Monday, April 8, 2013

Know How To Be Framed In the Shot - Film Acting Isn't Like Stage Acting part 3

 Mark Stolzenberg Explains the Basics on Framing and you Persona 

Another important part about film acting is understanding and knowing how you're framed in the shot. There's a paradox in film acting. You're supposed to be totally natural and believable and intimate. But at the same time there's all of this artificial stuff you have to do. On a close up, you don't make faces. You want to soften your face and hold still. Then the camera comes to your eyes.

I used to be a clown in the circus. That was my first job in show business. I was way over the top. When I ran away from the circus to New York City and become a film actor, I had to learn how to tone everything down.  Not use my face, my eyebrows. You can't do that, it doesn't work. You want the camera to go to your eyes.

The more still you are in a close up, the more the camera likes the image. The more it goes to your head and your eyes. That's one of the things you can work on to develop a film persona. You have to find out what other things you can do to develop your persona. It's not the same for everybody. Somebody might look good on one side, and someone else on the other. It all depends on what you look like and what your personality is.

Knowing the shot.

If you're in a movie and you're playing a baseball player, shortstop, you're going to actually catch the ball and play shortstop. You're not going to do it in a special way for the camera. But when the camera comes in for a close-up to see how upset you are that you just made an error, now we get a close up showing that James is really mad at himself, because the other team scored three runs.  Now we see a close-up of James and he's going to kill himself.  Next we're on a close-up, and it's a whole different ball game.   We're not watching baseball anymore, we're watching his internal drama.  The thing changes completely.

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Film Acting Tip: At an Audition, Ask the Question, “How Are You Framing Me?"

If you know the way the camera is framed, it helps you perform.  So if you go to an audition, it's not a bad idea to say "how are you framing me?"  Usually they frame you from the waist up for auditions.  It depends on what you're auditioning for, but they want to see your face and how you look on a close-up.  There's only a limited amount of movement you can do on a frame like this.  If it's a really tight shot, you can't even really move your head a whole lot before you're out of the frame.

This is the third in a series from the opening day lecture on Film Acting by legendary NYC Acting Class Instructor, Mark Stolzenberg.   You can find out more about his acting classes and current schedule here.

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