Acting for Camera: 5 Top Tips

Acting for Camera: 5 Top Tips

At Acting Coach Scotland, we offer a range of acting courses and classes in stage and screen acting. Here’s our top 5 tips on acting for the camera. 

Number 1:  Eyes

In a close up shot, the emotional story of the scene is told in your eyes. So, be aware that the audience are reading your thoughts and feelings directly from your eyes. Use eye contact and a lack of eye contact to help tell that story. When should you look, and when should you break and look away? Also status can be embodied through eye contact. Looking down at the other actor will make you seem more powerful, looking up at them will make you appear more vulnerable. Use your eyes to improve your acting for camera performances. 

Number 2:  Mic

Your scene partner could be any distance away from you. But the mic is likely to be close by. You should adjust your vocal performance to speak to the mic, not your partner. For theatre actors, this is often a really big shift as you are used to being ‘on voice’ when you perform. The mic can be just above your head, so you don’t need to project very far to impact them with your lines. But, don’t mute your performance, simply adjust it ‘as if’ your partner was much closer to you. 

Number 3: To the Edit 

Editors like to use movement to motivate a shift from scene to scene. So if you can end a scene with a simple and decisive movement, that will make a great cut point for the editor. 

Number 4: Cut 

Never call cut, or stop acting until after cut is called. Cut is an instruction to the camera operator and not to you. Better yet, wait until the director or someone else starts speaking, well after cut to relax and come out of the scene. The last thing that you want is to be waiting for cut. Always have something to do at the end of the scene for as long as it is needed, so you aren’t just waiting to hear CUT. 

Number 5: Shots

Shots tell the emotional journey of the story. But each shot requires a different type of performance from the actor. At a distance, in a full shot, it’s a much bigger, more physically expressive acting that’s required. Closer to theatre. In a medium shot, a studio theatre, in mid-close up, it’s normal life, and in a closer up, it’s a much more intimate moment. Find out what the shot is and adjust your performance accordingly. 

If you’re looking for top training in acting for stage and screen, we’re auditioning now for our three life changing full time acting courses at Acting Coach Scotland. 

COACH

Mark Westbrook is the Course Leader of the 2-Year Professional Acting HND at Acting Coach Scotland. 

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