I asked actor Harvey Guillen about the steps he takes to prepare for an episode of What We Do in the Shadows. Here’s what he said.
- Read the script
- Re-read the script, with a critical eye on what my character, Guillermo’s intentions are
- Re-read the script to start developing the mood/feeling to be organic with the scene
- Re-read the script and start rehearsing the screen without a partner
- Start memorizing the script reading it over and over and over
- Rehearse with a partner
- Rehearse over and over again until the script is part of you (your character)
- Rehearse with positions on set with markers (blocking)
- Memorize positions on set
- Final rehearsal in wardrobe
- Shoot scene
Part of the benefit of all of this prep is that it actually allows for stronger improv, bringing more reality to the scene. If it weren’t for these steps, and people knowing their parts in such detail, improv wouldn’t work.Harvey Guillen
So how does this relate to dog training?
A key aspect of effective dog training is to follow an incremental, step-by-step training plan. Start with what your dog can do right now. Gradually add difficulty — things like distractions, distance, duration or locations — as you work up to the final goal. You want your dog to have rehearsed so much at each stage and in enough contexts that they can perform when you need it the most. And you’ll have rehearsed and improved your skill right along with them. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on common training problems.
Thank you, Harvey, for giving us some insight into your process!