Updated: May 2
You might be wondering, what is the Moment Before? Themodernactor.com defines the Moment Before as "a technical acting term that refers to what’s happening in the life of the character, right before the actor walks out on stage or a director yells ‘action!’ in TV and film."
An article titled Monologue: The Moment Before shares that “without a Moment Before, the audience will spend the first few critical moments of the monologue trying to catch-up on what’s happening as opposed to being fully immersed in the scene.” As actors, when studying a script and learning lines, it’s important to know the character’s background, how they feel, and scenes not seen on screen.
One of the ways an actor can know what their Moment Before is is through improv. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines improv as "a performance being done rather than using words or music written and practiced in advance, and because it gives an actor an idea of how the character will act in specific situations."
Let’s say your opening line in the scene is, “Hey, we need to talk!” To deliver this line, you should know what happened beforehand. Sometimes, you will not receive action details or your Moment Before. However, it is our job as actors to create a Moment Before. For example, say you know you are coming from outside. But where are you mentally when you deliver your line? Are you happy, sad, or angry? Knowing this will help to add subtext to what you say.
Do you have a way you discover your Moment Before? Send us an email to atlantafilmandtv.@gmail.com
For more, be sure to join the Acting For Beginners Academy.