How to Prepare for Changes When Acting on a Television Show

I just had the opportunity to work on an NBC TV show. The show is called Do No Harm, and I just saw my episode last night. I want to share with you the most important thing to keep in mind when working on  a TV show.  Here it is. When working on a TV show – be prepared for anything.

You know, it’s all about the work, you never know how things are going to be edited. When you are on the set you have no idea what kind of changes are going to be made. For this particular show I had some lines added, and I had some lines changed at the last minute.

When I watched the show last night, I saw that they kept both of the scenes that I shot. One of the actors who I worked with was Phylicia Rashadd. She played the mom on the Cosby show.

She was so great to work with. I noticed that after the edits were done, they cut out some of our lines. It is easy to take things personally and wonder if they hated the way I read the lines? But, you have to understand that everything that is shot has to be edited and condensed, so that it fits into the 30 or 60 minute format.

Instead of feeling paranoid about our work, I have learned that if a director does not like the read, he or she will have us read it again and again, until he/she thinks it is perfect.

There are people who get cut out completely out of scenes whether its film or TV, that’s just the way things work in the industry. It is OK to feel disappointed about either having things completely cut out or having some of your work edited. But keep in mind that it is simply an issue of time, and how important your scene is to the project. That is why it is so important to focus on the work itself while you’re doing it. What happens afterwards is out of your control. There is nothing that you can do to change how your scene is edited and shown.

Always keep this in mind. You didn’t get the job based on luck. You got cast because you auditioned for it and in almost every case when I’ve worked on a feature film or a television show, there were call backs as well. So, people saw the performance at least once and sometimes twice (or more).

They saw that you could take direction; they liked what you did and how they edit it, is simply a business decision. It is much easier for directors to overshoot scenes and have more to play with during the editing process, then to go into editing wishing they had more coverage.

So anyhow, I just wanted to share that with you. If you are ever fortunate enough to be in a situation where you’ve had things edited out of a film, whether it’s an independent film, a feature film or a television show, it’s nothing personal, just enjoy the process and the work itself and what happens afterwards is completely out of your hands.


Aaron Marcus is America's premier acting and modeling career coach and author of How to Become a Successful Commercial Model. Read More...