From Stage to Screen by Bill Britten – A Theatre Actor’s Guide to Working on Camera

From Stage to Screen by Bill Britten
In A Nutshell
The camera enables us to see right into a character’s soul, revealing his or her innermost thoughts and emotions.
Screen acting requires a more rigorously truthful and spontaneous performance than the stage, as well as very different technical expertise.
From Stage to Screen is a handbook for the professional actor packed with advice on how to make the transition and fully prepare for a TV or film role.

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“Once we’ve done a dirty single, we’ll do a quick reverse – are you going to need a sausage?”
If, like me, you didn’t know what this means then this book is going to be your best friend as you move into the world of screen acting and start working on professional film and TV sets.
After graduating as an actor your first day professionally rehearsing for a theatre play will be exciting and all completely familiar – its a way you are used to working. However you first day as an actor working professionally on a film set is just going to be nervy! Everything is different, unfamiliar, its a way you are not used to working and very often that inexperience shows!
This book helps to bridge that gap …. and then some! The tools, tips, and tricks in this book will not only get you completely ready for working on a film set but will also guide you in methods and techniques which will help you to survive your film acting jobs and to thrive in them.
The book is divided into three sections.
Showing, Sharing and The Inner World
This first section of the book helps you to make the mental shift needed to start thinking like a film actor and trusting in the camera. Theatre acting is all about showing and the external whereas film acting is all about hiding and the internal.
The author guides you through exercises and techniques which help you to start living in the moment and having the confidence to not ‘act’ and to just ‘be’.
Make the Shot Work
This section of the book is a really useful handbook for the practical demands of the shoot itself.
The author guides you through EVERYTHING you need to know as an actor on a film shoot – the type of shots you can expect to be involved in, how to hit your marks, how to manage your own continuity, using your voice on screen, to blink or not to blink and a terrific tool which I found hugely useful about how to play the camera.
“Bill Britten’s Doughnut” will be something I take from film shoot to film shoot. I now have an awareness of how to favour the camera and not only make it love me but also to love it in return!
Doing It
The final section of this book takes you through the entire process of being an actor in the film world.
You learn tips and tricks to use at the casting office to help you to get the job … and also how to survive when you don’t.
There is a terrifically useful section on how best to prepare yourself for a film or TV role; film actors are expected to have done a lot, if not all, of your homework before the shoot unlike stage acting where it is a far more collaborative process. The author helps you to learn how best to prepare your character without stepping on anyone’s toes.
Then you are taken through a typical day on set; what to expect, what to do, who is who, how to manage your energy, how to work with a film director, the rehearsal and the take and even the ADR work you might have to do weeks or months later.
This book really is a must have for anyone working professionally or training as an actor.
I have worked predominantly in television and film for the past ten years of my career and I still found this book hugely useful and learnt a great deal. It is perfect for any actor at drama school or those who have just graduated and really will save you a heap of embarrassment of being that newbie on set who needs baby stepping through the whole process.
Author Bill Britten will get you camera ready with wit, wisdom and warmth. From Stage to Screen is chock full of practical advice for actors at any stage in their career.

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