What happens on your face truly defines the difference between stage and film acting.
Are you one of the many actors who have walked out of an audition after a casting director kept insisting you make what you were doing smaller and smaller until it all finally disappeared and thought, “I guess film acting is about doing nothing’. To be sure, on-camera acting is not about doing nothing. Nothing looks like nothing. Nothing doesn’t look like fear, anger or any of the other emotions actors are asked to project...
The biggest difference between on-camera and stage acting isn't just where the audience is or how small you try to make your acting, it's how we communicate emotion.
Do you know what and how your face communicates? Most actors don’t. The language the face speaks is different than the language the body speaks. The research has taught us that the body tells us how well we are coping with an emotion. This is how emotion is read on stage. The face is the source by which we read what you feel. This is how it’s read for the medium and close-up shot of film.
Working on stage, actors don’t really need to be concerned as much about the subtleties of facial emotion for the simple reason, most of the time, the audience can’t see your face clearly enough.
In conclusion, on-camera acting is not about making what you would do on stage smaller, it’s about a different set of tools.
To have a successful career in front of the camera you have to learn the nature and experiences of an of emotions, what they look like on your face and how to trigger and manage them. We are in the emotional communication business after all. What happens on your face truly defines the difference between stage and film acting.