaps, but if I was a judge, I would not buy her insanity plea. Another actress had some good choices, but was so concerned with performing well that she was unable to commit. The unable to commit got the axe. Weak choice was at the bottom. The judges were impressed by her commitment to her choice. It showed confidence.