Many famous on-screen actors have gotten their start on the stage before transitioning to the more intimate film scene. The shift from stage to screen acting is a significant one. Actors will have to pull from their arsenal of skills and adapt to the changing environment around them. This article will discuss the difference between stage and screen acting and what it takes to adapt to both of them.
The stage requires actors to be bold and big with their body language and expressions. This has a large part to do with the size and location of the audience. In a theater, the audience could possibly be hundreds of feet away from you. Therefore your acting needs to be able to accommodate the spectators all the way in the back. In film, there is no present audience. Actors are performing in front of a camera which calls for a significant difference in the way they act. The camera will be able to pick up every movement, twitch, and nuance that an actor makes. This type of environment calls for a much more subtle acting skill set.
In theatre, the material you will be performing will have most likely been performed time and time again. This gives the audience an understanding of what to expect when they see the show. Take Romeo and Juliet for example. A timeless play that has been performed thousands of times. Audiences generally know what to expect when they go and see Romeo and Juliet and will only accept a certain amount of differences in the way the play is performed. In film, you are sometimes playing a role for the first time. No one else has filled the shoes of the character before you. This allows the actor to develop the character in the way they want. The actor can put a bit of themselves into the character and make it their own.
Live theatre actors have a lot of time to prepare for their performances and have to memorize every line, direction, prop, and dance move before the performance dates. Film actors need little time to prepare their lines and are able to stop acting and redo a scene when necessary. Live theatre forces you to think on your feet and act quickly, whenever there is a mishap, the show must go on!