New! 5 mins Exercise for Actors on Stage vs. Film Acting

Actor Rajat Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan | A stage and film scene
Actor Rajat Kapoor,  Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee | A stage and film scene
I had been working a lot with young actors experienced in nothing but theater. They come to me fresh from their theater acting school with bad habits learned from teachers who haven’t acted in decades, and ask me to teach them the mysterious art of “film acting.”
I smile and ask “Why this simple question?”
Finding them looking embarrassed at my question, I explain them in simple words:
  • The only difference between acting for film and stage is the venue.
  • A film presents your performance to viewers at closer range. There’s nothing “deep” about the difference; it’s just like moving from outdoor Theater to a small room.
  • In film, you are acting in front of a camera, and you need to speak in a normal voice with restrained body movements. And on stage, you are standing on a river bank talking to a group of people standing on the other side across the bank and trying to listen to you and understand your gestures. So you have to speak loudly with a bit of exaggerated gestures.


Stage Vs. Film


Stage Acting Vs. Film Acting Exercise
Emotion: Anger     Attitude: Frustrated

I gave them the following two liner to prepare

"Kya samzha hai mujhko? Dekh loonga teray ko! Meray khilaf zhoonti gavahi di! Kis se paisa khaya tooney? Beta nahin to yanhi tuzhe maar daloonga!"

When they memorized their lines, I told them to deliver in 2 different ways




Situation 1
Deliver your lines briskly walking 10 feet, shouting, eyes popping out with exaggerated hands and body gestures

Situation 2
Deliver your lines walking slowly 3 feet, speaking your lines hissing with teeth clenched and with  facial expressions without exaggeration. (Only your hand and fingers raised to, if need be, up to shoulders only).

Under Situation 1, it was Acting for Theatre
Under Situation 2, it was Acting for Film

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