It’s seems that its quite hard for an actor to forget that they are being watched. Whether on the stage or the screen this issue is a fairly constant one. And the self-consciousness that emerges from the awareness of being watched creates lots of problems for the actor. That’s because the character never thinks about such things (unless of course they are being watched by someone in the story.)
When an actor is processing factors that don’t exist in the character’s world there is a very high percentage chance that they will look like they are acting.
The second problem that emerges from this is that actors often feel the responsibility that is attached to being watched. They therefore work at ‘being interesting’ and this is disastrous. The character is not trying to be interesting. The character is just dealing with the problems that exist in their world.
Early in the term Yasmin was jiggling around a lot during her scenes. The next week she came to class having done some research. She told us that all week she had been observing people having conversations and THEY DIDN’T JIGGLE AROUND. They just had the conversation.
In retrospect, Yasmin believed that because the camera was watching her she was trying to do things that would make her interesting to the audience. The outcome had the opposite effect to the one she intended. She wasn’t believable because part of her concentration was focused on moving around. She needed to concentrate on listening to what was being said and making decisions about what she had to do about it.
Yasmin’s plan for the next class was to forget about the camera and to make sure she was really listening to what was being said.
That was a very effective plan. The change was immediate and VERY positive.
At The Rehearsal Room acting isn’t about imitating behaviours. It IS about understanding the reasons for them.