Acting for TV vs. Movies
So over the last twelve years I’ve performed in 23 plays and musicals in five states. I’ve done television for The Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Investigation Discovery. And finally I’ve had supporting roles in five feature films, (three in the US and two overseas.) You would think that acting is just acting. This is especially true when comparing acting for television and acting for movies.
But I have to tell ya that isn’t at all what I’ve found. In my experience TV and live theater are honestly more similar animals than TV and movies.
I say this because with both TV and live theater the script is king. The words matter SO MUCH. To deviate even a line can through off cast, cause missed cues and create timing issues.
Movies, however, lend themselves to a more relaxed atmosphere. You develop your character and know your lines prior to getting to the set but once there you can try different things. You can explore choices for the character. Now obviously this isn’t true of every set or every director. Some are notoriously strict especially if they wrote the script. But generally speaking, a good director will guide your choices, encourage optional interpretations of lines and even allow the actors to “play” with a scene, thus giving the editor diverse options from which to choose.
But the only way this playfulness on set can be beneficial to all involved is if you show up off book with a well developed character.