How Grace Rouvray does what she does.

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She’s booked more TVCs than you can poke a stick at – Mitsubishi, Curash, Cadbury, Sony, Vodafone, Census, IBM Watson, Mount Franklin – and so who better to share her acting process with us than the multi-talented Grace Rouvray?!

Grace is an actor, producer and most recently, writer. Having worked in the industry from post-production producing through to casting she is a jack of all trades, master of none. Also, she loves the show Master of None. Here are her HOWS.

1. How do you APPROACH A SCRIPT?

The following would be for approaching a theatre script.

  • The first part is trying to figure out everything about my character that is already given to me in the script.
  • I read the entire script (the first of many times).
  • Start to write down the things that you know about the character. Age, location, history etc etc. I love to research where the character has come from and the history of a place or socio-economic status as this will inform a lot about the character.
  • I’ll read the script again and write down what other characters say about your character.
  • For beats and actions I prefer to work these out in rehearsals. Obviously making some decisions before you enter the rehearsal room so you have something to work with and you can start to see what works and doesn’t work.
  • As you get to know the character I do love an improvisation with the other character in the scene. I use to HATE them but now I find a lot of freedom within them.
  • I always felt you needed to know your want / need / objective (whatever you want to call it) quite early on, I would approach it almost scientifically and make it more difficult for myself. As I have continued to work i’ve realised that the want / objective comes the gut and once you’ve done the research into the character the want becomes so obvious. Its like a light bulb moment. So i’ve learnt not to push that. That could be bad advice, but it’s whats worked for me.

2. How do you CALM YOURSELF BEFORE AN AUDITION?

If I’ve run lines with someone the day of, that always calms my nervous. Also if I am unsure of direction or eye line etc in an audition room I will always ask and clarify everything before starting. To talk about technical aspects calms me for some reason.

3. How do you MINGLE AT INDUSTRY EVENTS?

I will never talk about the industry. I make an effort to speak about anything but and see where the conversation goes organically. Of course, liquid confidence is a necessity.

4. How do you LET GO OF A ROLE AFTER REJECTION?

I never imagine having the role so I don’t have to feel let down if I don’t get it. Some type of self preservation thing perhaps. I try to see auditions as going to work. If you book the job that is a bonus. I never see it as rejection. The right person always gets the role. That could also just be a self preservation thing.

5. How do you GET TO AN AUDITION?

If I can walk or get public transport I do that. But most of the time I will be coming from work and then have to go straight back so I have to drive. I prefer to walk though, not having to worry about parking definitely helps to calm any anxiety.

6. How do you WAIT IN AN AUDITION ROOM?

I am one of those horrible people who tries not to talk to anyone, unless I know someone there. In an audition waiting room I dislike any acting small talk that happens like the ‘how many auditions do you get’ conversation or ‘who is your agent’ chat. If I do chat it will be about parking, the weather or some other type of small talk. I’ve been really put off in a waiting room by industry talk once before and I talk that energy into the audition so since then I’ve never engaged in it as you never know what other people could be thinking. So I do classic water cooler talk. Or I sit in silence. If there is a magazine, I’ll read it.

7. How do you GET SAD FOR A ROLE?

Are we talking about tears? Very different if it is an audition, theatre or film. Audition is luck of the draw if tears happens or not in the moment, but what has worked for me in the past is to connect to the reader and think ‘I will not cry in front of you’ whether you get tears or not, to watch someone fight that thought will at least be interesting to watch and you’ll see a thought in their eyes instead of someone merely trying for tears. In theatre I rely on connection to the script / characters in the scene and the adrenaline of the moment to let it happen. In rehearsals I can work through ‘as ifs’ and ‘emotional recall’ exercises but in my experience the work has to be there for it happen in a performance. As long as the intention of the line and connection to the other actor is real then it doesn’t matter if tears come or not. For film, if you can’t get there by glorious techniques or being able to cry on cue (I’ve never been able to do it) I’ll use acting exercises here and keep switching tactics/emotional recall memories in between takes so it stays fresh. But I am still of the opinion, especially in film, that as long as you believe what you are saying and doing in doesn’t matter if tears come.

8. How do you UNWIND AFTER A DAY OF SHOOTING/PERFORMING?

Two come-down routines depending on the time of day. If I wrap before 8-ish I’d go for a run or go to a yoga class as it helps me process things in a less intense and over-thinking way, plus both activities force you to take big deep breaths. If I wrap at night time, I’d probably have a tea / glass of red wine, but always something before going to bed. I won’t sleep if I go straight to bed after getting home.

9. How do you READ REVIEWS ABOUT YOURSELF?

I’ve never had a review written about me I don’t think. But I imagine I would implode and take it very personally, eventually realising I can never read reviews and instead just listen and trust my directors / acting coaches.

10. How do you GREET YOUR CAST-MATES FOR THE FIRST TIME?

I’d introduce myself, probably shake hands and start my aforementioned non actor small talk.

11. WHY do you do this? Acting.

Oh gosh, this question!!! I think it is to create stories. Whether its as a writer, producer or an actor its nice to feel like you are contributing to something. My hope is that I can be a part of a project in what ever capacity that creates something that an audience can watch and be captivated by its story. Whether it be by humour, sadness, fascination, shock etc – to connect to the viewer and make them feel something. To present an idea or an opinion that may change someone or comfort them in a time when they need comfort or for people to personalise a story they see so it makes them feel like they are not alone in their opinions or experiences. I don’t know, that was a ramble. I want to create believable and honest stories with a cast and crew.

Here’s a shortlsted 2017 Tropfest film that Grace starred in called ‘Fifty’. Producers: Alexander James and Tahyna McManus. Directed by Tahyna McManus. Enjoy.

Also, Grace has just wrapped shooting on her web series ‘600 Bottles of Wine’, directed by Ainslie Clouston and produced by Bec Bignell, To follow their post-production journey, visit the Facebook page here.

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