|Theater or films?|
What is the difference between acting in Theater plays and in a film?
- Understanding the difference from an actor's point of view
What can an actor achieve in terms of fulfillment of objectives?
- Theater: Talent, Moderate Name, and Fame
- Film: Money, Name, and Fame
The main difference between stage all over the world and film acting can be summed up in one word:
The voice and body are generally used much more fully on stage, whereas in the film (in relatively close-up shots) it is more as if actors are under a microscope, so smaller voice projection and physicality are appropriate.
Film acting is almost always performed out-of-sequence. Often, all the scenes with a particular actor will be shot on one day (or in a sequence of days) so that, once done, the producers can let him go and stop paying him. If that actor is only in two scenes, say the first and last scenes of the movie, those scenes will be shot together, maybe on the same day.
The shooting order can also get jumbled due to locations. If a character travels back-and-forth from New York to Paris, the New York scenes will generally be filmed all at once. Then the Paris scenes will be shot. (Or the other way around.)
Many films are unrehearsed or just slightly rehearsed. It's simply too expensive to pay an actor for a month of rehearsal. In the film, the "rehearsal" generally takes place on camera. If the actors aren't ready yet, those shots just don't get used.
In theater acting, stage actors generally have a minimum of two-weeks rehearsal before stepping in front of an audience.
On stage (in most plays), an actor can simply remain and go through in his character's experiences in proper chronological order. So it's relatively easy. Stage actors generally have much more freedom of movement, improvising their movements, at least to some extent.
In films, this is rarely possible for film actors due to filming requirements. For example. a shot must be precisely lit and the cameras must be focused on a particular angle. So actors have to stand in very specific places or they'll be out of camera range or out of focus. This one one of the major reason why film actors sometimes either fail to maintain being in a character or make mistakes in movements causing retakes
Every time you see a cut in a movie, that means there had to be a new setup. Most of the time, it's much more complex than just pointing the camera in a new direction. The whole scene has to be re-lit.
Flow WiseOn stage, acting is live storytelling. The flow of the story is shaped by the audience and the actors in real-time. It is never exactly the same story two nights running. If the audience is slow to respond, the actors can modify the performance to match. And they can watch in the wings to see how other parts of the play are progressing. The play is the thing!
In Films, there is a flow, but this is completely outside the actor's control. An actor is a much more passive participant in a movie than the final result would suggest. Usually, the only thing an actor can focus on is the individual performance.
Preparation WiseThe Film seems to have a greater emphasis on spontaneous performances. You learn your lines, you get told where to stand - and someone yells "action".
On stage, you learn your lines, you get told where to stand - and then you spend several weeks rehearsing to understand the story and the character's place in it.
On a stage, you must be heard, so you have to adequately project your voice. People aren't going to see subtle facial expressions, so you must instead express yourself with body language.
Stage actors have to rehearse to perfection. They don't have a chance to attempt something more than once. They're in front of the audience, delivering their performance to them right there and then. Stage actors have to repeat their performance over multiple days, often multiple weeks. Maybe even months or years.
Film acting is in some ways, closer to reality as if they were the character they were portraying. This character should be completely believable as if it were a real person. Their self-preparation (without rehearsals)
What they do, down to the minor responses, facial twitches, habits, etc should be along the lines of what you would expect from them if they actually the character. A film actor gets to "try again until they get it right". It could be a retake 10 times before the take is approved.
Performance WiseFor the film, a talented editor can create a stunning performance out of several average or bad ones.
For live theater, everything is right there, warts and all, for audiences to see. There is no 'change or re-performing unless it's improvisation (improv). If an actor forgets a line, bungles a line, steps on another actor's line (cue), or falls off the stage, nothing can be done. Just called as a terrible mess-up and continue with the play.
In my view acting on stage is far more demanding. Filming a scene can be undertaken in small scenes allowing retakes. Once you are on stage and the show is underway it's down to you, your knowledge of lines and character and of course talent.
Apart from the differences mentioned above, for an aspiring actor's success, it's the “business angle”. The career planning and promotion required for to be a star actor in films is staggering and phenomenal! This is primarily due to size of world's Cine/TV industry and a frightening competition among actors
My final views
- In the larger interest of aspiring actors, I would recommend going for both, Theater and Film
- Looking at the intricacies of acting for theater and films, and whether you have an inborn talent or not, a top level training in acting craft is absolutely essential and remember, you to go on learning till you die