|A scene from popular TV Serial " Balika Vadhu"|
The first time acting in TV serials could be a nightmare for many new actors! However, this statement should not taken as a deliberate attempt to make the life of new actors difficult, but could probably due to complex and nerve wracking condition production, direction and others involved have to work. In spite of this, in majority of the cases, they always try to be nice and helpful once you are selected.
I have been the onset many a times as an actor and later as a personal coach, and have seen a lot of co-star enter set for the first time. It’s fascinating, sometimes scary, and actors need to know what to expect, how to behave while on location, and how they fit into the bigger puzzle of TV filming. There’s no rule book for this. It’s fast paced, chaotic, and that there are so many moving pieces on this chess board that make a TV film/show come to life.
Before we proceed further, actors new to TV should know the basic difference between a film and TV acting.
Acting for film
In most cases, film acting is much more detailed and subtle than television. Film casting directors frequently tell actors auditioning 'to do less'. Even emotionally charged scenes can be ‘smaller’ when it comes to the performances. This is often where many coaches and casting directors say confusing things like “stop acting”, "don't exaggerate" and "don't act be natural".
Acting for TV
1. Know your lines quickly. Know them twice as well as you think you need to, because there will be so many other distractions to worry about when you start filming. You don’t want to be that actor holding up production and messing up your three lines while Kevin Spacey is staring at you on the set of “House of Cards.” The series regulars will all learn their lines after the blocking rehearsal, but as the guest actor, you are expected to be memorized the whole time, as you want to be seen as a total pro. That being said, be prepared for it all to change right before you shoot. Welcome to TV!
2. Be prepared to wait. Longer and longer till you are called to your scene or a shot or it is just postponed for some other day.
3. No Rehearsals? Usually there are no rehearsals before you are called for the final day and even on the D-day, who has the time? Invariably, after a considerable wait when you are in the front of the camera, you may hear the director or the script supervisors ‘Chalo,
4. Hit your marks. There are little pieces of tape on the floor, and the camera focus is set to those marks. If you overstep it, you are out of focus. Therefore, quickly practice your movements (blocking). Experienced TV actors know how to hit their marks without looking and say their lines simultaneously.
5. Learn the terms. All on-camera actors should be well versed in camera angles, common onset terms, and shot setups. Here are some examples: “close up,” “over the shoulder,” “rolling,” “continuity,” “action” etc.
6. Understand scenario and your status on location. You are a guest in the workplace, and many of the crew members are there 60–80 hours a week. Be professional, don’t complain, and be nice to everyone. It goes a long way.
7. Don’t take pictures. This is an important one. Don’t take photos of the set and post on Facebook, and don’t try to sneak in an awkward selfie with crew member or one of the stars of the film/show. If you really want, the best is to seek permission from the director or executive producer. Be careful and maintain your status!
8. Relax and have fun. As a matter of fact, this could be a point, no 1 rather being no 8. You observe tension and chaos all around. A never ending fast pace and hurry. Plus, you have great actors working opposite you, expensive costumes, real locations, and many people working hard to make you look good when it comes time to film your scene. Probably your lines may not be given on your arrival. A frightening worry, a fear creeps into you. You are tense; muscles stiff, mouth dry, sweat trickling on back and as you wait longer and longer for something to happen to clear the clouds.
The only solution is just to relax. You’re not going to die Using "instant relaxation techniques" and building an attitude of “come what may, "I’m best and
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