Okay, Objectives are the "What" of acting... but what are Objectives?
Objectives are your character's goals. Most of the time this can be broken up into 3 categories.Super-Objectives, your character's goal for the entire play (Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie wants to marry rich, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables wants to live safely with his adopted daughter, Simba, well he just can't WAAAAAIIIT to be king...) Scene Objectives, your character's goal for the particular scene. Most specific, the moment to moment objectives of what your character wants right now. We will focus on the last 2 in this particular post.
The Anatomy of an Objective
Okay, so lets break it down, most Scene or MtM Objectives are going to sound something like this:
I want (Insert Character Name Here) to (Insert the Goal Here)
Examples: I want (Steve) to (Give me his sandwich)
I want (Cindy) to (stop yelling at me)
I want (Officer Steve) to (Not give me a speeding ticket)
Okay so that all makes sense right... still not very act-able though, it seems to be missing something...
So I got a goal... How am I going to accomplish it? Wait a minute, didn't you say Tactics were the How of acting... Oh I see what you did there... Mike you are so clever...
But seriously, tactics are way your character goes about achieving his or her goal. Tactics are always action verbs targeted towards another character.
I want to BULLY Steve into giving me his sandwich.
I want to PLEAD with Steve to give me his sandwich.
So both of those examples used the same objective, but tactics, and by extension the scene will be very different. Action verbs are immediately act-able and directing them at another character gives them the necessary focus to be useful to the actor. The more specific you can be with your tactics the better, "to soothe" is noticeably different than "to comfort", just as "to incite" is quite different than "to inspire".
So that is it for this week. Obviously there is A LOT more to Objectives and Tactics than I can cover in this short blog post and it does take practice to get good at using them. The goal with all these techniques is that they become second nature and you can just use your instincts as an actor to react in the moment, but to get to that place you have to practice and drill these techniques as often as possible. Take the time to try out even this basic into to objectives with your next role, think about it critically, what kinds of verbs did you come up with? Was it as specific as possible? Does it fit the context of the scene, what about the character? Keep at it and see how it affects your performances. See you next week!