Terminology Tuesday – Throw It Away

Dear beloved actors: one of the biggest “mistakes” we see in the room or virtually is actors either not understanding our note or just not taking it. ⁠

So today, let’s dive in to one of the most common notes we give: “throw it away.” Sometimes we’ll even just say to “simplify.”⁠

I know I’ve had actors look at me like I have 3 heads when I’ve told them to “simplify” the dialogue and realized that maybe, for some reason, it’s not being taught. ⁠

So here we are. ⁠

What exactly does it mean when a CD tells you to “throw it away?”⁠

Everyone will have a different definition. But what most of us are telling you is to 𝘭𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶.⁠

Stop overthinking the dialogue, “throw away” the repetitive work you’ve done, and just listen & react. ⁠

More simply?⁠


An example of this could be you playing a waiter in a restaurant. ⁠

Maybe the line is “Oh, I’m so sorry, we’re all out of the pesto tonight.”⁠

We might encounter an actor who tries to make a meal out of that (pun intended): they take longer-than-necessary pauses and truly apologize for the lack of pesto. Quite a moment. ⁠

But here’s the hard truth:⁠

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙘𝙚𝙣𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪.⁠

Actors, we love & adore you but it’s important to know when a scene is and isn’t about you. ⁠

In this instance, it isn’t. ⁠

And if we tell you to “throw it away,” we went you to do less, lose the pauses and just get the line out.”⁠

We only needed the line about the pesto to further the narrative that our lead is having a shitty date (for example). ⁠

Most importantly: please don’t take offensive to these notes. We know you put in a lot of work, effort & thought. ⁠

𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘪𝘵.⁠

But remember, 𝘄𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗷𝗼𝗯. And our direction is based on that fact alone. ⁠

What are some of the most common notes you’ve gotten?⁠

#themoreyouknow#TheCastingDirectorsCut#terminologytuesday #actorslife

1 thought on “Terminology Tuesday – Throw It Away”

  1. Well said! I’ve found the “throw it away” note can be confusing sometimes because very rarely is it tied with the specifics on *what* exactly to throw away…? ie What aspect of my prep, choices, interpretation of this character/scene needs to change in this redirect? So I love the clarity that your “do less” translation gives to the ambiguous “throw it away” expression, and how you placed emphasis on the ‘just react and listen.’ = Simplify.
    Perhaps it’s also a reminder to relax more into the moment by just being & feeling the truth of the present circumstance, trusting that this vulnerable openness and the raw reaction birthed from that place, co-expressing with the text, is enough to reach and hit the audience emotionally. No forced need to ‘show’ what is happening in order to convey the story. I think the pressure for an audition to “stand out” shuts down possibility for a grounded performance. So “throw it away” could refer to throwing away any expectation for a planned outcome and just let loose & PLAY.
    Great topic. Thank you, Ramani!


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