What is the “Unbroken Line”?

By Webmaster

  • What is the “Unbroken Line”?

    When this line is broken, Stanislavski believed, the actor gets “lost” in the role, the life of the character “stops” and the actor loses the overall thrust of the character.

    (by Tonya Tannenbaum)

    (Photo by Anthony Tori on Unsplash)

    The term, “unbroken line”, describes the overall trajectory of the character’s life, a trajectory that the actor must sustain and maintain throughout the course of the role. The concept of the unbroken line originates from acting teacher and theorist, Konstantin Stanislavski.

    Stanislavski believed that the life of a character must mirror that of a real person. And, he believed that every real person has an “unbroken line”, or trajectory, that their lives follow. While a person’s attention may move from one distraction to the next, from one area of focus to the next, a person’s life trajectory remains the same or is “unbroken”.

    Consider your own life. It generally moves in an unbroken line. You have an overall set of goals and objectives that you pursue. On a day-to-day basis, you may become briefly distracted by what you see in the news, or by an upsetting personal event, or by an exciting achievement, but those events are mostly momentary. They usually don’t change the course of your life. Your life mostly continues down one main path or direction. Without a main path to follow, a person can feel “lost” in their lives.

  • Likewise, Konstantin Stanislavski believed an actor must discover, and sustain, a character’s unbroken line. When this line is broken, he believed, the actor gets “lost” in the role, the life of the character “stops” and the actor loses the overall thrust of the character.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Related: 7 Basic Facts About Konstantin Stanislavski

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior

      Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior Fame and fortune must not be your primary pursuit. They should be the fortuitous byproduct of a larger pursuit (by…

    5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve

    5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve So many riddles to solve. So little time. And on it goes… By Carmichael Phillips In a normal profession, everything is clear and easy to understand. The…

    What is “Slating”?

      What is “Slating”? (By Tonya Tannenbaum) The term, “slating”, for auditions, describes a standard industry practice whereby the actor briefly introduces themselves while facing the camera. This process usually happens right before,…

    5 Basic Facts About Method Acting

      5 Basic Facts about Method Acting Method acting refers to a collection of training techniques meant to aid actors in the understanding and building of their characters (By Jim Webb) Method acting…

    What are “Inner Motives”?

      What are “Inner Motives”? In order to consistently deliver natural, emotionally sincere performances the actor must understand their character’s inner motives (By Tonya Tannenbaum) Inner Motives are the rationales that an actor…

  • Ad

  • What are “Animal Exercises”?

    What are “Animal Exercises”? An actor can study how an animal or animals move and, then, use some of those movements when preparing to capture the physicality of their character (By Tonya Tannenbaum)…

    Actor Stories: How John Krasinski Almost Gave Up on Acting

      Actor Stories: How John Krasinski Almost Gave Up on Acting (By Carmichael Phillips) Check out the story of how actor, John Krasinski, almost gave up on acting, right before his big break….

    Make Sure Your Name is Added to the “Nice” List

      Make Sure Your Name is Added to The “Nice” List You may not get the role you auditioned for, but make sure your name is added to the “nice” list (By Jim…

  • Ad

  • Reinvest 50% of Your Cash Back into Your Acting Business

      Reinvest 50% of Your Cash Back into Your Acting Business Of course, each time you repeat this process, your career becomes stronger! Your power becomes stronger. (By Carmichael Phillips) No professional actor…

    “You have to keep at it!” (Kate Winslet)

    “You have to keep at it (acting)! You do. And if it is the thing you really believe you want to do with your life, you will get there. You just have to…

    5 Benefits of Being a Background Actor

    5 Benefits of Being a Background Actor (By Jim Webb) Who the heck would want to be a background actor? The real question is, why would anyone not want to be a background…

    Actor Stories: How Silvester Stallone Made Himself into a Star

    Actor Stories: How Sylvester Stallone Made Himself Into a Star (By Carmichael Phillips) How bad did Sylvester Stallone have it when he was an aspiring actor? Well, let’s just say that, even doors…

    “You do have to keep working at it. You do have to keep practicing things.” (Kate Winslet)

      “I think what I would honestly say to people starting out [in acting] is that it is difficult. It is definitely a hard job to do. And you do have to keep…

  • Ad

  • Will Hollywood ‘Ban’ Georgia?

    Will Hollywood ‘Ban’ Georgia? The ‘Heartbeat Bill’ might end up killing the heartbeat of Georgia’s booming television and movie industry (By Carmichael Phillips) The state of Georgia has become America’s third largest state…

    “It’s not about losing yourself in the role. It’s about finding yourself in the role.” (Uta Hagen)

    “It’s not about losing yourself in the role. It’s about finding yourself in the role.” (Uta Hagen)     _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ Hagen went on to explain: “In 1947, I worked in a play under…

    3 Hidden Advantages of Self-taping

      3 Hidden Advantages of Self-taping This new wave of self-taping also offers actors enormous advantages (By Carmichael Phillips) Self-taped auditions are the wave of the future, in part, because they offer casting…

  • Ad

  • 3 Reasons Why You Should Never Audition Just to Book the Job

      3 Reasons Why You Should Never Audition Just to Book the Job If you don’t book this particular job, so what? You’ve now made fans of the auditors in the room. (By…

    5 Great Ways to Master Your Cold Read Audition

      5 Great Ways to Master Your Cold Read Audition (By Jim Webb) Doing a cold read audition is a lot like getting thrown into a pool when you haven’t yet learned how…

    Actor Stories: Issa Rae Creates a Role…and Casts Herself!

      Actor Stories: Issa Rae Creates a Role…and Casts Herself! Actors today have more power over their careers than ever before. The Issa Rae story is proof of this. (by Carmichael Phillips) There…

    5 Things You Should Never Do After an Audition

      5 Things You Should Never Do After an Audition (By Jim Webb) There are many things you should never do after an audition. You should already know the obvious ones: Don’t make…

    “That’s what it takes when you’re a struggling actor…You will be poor” (Jenna Fischer)

    “That’s what it takes when you’re a struggling actor. Assume there will be no luxuries. Be prepared to get your furniture from one of three places: thrift stores, garage sales, or the side…

  • Ad

  • Narrow Your Focus

    Narrow Your Focus One mistake many actors make is having an unfocused strategy. (Jim Webb) If it seems your acting career is all over the place, narrow your focus and concentrate your strategy….

    Don’t Sabotage Yourself

    Don’t Sabotage Yourself It’s difficult enough for an actor to find and secure a paying gig. Why make it even more difficult by sabotaging your own chances? (By Jim Webb) It’s ok if…

    “I jumped over fears, went through emotional glass doors” (Kim Basinger)

    “I jumped over fears, went through emotional glass doors, did everything I could. There wasn’t one thing I was afraid to do. And I think you have to come to that point as…

  • Ad

  • Director John Singleton has died

    Director John Singleton has died (By Carmichael Phillips) Pioneering African American director, John Singleton, has died. The director of urban films like Boyz n the Hood, Baby Boy and Poetic Justice, as well…

    “Just keep going…” (Morgan Freeman)

      “The only advice I have for any actor is, keep acting. Just keep working. And keep your mind on what you want. It’s bound to happen if you keep working.” (Morgan Freeman)…

    What are “Actions”?

      What are “Actions”? Simply put, actors act. (By Tonya Tannenbaum) Once the actor understands their character’s objective in the scene, or in the moment, the actor takes actions. Actions are the various…

    All Acting and No Play Makes You a Dull Actor

    All Acting and No Play Makes You a Dull Actor Ironically, spending too much time on all things “acting” can actually make an actor worse at acting. (By Carmichael Phillips) You know what…

    Acting: When is it Time to Quit?

      Acting: When is it Time to Quit? How long is too long to pursue an acting career? (By Carmichael Phillips) How many years should an actor wait for their “big break” before…

    “Acting is not pretending. Acting is becoming” (Bill Duke)

    “If you’re hired to do a job, the director doesn’t hire you to act like that character, the director hires you to become that character. And that’s something that most people don’t understand…

    Don’t Just Tell a Talent Agent About Your Dreams. Show Them Your Work!

    Don’t Just Tell a Talent Agent About Your Dreams. Show Them Your Work! Your dreams are not much different from any other actor’s dreams. It’s your work that sets you apart. (By Carmichael…

    How to Audition When You Know the Role Has Already Been Cast

    How to Audition When You Know the Role Has Already Been Cast You still have an opportunity to introduce people to you and your art (By Carmichael Phillips) One of the hardest things…