9 Things You Should Be Doing to Become a Better On Screen Actor

Project Casting

Here are the differences between theater acting and on screen acting and 5 things you should be doing.

The most common response would be “well there’s a lot of things” that are different between theater and TV/Film acting.

But essentially, on screen, things like close-ups require actors to really make little to no movements. This is why they always say, “It’s all in the eyes.” On stage, however, you’re always performing for the guy sitting in the back row of the theater. All of your movements and lines have to be projected so that the audience can see and hear you, and also so that you fully explore the space.

On screen, things like close-ups require actors to really make minimal movements. This is why they always say, “It’s all in the eyes.” On stage, you’re always performing for the guy sitting in the back row. All of your movements and lines have to be projected so that the audience can see and hear you, and also so that you fully explore the space.

9 Things You Should Be Doing to Become a Better Screen Actor

  1. Watch amazing film actors.
  2. Watch how they almost do nothing on screen. Most of the great film actors are ever actually acting. They’re just being. Doing. Existing.
  3. On stage we try so hard to be seen and heard. In film, you don’t have to do any of that. You don’t have to try, because the camera picks up everything. All you have to do is experience.
  4. To practice this transition, film yourself acting, perhaps a piece you worked on stage. Then watch yourself (sucks I know). Notice how much bigger (probably) your expressions are. Much too big for film. Maybe your voice sounds stagey or unrelaxed. Notice these things, then look back at your film idols and compare. What did they do that worked? What did you do that didn’t? That’s typically step 1 for transitioning from stage to film.
  5. Usually the answer is relaxation. It is much easier to go from stage to film, because it is easier to tone things down than it is to learn to crank them up.
  6. As for facial expressions. On stage, you can often get away with forcing certain expression. You can get away with emoting. You shouldn’t force expressions on stage, but we all have done it and do it often, because we gotta reach that back row. Now on film, the back row is the camera. Any forced expression, and I mean any, even something you think is small- will read super false on film. Because the camera picks up every tiny detail. So don’t try to make facial expressions on film. They will always read as false. Believable, real expression will come naturally from being in the circumstances and playing your objectives.
  7. Stage- speak loudly.
  8. Film- think loudly.
  9. Thinking will translate to your facial expressions. All in the eyes. Watch humans in real life. Nobody forces facial expressions in real, human moments. They happen because thinking and feeling happens. Film is much closer to real life than stage.