Auditions for Film: Movie Acting Tips and Techniques
It's true, auditions for film can be very intimidating. Everyone is staring at you, waiting for you to do something. And there's a gigantic camera pointed in your face.
But in reality, movie acting should be done with ease. Just stay relaxed, and practice a couple of simple tips and techniques which we'll talk about. Are you ready? Then here comes your close-up...
The greatest thing you can ever learn about movie acting is relaxation. Why? Because the camera picks up every little thing that you do. Every blink of the eye, nod of the head, and every sound you make.
Another reason you should stay relaxed: it helps you listen and react to your scene partner. Any film actor will tell you that he earns his living by listening and reacting to what's being said.
Staying relaxed might seem easy, but when the director is behind schedule and running out of daylight, the pressure falls on you: the actor.
Nevermind all that. Stay cool and take your time. Relax.
Ignore the Camera
For the rest of your career as a film actor, the camera will be right there. (Sometimes, really close.) But you are going to ignore it. It's not there. It doesn't exist.
In fact, when the camera is rolling, only you and your scene partner exist. Everyone else disappears. The crew, the director, the producer, the camera man, everyone. They all disappear.
How do you, the actor, accomplish this? You hang on to your scene partner's eyes. The most important facial feature on film. (After all, the eye is the window to the soul.)
So when you look at your scene partner, you look them in one eye. Literally. Don't switch your focus from eye to eye. Instead, pick the eye that's closest to the camera lens.
Always Hit Your Mark
A mark is an indication on the floor of the film studio. (Usually done with black tape.) It tells an actor where to stand.
Why is this important? Because a movie camera is set to focus at a certain depth. If you're standing too far away from the lens, you're blurry. If you stand too close, again you're blurry.
In auditions for film, do your director a favor and always hit your mark.
Now that we've talked about some basic tips & techniques, let's look at how an actor auditions for film...
A screen test is an audition for a movie role. The director will have an actor prepare one of the more challenging scenes from the script, and then perform it while being filmed.
So what can you do to prepare?
First, do your actor's homework. Where are you? Who are you with? How do you feel about them? What do you want from them? How are you going to get it? And so on. Just because we're no longer on a stage doesn't mean we're finished with basic scene study. See the article on acting techniques to learn more.
Another great resource is YouTube. (Search: screen tests) You can find screen tests all the way back to Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. If you they did something you like, steal it.
That's right. we're telling you to steal from the greatest screen actors of our time. Why not? They stole from their idols. Besides, it's not really stealing; it's flattery.
It's okay to steal from the best, as long as you make it your own. Let your own personality shine through on camera.
I hope all this talk about screen tests didn't make you nervous. You're going to be fine. Relax.
If you can stay calm and listen to your scene partner, you'll be able to react to what they're saying. And movie acting is simply listening and reacting. That's all. But while it takes only a minute to comprehend, it's a lifetime to make perfect.
And if you're looking for a way to break into the film industry, you might become a movie extra. It's quick and easy to do.
Armed with this information, let's hope you can get out there and ace your auditions for film.