Acting For The Camera – Part 1

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A FEW TIPS & TRICKS:

The Basics of Acting

Part of being an actor is to be able to give life to something that would be dead unless someone takes its place and gives it movement, emotions, and intentions. For theater, acting needs to be a little big. Why? Because people on row 107 need to see what you’re doing, what your intentions are and they also need to hear what you say. That means: when you’re in a play, you gotta go big, but NOT FAKE. You just need to do things a little bigger for those people far away to understand what’s going on.

Now, in Cinema, things are different. You’ll probably have a camera chasing you like a hungry werewolf. The lens captures everything with so much detail and makes everything bigger too. You have to go soft on your acting: that means on your expressions, voice tone, and body movement. Since everything is enlarged on camera, a simple but exaggerated raise of an eyebrow could look bad on screen. If you analyze carefully, most of the film actors don’t move their eyebrows or pucker their foreheads. That’s because the majority of times it looks a little bad, the same goes with any grimace you do (unless you’re interpreting a monster). Although some of these things vary depending on the actor and the film director, it is recommended to be very careful with what you do with your face and your body. Typically, film characters barely move their hands unless it is completely necessary. Every move has to be done with finesse and needs to have a purpose. It’s always good to study people on street (sounds creepy, but it’s helpful). See how they walk, what they do when they are standing somewhere, how they eat or grab their mugs, how they grab objects, how they stare or smile. If you’re trapped in your thinking and don’t know how to pose like people normally do, always head to the street. Sit down, buy something sweet to drink and begin your actor studying.

RECREATE IT, FEEL IT & BELIEVE IT

It’s very important that when you’re given a scene to act on, you must recreate what’s going on in your head. Questions you should ask yourself as an actor:

  • Who is my character?
  • What does he/she do for a living?
  • Any family?
  • Which Social class?
  • How does this character interact with people and his surroundings?
  • His views towards Life?
  • What’s going on in the scene?
  • What changes happen in it?
  • Who changes for good or bad?
  • What’s the plot of this script/story?
  • What drives my character to do what he/she does? (Whether it’s a hero or villain)

    Those are a few things you have to be careful with, doesn’t matter if it’s for theater or cinema. If you know these facts or some of them, you can RECREATE everything easier in your head. Once you do this, you’ll be able to understand the purpose of all the aspects occurring, and you can then begin to FEEL.

The feeling is essential in acting because your body will give a real response once you get your emotions into it. If you achieve this part, you can immediately find an intention to what happened to your character, what someone said to him/her or anything that comes heading your way. Acting is about being real, believing what you’re saying and doing in the mindset of this being you’re interpreting. But, that can only be achieved if you understand what’s going on, the purpose of why things are the way they are if you feel the emotions and pressures your character is going through and believe them. You have to transform yourself when in character and think that your real self is gone for a few minutes. You gotta give life to what has been given to you, make it different and shiny.

REMEMBER:

Theater is a little BIG, but watch out for overacting. You need to be real, even when you speak (accent & tone). At the same time, people on the last row need to be able to hear what you’re saying and see what you’re doing.
Film Acting is small so that when it looks huge on the big screen, it seems normal and looks good. Also, watch out for weird tones or accents, awkward facial expressions, and body movement. If you feel your “recreated” emotions properly, your body will show it by itself. Believe what you’re doing and saying, Live it and experience it on set.

You’re interpreting a living being, that means you have to act like one. NO OVER DOING THINGS or OVER SAYING WORDS, it looks and sounds ridiculous. Be careful with that, and always practice in the mirror or on your car, wherever you like, keep those acting skills on point. WATCH OUT for the “OVER” thingy, always remember that. Look for reality, never exaggeration unless someone DIRECTLY asks you to do so. Even so, be careful with that.

– Jess O. Rubio

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
  • Camera: NIKON D700
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s
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I'm an actor, cinematographer and editor. I enjoy writing scripts and taking these stories to the big screen. I usually compose music for my films or by request. Currently have a blog on YouTube to share some laughs with the audience. There's nothing more beautiful than to share someone's world with an audience on the big screen, and nothing more fulfilling than to be able to bring a character to life. The secret is how you tell the story.