An Actor asked me an interesting question: “I never say my lines the same way in any take. Is that a bad habit?”

YES, that is a bad habit. As an actor you have to be consistent in every take and setup. Here’s why:

1. As an actor, it is your job to learn your lines. There is no excuse for that. If you want to occasionally ad-lib a few lines you can of course do that with the director’s consent, but you must learn your lines first.

2. The writer wrote the dialogue a certain way and as an actor you need to respect that. That said, you may want to tweak a couple of lines here and there to make them your own and to help your performance, but in that case you would have to stick with that version throughout the shoot.

3. Changing your lines might confuse your fellow cast members and affect their performances.

4. The ever-changing lines might leave the editor with fewer choices and create problems with continuity as well. That is especially the case when cutting dialogue back and forth between over-the-shoulder shots. Most of us (if not all of us) finds this habit very annoying.

Changing your lines in every take is like serving the same dish with a different presentation in every plate. You can do that at home if you would like to, but it would be unacceptable in a professional environment like a restaurant where consistency is the key.

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