Knowing your lines is a given, but I’m going to suggest you take it a bit further… and BEAT THAT F***ING SCRIPT!
Seriously… beat it up! Beat it to death!!! Know your lines inside and out, frontwards, backwards, and upside down.
Some actors feel it can take the spontaneity and natural feel out of the performance, but I beg to differ…
There’s a difference between learning the lines and rehearsing them in the same way over and over until the performance becomes robotic.
In that case, they’re right… in a medium as close up and intimate as film, that’s one of the worst things that could happen.
The whole process of coming to understand your character and understanding what the scene is about, takes some time and study of the script, and this study will help you internalize those lines.
I feel that once you’re off book and the lines are second nature, then you have the freedom and ability to act organically and be in the moment with your scene partner.
If this is your chosen craft, you’ll obviously want to give the best performance possible. So do your due diligence and study!
Give it your all and BEAT THAT F***CKING SCRIPT!!!