Pay attention to rehearsal! With warm bodies finally moving through space, this’s the moment when you find out if your preconceived ideas have any merit. It’s also a time to look for happy accidents or embrace new ideas that haven’t yet occurred to you.
Don’t address lighting issues as the actors sort out the scene. Instead, concentrate on working with the director to determine a series of shots that best reflect the structure of the project. Make suggestions if you need to; everyone should be clear about what’s going to happen at the moment of truth.
Once comfortable, actors generally repeat their movements from take to take. But when a performance deviates from the dry run – i.e., marks are treated as a suggestion rather than a commitment – the worst thing you can do is to interrupt the flow by adjusting your lamps. While it’s better to light people rather than spaces, sometimes there’s wisdom in playing it a little loose. Experience is the only way to master such subtlety, but this simple awareness will make you a hero anytime someone overshoots the runway.