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Screen Acting 101: Five things you need to know on set

Acting for film and television is very different from a stage production. Especially working on set – whether it’s for the first time or for a subsequent project – screen acting requires a unique approach. This blog post is designed to offer some advice for those interested in the craft and applying it on set. You will find insights on acting lessons, screen acting top tips and how you can become a refined actor by following these tips:

  1. Be prepared for anything

    Shooting schedules and screen acting will require you to film out of sequence and circumstances often change, all of which will be out of your control. As a screen actor, you need to be prepared for these types of changes. Factors such as severe weather conditions, technical difficulties or daylight restrictions can be to blame and can tamper with the principal photography process.

  2. Know your character

    Know your character’s journey well beforehand and at every moment in the story. Be ready. Don’t treat your first take like a rehearsal, it’s important that you attempt to get it right on each and every take.

  3. Be familiar with your audience

    You’re not filming in front of a live audience when screen acting (with the exception of sitcoms that don’t rely on laugh tracks). Neither the director nor the crew will replace the actual audience of the film. Instead, you should always remember the narrative. Who is your demographic, your viewers?  And what is the character trying to say to them? How will this narrative make your viewers feel? If you bring this knowledge to the set, you’ll be able to perform with much more ease.

  4. Learn how to use your eyes to convey a message

    Conveying your emotions using your eyes is something very unique to screen acting. Your eyes have the innate ability to illustrate your thoughts, feelings and internal conflicts. Following a person’s eyes can fully immerse the viewer into the scene or character. Try practicing in front of a mirror or camera to sharpen subtle and nuanced eye movements that can be seen on screen. This is very important in close-up shots when your facial expressions tell the entire story.

  5. Know whom you are dealing with when you’re screen acting

    Working on set is hectic. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right person to talk to regarding a certain task. As a consequence, you should know the crew, their jargon and the way they operate. No director wants you to ask over and over again about shot sizes and camera movements. Remember it from set discussions instead. Film is a collaborative effort. Be appreciative of everyone’s time in the production process and you will notice how much easier it will be to work.

Applications for the Diploma of Screen Acting 2019 intake are now open. The Screenwise 10065NAT Diploma of Screen Acting is Australia’s only two-year, full-time, Government accredited course which offers students the most advanced acting theories and professional industry training today. Become part of the next generation of great Australian actors.