In the on-camera screen acting world, the performance is measured against a different set of standards than it would be for live theater. Unlike actors on stage, screen actors have to contend with special challenges such as being filmed from many angles, subtle movements, and having to play for audiences who can’t see you.
That being said, on-camera/ screen acting isn’t an all-or-nothing style of performance; there are many different types of screen performances depending on the scene and how it’s shot. For example, if your character is giving a speech to hundreds or thousands of people at a rally that will be played out wide or medium shots, you’ll play it one way; but if your character is at a bar, giving the same speech to an audience of only five people in close-ups, you would play that completely differently.
This is why on-camera acting classes are just as important for screen actors, if not more so than theater actors. It’s also why there are many different types of on-camera acting courses online that you can take to improve your performance.
Perhaps you’ve been studying acting for a while and want to find the best on-camera/ screen acting courses online. Maybe, like many actors out there, you’re doing it on your own because you’re a natural and don’t need class/es.
Or maybe your school didn’t offer an excellent course in on-camera acting but you still want to get the training you need to book the role.
Here are a few suggestions on how to find great classes to take:
The following are keys to you saving time and money:
Bottom line: find a school with extensive experience and proven results.
Good screen acting courses teach more than just great performance techniques; there are screen acting classes that teach you all about the business side of screen acting.
The screen acting courses available online are many and varied; the best screen acting classes for you will depend on your experience level, what kind of screen actor you want to be (comedic or dramatic), and more.
And so much more—the best online screen acting training will cover a wide variety of topics, all designed to turn you into a well-rounded on-camera screen actor.
Your eyes are the window into your soul – In screen acting courses, this is one of the most important screen acting tips you can learn. The camera captures every moment; what you’re feeling and thinking comes through in a way that it doesn’t when performing on stage. That means screen actors have to learn how to use their eyes in a way that feels truthful without being too obvious.
When you’re watching the screen, look for when your character’s thoughts are communicated through subtle eye movements or changes in focus.
A screen actor’s job is to make their character come alive on screen, even if they’re playing off an empty set. The audience needs imagination and the best screen acting courses online will teach you how to use visual elements like blocking (the stage equivalent of camera movement) in a way that supports your performance verbally or through facial expressions.
For example, say you’re playing a character who’s had to leave their house after losing everything in an earthquake. Approach the scene by looking down and fiddling with your sleeves so that it looks like you’ve just noticed how shabby these clothes are – even though there might be nothing on the screen at all!
By thinking of screen acting in this way, you’ll discover how screen acting courses online can help you learn screen acting techniques that will give the director what they need to craft your performance.
The last screen acting tip we want to share with you is about physicality – or action. When screen acting, your actions need to be driven by what’s happening in the scene. That means you should always think about how it influences other characters and drives the plot forward.
For example, if your acting coach has asked you to walk across the room before delivering a line of dialogue – where are you walking? Why? If another character enters, how will it change what happens next? Take screen acting courses online that offer training in this area and watch as your screen acting improves.
When screen acting, you also need to be aware of screen direction. This refers to the way in which your character’s actions are moving them across the screen and has a dramatic impact on how they’re perceived by other characters (or even within their own mind).
In screen acting courses online, directors will teach you how to use screen direction in a subtle but effective way that enhances your performance. For example, if the screen director wants to convey that your character is feeling confident and strong – where are they standing? Where do their eyes look? What kind of physicality does it create on screen?
In screen acting courses online, you’ll learn and discover these on-camera techniques that will help your performance feel real and authentic. You might even find out that screen acting is more similar to theater than you thought!
Once a student has completed the course, they should be able to apply what they have learned from their screen acting tips in practical situations. This could be in screen acting roles or even other types of performance.
By taking screen acting courses online that help you learn how to use screen direction in a subtle but effective way – along with character development, emotional connection, and physicality – screen acting will start to feel like second nature and you’ll be ready for some screen acting roles. By understanding the different types of screen acting, from physicality to blocking and more, you’ll have a better grasp of what’s expected of you as an actor or actress when performing for film or TV sets.
Learning these principles will also give directors and producers exactly what they need so that their vision becomes reality. If this sounds like something you want to learn more about, let us know! We offer screen acting courses online with professional actors who specialize in all aspects of screen performance – whether it’s theater or film-based work.
Which on-camera/ screen acting classes are you interested in?
Let us know your thoughts!
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.