Award-winning actor Leo Oliva, who just signed with entertainment management giant, LINK Entertainment, chats his 5 top tips in acting, from both behind and in front of the lens.
“This takes as a given that you have had training and already know how to use your craft,” said Oliva. “This will not teach you how to cheat the camera or your art, so learn to act first!”
Be an Actor.
Never Stop Acting. They say that if the lens is pointed your way, you should consider yourself to be on camera, or in the shot. They are correct (whoever they are), and that means never stop acting. A slight tweak, or a scene that rolls longer might catch you dropping the ball and it will be recorded for everyone to see. Not to mention that you are an actor. You’ve been hired to do what you love. Wouldn’t you want to do it the whole time anyway?
Don’t downplay or diminish your work in any way just because they are shooting an OTS or a clean shot on your co-star. Giving them your truth in that moment will allow the editors to use both sides of the interaction by allowing for a cleaner match. This idea of saving your energy works sometimes, but only if your co-star has at least had one opportunity to see where you are going to take that moment. If not, your work, or theirs, may end up on the cutting room floor.
Photo Credit: Jonny Marlow
Know your frame. You need to know how big or small you look in the shot, and how your actions and reactions play in that frame as well. Your actions on a tighter shot will read differently and normally too big in comparison to what you do in the wide shot. Visa versa, if you are playing your actions with the same intensity in the wide as you do in a close us, they may not read. Ask the camera op, DP, or director before they start to roll, what lens they are on and what the edges of the frame are.
The sound of a director calling “Action” should not be the moment you start to work on a role. (This goes for your auditions as well). That’s not to say you won’t find new things when working with your castmates and when working with the director and crew. But know that if you’ve put in the work before you arrive on set, you will find even more. Do your work BEFORE the cameras are up.
Take a second, anytime you are on set, and know that this moment, this set, this crew has all been assembled so that you can do what you do best. Remind yourself that, “This moment was made for you.” Give yourself that freedom and it will take the pressure off, knowing that everyone there is working their hardest to make sure you have the opportunity to give the best performance possible. This is a team sport, and you have a huge team working hard to make you a star.