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Foundations Of Acting/ Scenework

Lesson 4.Objectives & Tactics


Students will show their ability to write proper objectives and tactics by completing a basic scoring of objectives and tactics into their scripts.


Students can be assessed on their participation in the Objective Detective game and the class discussions.


Video clip from Friends, envelope containing slips of paper printed with Lesson 4.Scene Objectives for Objective Detective Game, chalk/dry erase markers to write on the board, overhead of the scene between East and Glory on pages 20-21 of Almost, Maine from previous class period (to be used as a scored script example)

  • Step One— Hook

Direct the students to journal for 4-5 minutes about a time that they wanted to accomplish something important, e.g. extended curfew, allowance raise, job application, etc. Direct the students to answer these questions in their writing:

o What was their goal (objective)?

o What steps did they take to accomplish it? (What were their tactics?)

o Did the other people involved in the situation want the same or a different outcome?

o What was the outcome? (Did the tactics work?)

o Would the student do anything different if they were to try this objective again?

TransitionAsk for a few volunteers to read their writing out loud.

  • Step Two—Discussion

o What were some of the different outcomes you heard from students’ writing?

o What were some tactics that they used to accomplish their objective?

o What are some persuasive devices we use to attain our goals? (bargaining, guilting, begging)

As they list different tactics, write them on the board. Direct the students to pay careful attention to the video clip for how the objectives of different characters affect each other.

  • Step Three—Checking for Understanding

Play a video clip from Season 6 Episode 6 of Friends (Chandler is wants to give Joey financial help, but Joey won’t accept the “charity” money. So Chandler tries several tactics to get Joey to take the $1500 unwittingly).

o What do each of the characters want in the scene? (Joey wants to maintain the friendship even though Chandler is moving out and is trying to give Joey money; Chandler wants to give Joey financial help but because Joey won’t accept it, Chandler has to try different ways to trick Joey into taking the money)

o How do we know what it is that the characters want? What do the characters do to reveal their objectives? (Chandler instigates a bet over foosball, Chandler makes up the gambling game called “Cups,” Joey buys a pizza to celebrate the last night as roommates, Joey rejects the gift money because he thinks it will put a strain on the friendship)

Draw a connection between the video clip and an introduction to objectives and tactics. Chandler and Joey each had an objective and it was apparent because of the different tactics each character tried. Explain that objectives are the goals of a character and tactics are the methods that a character employs to get what they want. As demonstrated by the video clip and the examples of student writing, objectives are affected by the people around us.

  • Step Four—Guided Practice

Explain to the students the procedure for playing the Objective Detective game.

o Give each student a slip of paper with their secret objective printed on it. Tell them that they will be performing in a small scene with another student and that their goal is to achieve their objective before the end of the scene.

o Remind them to try tactics from the discussion.

o Model the game by playing the first round with a student.

After every student has had a turn to play, ask the students:

o How can you correctly guess some of the players’ objectives?

o As performers, why do you believe you were successful or not?

o What makes some objectives stronger or weaker? Easier/harder to achieve?

  • Step Five— Instruction

Using examples from the game to help students learn which objectives are more effective, teach students a formula for writing and acting objectives. Write the formula on the board for students to see.

Acting using objectives and tactics should look like this:

o Identify the need

o Try an action/tactic

o Watch for a reaction

o Adjust and try again

Write objectives and tactics that go through another person:

o Objectives should be written as “I want Name to Action, or I want to Action Name” and should cover the length of the scene.

o Tactics should be written as “to Action” with each beat in the scene.

Explain the difference between acting objectives versus emotions. Highlight how observation, listening, reacting, and improvising are essential to playing tactics and objectives. Actors have to observe and listen to their partners carefully to determine whether or not their tactic worked to get their objective. If it doesn’t work, characters may have to improvise a new tactic and try again.

  • Step Seven—Group Practice

Direct students to practice writing their own objectives with their partner for their scenes from Almost, Maine. They should be including how they will know whether or not they accomplished their goal, following the pattern from in-class practice. Show the students the example of a scored script, informing them that they will need to turn in their scripts scored on final performance day. When they feel like their writing is polished, students should write their objectives and tactics in their scripts. Remind the students to note the evidence that the character needs to know whether or not they achieved the objective.

Scene Objectives for Objective Detective Game

A: I want B to apologize.

B: I want A to offer forgiveness.

A: I want to play a game with B.

B: I want A to leave me alone.

A: I want to make B cry.

B: I want to make A laugh.

A: I want to B to say, “You were right. I was wrong.”

B: I want A to tell me that I am right.

A: I want B to come to the party.

B: I want A to say that the party isn’t important.

A: I want B to do my homework.

B: I want A to do my chores.

A: I want to B to ask my friend out on a date.

B: I want to ask A on out a date.

A: I want to borrow money from B.

B: I want A to loan me the car.