Which Version of a Scene Do You Deliver?

Constance Wu in film Hustlers

So you booked a gig! YAY! And, you took a risk and submitted two takes to show your range (even if they didn’t ask for it). YAY!

And now you are heading to set…but you don’t know which version of your interpretation that they liked the most.


Which version of the scene do you do when filming?


I’ve definitely had actors tell me that the director asked them to “do exactly what you did in the audition.” Aye. This is when a director either 1) knows EXACTLY what they want or, 2) has no clue that actors aren’t robots and can’t do the exact same thing twice. Duh.

An alum asked me how to prep for heading to set in this situation. How do you know what to be ready for on set? (It’s her first network co-star role, YAY YAY, and she wants to be ready!)

Here’s my tip for all of you who are bold enough to submit two versions of the same scene in your auditions, which you must know by now that I am a fan of doing.




First, don’t shortcut anything. And…please be totally prepped every possible way on the scene. Know it forwards and backwards with infinite possibilities for how to do the scene at the ready. When you get to set, a director will probably give you some direction that you didn’t audition with at all!  So prep the scene with as many ideas as possible so you are really ready for the curveballs. Unearth possibilities before you get to set.

Second, working or playing with an outside eye in your prep is really helpful—get coached, rehearse it loosely on Zoom with an actor friend, etc. Do not let shoot day on set be the first time you have run the scene on your feet. Get it in your body, practice working off of energy that you weren’t expecting from a scene partner, and generally play with it in space and time with another human.

Third, look back at your submission takes and see if you can identify the “intention” that you used in each take. Be familiar with the intention of each of the submitted takes—not the end result, but the intention in those moments. Then, you can access that intention again as needed. Example: on the first take, you played the scene with the intention of trying to get away from the bad date. And on the second take, you played the scene with the intention of humiliating the bad date so they would want to leave you. Identify intentions that you can play within the scene. Then, the way you deliver the lines will fluidly change and evolve, but your intention will be strong.

Have fun when you are auditioning, take some risks, and keep up the great playful, prepared work when you head to set!


Remember, those self-tapes can continue to live on after the audition too! Optimize the way you use your materials by learning what makes a smart pitch for reps and CDs. I have tips in my FREE mini e-book: How to Lure Reps & Casting Directors to You!

And for more guidance on how to prepare for auditions and on-set performance, join a class with me or my guest teachers. We’re ready for ya!




Constance Wu in HUSTLERS


  1. Sean Michael Harrison says

    Such a great take on this! We all ponder on this exact thought (or at least I know that I do), especially when preparing for heading to set. Love the tip regarding the intentions per take, it can make choosing that one or those two specific takes to send a bit less stressful especially on quick turnarounds.

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