2009 and After : teatr.us and other new domains!
Total Acting (Film & Stage)
see BOOKS/Biblio pages!
Summary1. Description -- Actor as your TOOL
2. An excerpt: Treat actor(s) as TEXT (study, analysis, interpretation, staging)
3. Table of contents
4. Review: Method for Directors
QuestionsSee three acting portals: Biomethod, Biomechanics, Method Acting -- all have film acting pages.
NotesEvery director must take Fundametals of Acting class!
Eisenstein Rediscovered by Ian Christie, Richard Taylor; Routledge, 1993 [questia.com]
Method Acting for Directors
Don't come near bad actors!
Read BioMethod (Fundamentals), Biomechanics (Intermediate) and Method (Advanced) pages -- and come back.
In addition to those previously mentioned, there are other circumstances which differentiate the experience of acting on stage from on camera. Stage actors get the benefit of the immediacy of the experience. There is a certain high that actors get from performing before a live audience. Many highly paid screen actors take time between pictures to do stage work because they need to feel this direct contact with an audience that camera acting lacks. They also do stage work because they find the scripts more artistically fulfilling and challenging than much of the work they do in films or television. Some screen actors who work the stage may even donate their time, either because the salary is so insignificant compared to their film work, or they feel strongly about the message of the play and hope that their name will draw an audience. Recent examples of highly successful screen actors returning to the stage are Al Pacino who did Eugene O'Neill's Hughie at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum in 1999, and Kevin Spacey and Brian Dennehy who did plays by O'Neill and Tennessee Williams on Broadway the same year.
Another difference is the scope of the modes of dramatic art. Those appearing on television are sometimes referred to as talking heads because television favors the close-up shot. Due to the small size of the screen, as compared to movies or the full-scale of the stage, television is limited. Because of the limited amount of information that can be contained within such a small screen, it is essential that the subject be viewed more closely more often. Film with its larger format allows for wider shots more often, but also makes extensive use of the close-up. This is especially true of dialogue scenes in which most acting takes place. Therefore, some have noted that screen actors tend to act only from the neck up. That is to say, they make extensive use of the expressive qualities of the face at the expense of the rest of the body. When seen on the fifty-foot tall movie screen in extreme close-up, the slight lift of an eyebrow can have momentous impact. On stage, the entire actor is seen at all times. Moreover, they are seen from a distance and at different angles by each section of the audience. There are no close-ups on stage. Every scene is in "long shot." Thus, stage actors must use their entire bodies to express even the most subtle emotions, or they won't be communicated to the audience. Some exaggeration or magnification of natural movements and gestures are required. The stage also makes greater demands on the actor's voice. Hovering just outside the frame of film and television is the boom mike which can pick up even the softest whisper. Therefore screen actors become accustomed to acting in a natural voice. Actors who work exclusively in the screen media have lost the ability to "throw" their voice through an entire auditorium while engaged in normal conversation. It is a technique akin to that of a trained singer. The greatest delicacy is required to balance such exaggeration with the realism that today's theatre audiences have come to expect from watching mostly movies. It is a tightrope walk for the stage actor. It is also one of the most important differences between stage acting, as such, and acting for the camera.
In one way, television acting is more like stage acting than film acting. Most taped sitcoms are four-camera shows. The scene is shot simultaneously from four different camera positions. They are also performed in sequence, almost like a 22-minute play. Films, however, are shot out of sequence over many weeks and with frequent breaks for new set-ups. Some television casting directors actually prefer to use actors with a lot of stage experience because they are accustomed to working their way. However, television work is very fast and results oriented. They want to see the actor deliver a final performance in the audition room and at first rehearsal. Stage actors are more used to slowly evolving their characters over several weeks of rehearsal. On the other hand, television directors want to see the exact same thing on camera that they saw in rehearsal. Film actors sometimes have trouble recreating what they did the shot before, but stage actors are trained to reproduce their work night after night.
Some actors are better at performing spontaneously than others. Their response to the danger of the moment gives the first run-through a certain freshness and reality that gets "rehearsed out" when repeated over and over. In film such first takes are captured and so can be used. Actors who work this way do better in film. Other actors who see the rehearsal as a period of exploration and discovery, and who build and solidify their performances over time, do better on stage.
[ Biz of ACTING ]
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