act, but dont act like your acting

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videofxuniverse
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act, but dont act like your acting

Post by videofxuniverse » Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:35 am

if you make an amateur film make sure your actors know what you want them to do, how they talk, how they express their emotions, where they have to move, and what they need to do in the scene. The one thing people let themselves down with most in movies is their acting. Act, but don't act like you are acting. You have to be natural, talk like you would if it was real, like you talk to your friends, wife or parents. So many amateur actors who do home movies for some reason talk like they are reading from a script and their voice changes to a fake acting voice. Don't do this, try to get involved with the scene, pretend that it isn't make believe and there are no cameras around you. if someone has a bb gun in your face, pretend that the person is holding a real loaded gun and is about to kill you. Show your natural fear, panic, and desperation to stay alive. Actually visulise that this is real and its actually happening. And talk the same way. You won't be saying "No, don't, please don't kill me" in a bland, emotionless tone, you would have fear in your eyes, talk as if you are staring death in the face with a stuttering crying voice. And when you master this, you are great
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Post by Lawriejaffa » Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:49 am

NOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo!!!!

It's not even remotely that simple!!! - It's also completely wrong what your saying!!!

When your acting you have to ACT - ESPECIALLY when you are acting as if you are not acting. Acting is a professional skill, the reason actors can be bad are more often because they are still students or are not actors at all.

If you think getting a good performance is telling an actor 'to do less' is the worst you can do! They in fact need to 'DO MORE!' the difference though - is doing more in the school of screen acting.

Prentending its just 'real' is like saying 'just' do method acting and it will all be fine...

Suuure...

Another misnomer is saying 'oh don't be so theatrical' as if theatrical is like unrealistic acting... when method performance came from theatre!!! Point is that stage acting is more realistic than film acting (i know i know you think im nuts for saying that but ill prove you why im right.)


The stage acting we popularly imagine is mostly performed on a big stage in front of an audience of 500 - 2k. Most often they are the size of a a midget or cigarette on such stages and so their manner of performance has to big just to be seen - just to connect with their audience. EXACTLY in the manner someone may have to perform in a very wide long shot...

Then in a method stage production (say in a tiny 20 seat venu when the actor is in your face) well, if its a realistic play, they will be darn playing their hardest - in the manner we imagine 'film acting to be'.) - the equivelant of being shot in close up (doing less with their bodies and faces... hrmph.)

Now actors on stage will have technical rehearsals (well 1) with marks to hit on the floor, but more or less they have freedom over the stage to do everything naturally, to sit and get up as they do in real life and everything else. In film you do crazy s***, like getting up (by pushing ur a** up with ur arms!?!) and drinking tea almost straight under your chin so it fits a Close up.

So SCREEN ACTING is unrealistic but designed entirely to pursue the illusion of realism.

Theatre acting is (if its the method school or a realistic play and not a pantomine) - IS realistic but depends entirely on the venue!

So in that sense Screen Acting therefore is a very specific elaboration of stage acting especially designed for the screen. Some are naturals, most train to utilise that form, but all require concentration and practice.

If i have to hit marks, move unnaturally, speak to the backs of peoples heads (you know the shot where 2 people face camera 1 behind in the shot 1 up front) and all that cr** then thats waaaayy different to acting natural in an anton chekov play.

The bland emotionless tones you cite are probably a result of the cr** 'do less' direction. Actors (and student actors need this) to be aware of the shots, and be aware how their performances should vary according to these shots.

Later i will update this reply with a great book i'd recommend on this topic.

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Post by videofxuniverse » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:05 am

but my point is, even if you are doing a social scene dont do the alternate (im pretending to act voice) do it as if its natural. i have seen enough ebaums world and consumptionjunction parody films to spot the difference between fake theactrical acting to "soap star acting."
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Post by maj_barnes » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:06 am

Acting is a professional skill,
That's the key thing. Most people's actors on here aren't professionals, they're just friends who want to help out. If anything, telling an 'actor' not to speak like they're reading something and just talk like they normally would is an excellent idea. I know I encountered a few problems with that- the best way to get them not to act like they're reading a script (if you want to allow such liberties in your film) is just tell your actors how they should response, give them something to work around- let them say that response or line in their own words: it comes out much better. If anything the hardest thing is for my friends to act scared or depressed, because A. They get embarrassed B. They want to hide their emotion so it comes off looking stone cold. I have some ideas to combat that: make sure others who you're filming with understand how hard it is for that actor to get into that state and preform in that- don't have them laughing because they're acting other than they normally would. Let that actor have some time to process in and out of that emotional state.

I don't know, just adding my three cents.

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Post by Lawriejaffa » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:17 am

Yeah video, but point is actors don't have a cr** voice they save for student films or anything - its cos most folks are using their friends / and or student actors inexperienced etc. Hence the dear in the headlights look and robot voice acting lol.

There is no fake theatrical acting or soap star acting i mean where do you get this stuff!?! I'm guessing you just want folk to 'act better' in your films.

Well if thats the case then you need to get better at directing actors, and you also have to get much much MUCH more familiar with acting in general.

You can't just create these sweet make believe terms from the shows you watch or stuff you see on the net !!

Get your a** to the library and go speak to acting lecturers at your college, your drama teacher, call folks, and that stuff.

There is no magic want to good performances - no "act less like a robot" and it'll all be okay.

I know im probably sounding like a total b**ch, and im no expert director of actors (you can check my latest film post hehe) BUT - i am very aware of what goes wrong and especially aware of there being no silly quickfix solution to amatuerism.

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Post by videofxuniverse » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:29 am

at the moment i am too drunk to assist in this debate any further, but does anyone have a typical youtube video to demonstrate someone who is acting as if reading from a script or who is not acting naturally in a video to show my point?
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Post by Knightly » Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:05 am

Go to your local college and ask if you can "audit" an acting class (that means free, but no grade) :)
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Post by kene555 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:06 pm

but does anyone have a typical youtube video to demonstrate someone who is acting as if reading from a script or who is not acting naturally in a video to show my point?
Sure do! I am not proud to say this is mine...but that was filmed a year ago - I am proud at how far I have progressed, as well as my actors.

<object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/b3S4gdIQy5Q"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/b3S4gdIQy5Q" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>
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Post by Ornsack » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:19 pm

Lawriejaffa wrote:So SCREEN ACTING is unrealistic but designed entirely to pursue the illusion of realism.
Spot on!

If you watch a behind the scenes clip of someone acting, it's always very odd because they act in a way that's totally un-natural. It all works on screen though, in the context of whatever's going on.

So while I can see what videofxuniverse is trying to say, it seemed like a long-winded way of saying "Don't act cr**, and you'll be good at acting"

Back in the early days of our stuff all of our 'actors' sounded like we were reading from a script (mainly because we were). As we've gone on we've gained a bit of confidence and have seemed to have worked out what works on screen and what doesn't (watch the guy in blue in Jesus 2 and then watch his acting in The Salesman to see how he went from reading lines in a script and trying to sound like he's talking in real life, to how he does when he plays up to the camera)
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Re: act, but dont act like your acting

Post by Kentertainment » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:46 am

It's not all verbal, you have to think outside the box and find ways to put the actor(s) in a similar situation. For example, say your character is annoyed in a scene and you know your actor can't stand the sound of a clicking pen. Keep clicking the pen up until calling "action" to allow them to tap into that annoyed personality.

Films and acting in general are something that plays with the emotion. In a film, we want to empathize with a character, but if they're not feeling the emotion then how are we supposed to?

I just made a short film where two characters (well, one specifically) assume the worst of the other. The script has them in two separate locations doing two separate things, so with each actor I removed the others scenes in the script and had the crew keep quiet about the story, that way each actor was forced to speculate about the other.

I like to think it worked, but I could be biased.

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