1. Stage & Screen ActingThis is a featured page

Lourenz: Pgs. 256-258
Four categories which film acting can be broken down into:
1. Extras
-The actors who provide a sense of a crowd
-They are used as camera material like landscape or a set.
2. Nonprofessional performers
-Amateur players who are chosen not because of their acting ability but due to their appearance for the role -- they look right for the part.
3. Trained professionals
-Stage and screen performers who are capable of playing a variety of roles in different types of styles.
-The majority of actors fall under this category
4. Stars
-Famous performers who are widely recognized by the public due to their appealing power as one of the main attractions of a film or stage play.
-Star system was developed and dominated by the American cinema, though it’s only just unique to movies.
  • Despite of how a film actor is classified, nearly all performers in this means admit that their work is shaped by the person who literally and figuratively calls the shots.
  • Thus the movie actor is mainly a tool of the director because it is another “language system” that the filmmaker uses to communicate ideas and emotions.
  • The difference between stage and screen acting are mainly established by the dissimilarities in time and space in each medium.
  • The live theater seems to be a more satisfactory medium for the actor because he/she tends to dominate the events, while in movies, this is not the case because the actors are limited to what the director directs them to do.

  • The requirements are different in each medium as well.
      • The vital fundamentals for the stage performer are to be seen and heard clearly.
      • The ideal theatrical actor must have a flexible, trained voice.
      • His/her voice must be powerful enough to be heard even in a theater that has thousands of audience.
      • Because language is the major source of meaning in the theater, the traces of the dialogue must be said through vocal expressiveness.
  • It is necessary for actors to have knowledge of:
      • what words to stress and how to stress them
      • how to phrase properly for different types of lines
      • when to pause and for how long
      • how quickly or slowly a line or speech ought to be delivered
      • most of all, the stage actor must be believable even if the dialogue is stylized or unnatural.

  • Physical requirements are less challenging in the theater than in movies.
1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film

      • the stage actor must be visible from all angles of the auditorium
      • it helps for an actor to be tall or else he'd get lost on a larger stage
      • it helps to have large and regular features
      • makeup can cover many deficiencies because even a 40-yr-old actor acting a part like Romeo would not be in a disaster as long as he is in good physical shape imparted with his voice and flexible body -- he is able to play the role.

Reference Films:
  • Unfaithful (USA 2002) with Diane Lane and Oliver Martinez directed by Adrian Lyne.
1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film
-Love scenes in movies are opposite of those on stage because there is more emphasis on physical contact with less dialogue.
-Film actors must act as though they're behind closed doors in order to perform the intimate and passionate aspects of their role.

  • Monster's Ball (USA 2001) with Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton, directed by Marc Forster.
1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film
-The most required of Halle Berry in the movie was her beauty and her deglamorized roles.
- Here, Berry plays a lonely young widow and stressed-out single mother who was a love affair with a whtie man in rural Georgia. She plays a vulnerable, feminine, and emotional woman.

Nate's Section (259-261)
-Stage actors must move a lot because their whole body is in view. They also increase their energy scene by scene to show how the character changes up until the climatic point (theatrical acting preserves real time). "Actors gnerate psychic energy to the play's own structure" (259). Not making mistakes are crucial, because scenes can't be replayed. The energy must also be changed correctly without fluxuating a lot. Actors must look interesting and must be expressive, therefore film actors can't get very familiar with many different stage acting techniques.

-Actors like Kim Stanley, Talluluah Bankead, Ian Richardson, and Sarah Bernhardt were admired stage actors, but could not excite the audiances in film because of the different acting styles films and stages require.

-Actors must learn to feel cmfortable in period dress, and how they will use their bodiesdepending on the period of film they are acting in.

-In movies too much technique can actually undercut a performance, and can make it seem hammy and insincere.

-Acting in cinema is different than on stage, because in cinema, acting is completely dependant on the filmmaker's approach to the story materials. The more realistic the director's techniques, the more necessary it is to rely on the abilities of the actors. These types of directors prefer long shots because they keep the entire body of hte actor in the frame. Formalistic directors, on the other hand, don't really value the actor's input. Most of the feelings are added in editied juxtapositions. (i.e. if an actor looks left, the camera will cut to what he sees rather than the actor's reactions of what he is seeing).

Referenced Films
~ Welcome to Collinwood (U.S.A., 2002)~
Uses ensamble cast to emphasize the interactions of a group rather than singling out/focusing on stars/main characters.
1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film

~The Hours (USA, 2002)~
-The close-up allows the film actor to concentrate totally on the truth of the moment. Facial expressions are nuanced and can be used to convey emotions rather than using "stage dialogue."
1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film

Tony's Section

Sequence from Sabotage (Britain, 1936),
with Sylvia Sidney and Oscar Homolka, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film

  • Through editing a Director can sontruct a highly emotional "performance" by juxtaposing shots of actors with shots of objects.
  • In this certain sequence the effect of the scene is achieved through the linking of two or more shots
    • actors contribution tends to be minimal
  • Basis of Pudovkin's theory of contructive editing

Staying Alive (U.S.A., 1983) with John Travolta, directed by Sylvester Stalone

1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film

A Fish Called Wanda (Britian, 1988) with John Cleese, directed Charles Crichton
1. Stage & Screen Acting - Understanding Film

Naked versus Nude.....whats the difference?
  • There just happens to be a significant difference between someone who is percieved as in the nude or nude and some who is percieved as naked.
    • A nude or semi-nude body, such as in the film Staying Alive, is meant to be looked at, admired.
      • Reason why someone would include a nude person in their film:
        • Sex allure is a very compelling allure in the performing arts
        • the beauty of the human form - both male and female - has been one of the most persisten lures of the cinema.
    • A naked person, such as in the film A Fish Called Wanda, is usually embarrassed to be seen publicly without clothes on
      • Reason why someone would include a naked person in their film:
        • a source of considerable hilarity - naked people are funny

PGS. 265-267-Kristal's Section:
-French Director Robert Bresson believed that a screen actor is not an interpretive artist, but one of the raw materials of the mise en scene and editing.
-He preferred to use nonprofessional actors since trained actors want to convey emotions and ideas in their performance.
-The difference between stage acting and film acting are solid:
  • No so restricted with vocal requirements since volume is controlled electronically
  • actors with wooden voices such as:
~Gary Cooper
~John Wayne
~Clint Eastwood
~Arnold Schwarzenegger
Can become successful.
  • Music and sound effects can change the meaning of a line .
  • A voice can be garbled, booming, or hollow.
  • Most of the lines are dubbed so that a director can perfect the lines.
  • The words from different recordings can be taken and added together.
  • Physical requirements are different also. the film maker doesnt have to be tall. Low angle shots can be used to make a shorter person appear taller.
  • The eyes and the mouth do not have to be large, just expressive.
  • Film actors do not have to be attractive. An actor like Humphrey Bogart could do well since he was photogenic, though not considered good looking.Humphrey Bogart
  • Even actors who are clumsy are not a problem. Directors can not use shots like the long shots or photograph the actor after they moved. Complicated movements can be faked by having a stuntperson.Stunt person
  • The shots are usually intercut with closer shots of the leading actor.
  • Even in close-ups the physical appearance can be changed through the use of filters, lenses, and lights.

Movies referenced:
La Strada
La Strada (italy 1954) most Italian movies are dubbed after the footage has been photographed and most of the timee edited. Fellini used foreign actors who spoke English and had an Italian actor to do teh character's dub.

The Wind Will Carry Us

Film realism is more convincing precisely because of the player's lack of technical skills. The nonprofessional actors in this movie anre sincere and artless.

Fonda's contribution- (268-270)
  • shooting schedules are determined by economic consideration, which allows sequences to be shot out of chronology and put in order during the editing process
  • actors don't need to "build" emotionally like stage actors, they must be able to access all their emotions at any time
  • mostly, actors must try & seem normal on camera
  • because cinema is confined to such short space and time, rehersals are limited and short
  • it's also not as crucial for actors to memorize lines because they have help from the crew on set if they forget
  • actors must be at ease at all times on set. if not, they make scenes look akward or staged
  • in many cases, actors are required to perform unnatural scenes. for instance, in Point of View shots, the actor must talk into the camera instead of to an actual person
  • the director has complete control over an actor and a scene
Films Refrenced

The Ice Storm (USA, 1997)

Actors agree that film is a more intimate medium that stage acting. the actors are more real. In The Ice Storm, actors are able to communicate in many ways, including eye contact alone. They can talk normally.

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