Director Chris Corcoran is teaching an acting for camera class at Merseyside Academy of Drama. Corcoran has credits in theatre and television some of his directing credits include: Hollyoaks, Grange Hill, Brookside and The Royal Today. I attended his class from January 13th to March 16th 2016. I joined this weekly class to understand the difference between acting for camera and acting for theatre.
Theatre VS OnScreen
I enjoy going to the movies to watch epic action films, I love watching Eastenders because the characters are like my extended twice removed crazy family and I love a good ol American online series. Watching on-screen promotes comfortable living it’s cheap and you can enjoy it alone or with others.
My soul craves going to the theatre, I worked as an usher at theatres, I’ve performed in theatres, I love the smell of theatres. My dad and uncle where security guards at theatres. Basically I just love Theatre! I believe that audience members respect and appreciate all the elements that goes into the production which includes: the actors, singers, dancers and set makers. Theatre is so visual and I enjoy it so much. However and this is a big however! the price for a good seat at a good show sucks! and if you get a decent price for a bad seat at a good show it still sucks! Note: When I express my love for theatre I don’t mean small fringe type theatres. I mean WEST-END 🙂
Theatre VS on Screen. There is no real winner. I’ve been doing theatre for a long time and I want to try something new.
BAD ADVICE 🙁
A little teacher about 3 years ago told me that I was very theatrical and If I wanted to be on-screen I needed to act smaller. This was bad advice because that’s all the advice she gave me. Knowing me 4 years ago I was struggling to figure out what small meant.
“So my expressions in the theatre are big and on-screen small? So does that mean when im angry in a scene I have to act less angry ? They say on camera it’s all about the eyes. So I have to tell stories through my eyes? Does that mean I have to put expression into my eyes only? what does life mean ?”.
At my acting for camera class I finally understood what my little teacher meant.
^^ Thee above humans are my acting for camera class mates and tutor.^^ What should you expect from this class ??……
Chris is a friendly guy who’s full of personality and banter. I’ve never seen him upset or angry. In the first lesson he makes it very clear on how the lessons will be structured and what to expect in each class. In this class you will learn scripts weekly, you will work in pairs or groups, you will be recorded each lesson, you will get constructive criticism and you will have an understanding on how and why scenes are shot in a particular way. It is a very practical lesson so you will progress every week. The progress you make is really up to you and how dedicated you are. 🙂
I also made a good friend in this class she is not in the picture above but our homework on the first day was to come up with an idea for an advertisement me and Justine met up during the week at my favourite place Pret-a-Manger. Ate and spoke for hours about our idea and just stuff in general it was honestly so refreshing to meet an actress that was following her dreams aswell with similar goals as mine. I could finally relate to someone and didn’t feel alone on this becoming an actress journey.
I’ve learnt a lot in my class and I’ve learnt a lot when being on set. I want to share what I’ve learnt with you, so you have a better understanding on what it takes to act in front of camera. (For beginners as I am not an expertise lol)
Lesson One: The camera reads your every emotion. So before getting on camera be confident with who you are and the character your playing. If you’re filming a monologue of yourself you don’t have to look into the lens you could look above it. But confidence is key.
Lesson Two: Acknowledge that the camera is there. By understanding the position of the camera you understand the shot of what the director is trying to capture which means your able to adjust your movements for the scene. Acknowledging where the camera is crucial. When I was an extra on set at an airport! We had to go up the escalators, as we got to the top and turned right BAM the camera was right there and I was shocked LOL and note that I was walking during a fighting scene plus carrying luggage. Lesson Learnt!
Lesson Three: Dont forget how to act! Yes there is a camera but you still have to commit to the scene and your purpose as an actor!
Lesson Four: Trust the director please! If you’re starting out and you have no idea about acting for camera don’t ask so much questions and just trust that the director is getting the best shots of you. Afterall you have nothing to do with the editing and the tech side to it. Just get the job done and follow the above three lessons and ACT.
Lesson Five: Be natural. Acting for camera relies on natural reactions. In theatre we have been taught to project our voice and make sure our facial expressions are being seen and movements are exaggerated. However on-screen acting, the best advice I can give is that you should stay true to real life movements and reactions unless your character is not ordinary.
Best lesson I learnt regarding Theatre VS Acting for camera: In theatre you are in control of the pace of the scene and you have the freedom to build up intense moments. When acting for camera the editor controls the pace and the elements that build the intense or bizarre moments your job is to deliver as an actor which means be believable.
You can find More information about the Acting for Camera Class at:
New Classes start in April if you are in the area of Liverpool you should check it out!