Screen Acting Tips: Act For Your Best Friend

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Video Transcript

Hi, I’m your host, Ruggero Dalla Santa, and today I want to give you a tip on how to become more comfortable when you act for the camera. 
Very often, when I meet actors who are mainly theatre trained or have had mainly experience on the stage, they tell me how they feel restricted on camera, how they feel intimidated, even, and basically just not as free as they feel on the stage.
Now, some of this is obviously practice, but there is something that can really help you give a better performance to the camera, really approach it in a different way.
So, first of all, let’s understand the main difference between stage and camera, and that is how close you are to your audience.
When you’re acting on a stage, even if it’s a tiny theatre above a pub, you’re always at least 15/20 feet away from your audience. If you’re on a big stage that can be a lot more than that. On camera, instead, the audience comes to you and they get a lot closer.
Just think about this: when we look at an actor on the screen and we see a mid-shot – so something like this – it feels more or less the same as when we’re just standing and talking to a friend who’s standing, you know, a few feet away from us. So it’s comfortable but it’s not super close. However, it’s a lot closer than it would ever be on the stage already.
When we’re in a close-up instead, we are way closer than we would ever be with most people in real life. The close-up is a very intimate space.
Now, I know this can sound scary, so here’s an idea for you. When you’re acting for camera, imagine that you’re acting for your best friend – your very best friend – someone who is super supportive of your acting, of what you’re doing. And you’re giving this person a very intimate performance because they’re very close to you. 
So no matter what you’re doing with the other characters the performance is for your best friend who’s right there beside you.
Now, the key thing here is that you’re giving them an extremely intimate, almost secret, performance. You allow them to see inside of the character’s mind and soul.
So, no matter what the scene is, find moments to share with your audience, with your best friend, what your character feels, what he’s thinking, those moments between the lines, those moments when you’re just listening to the other characters. Those are the moments where
you can really give the gift of showing your audience – your best friend – what your character is actually feeling. 
Give it a go and let me know how it goes in the comments below. And, if you like this video, please don’t forget to like it and I’ll see you next time. Bye, bye.