This is it: the moment of truth. This is when the preparation and work of all contributors is finally put to the test. Unlike theater, you cannot hope to get it right tomorrow if today is not up to scratch. You have to be perfect-now.
There are many pitfalls that can prevent you from being at your best, the first being the fact of the shoot itself. There is no gradual build-up. You suddenly find yourself in the middle of bright lights, bustling people and menacing equipment, and you are expected to be tender, vulnerable, emotional, and sincere. No wonder so many inexperienced actors find the pressure so intense that they retreat into safety, into the sort of acting they have done before and which has brought them this far: theater acting.
It is so difficult to learn from your more experienced acting partners or from the experts you may encounter because you just can't see what they are up to. (Remember Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe? If he couldn't see what she was doing, what chance have you?) Look at Goldie Hawn on the opposite page. Now can you appreciate what sort of skills and talents are needed to come across as simple and sincere in the middle of all that chaos?
The shoot can bring out the worst in actors: Their voices can get louder (but where is the microphone?), their gestures more expansive (but what size shot is it?), and their movements more flowing (but what mark must they hit?). Don't forget-in the theater we rehearse, and then we perform. For the screen we rehearse (if we are lucky), and then we repeat.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Secrets of Screen Acting. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: John Stamp - Illustrator, Patrick Tucker - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 155.
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