Acting for the Camera – On Set

A majority of my first post on acting for the camera dealt with preparations the actor makes in order to find work. For the purposes of today’s post, imagine that you’ve landed the role. What do directors and producers expect of you throughout the production process?

  1. A Strong Work Ethic – Whether you are getting paid for your time or you are donating your talents for the experience, you need to demonstrate an eagerness for the project. This includes: a) Arriving on time for all rehearsals and shooting dates, b) Memorizing your lines, c) Remaining courteous to everyone involved, d) Being mature and professional. We’ve all seen those “behind-the-scenes” documentaries of actors joking around on set. There’s certainly a place for that, but don’t let it hinder the process of filmmaking.
  2. A Willingness to Listen – When the director critiques your performance, don’t get defensive. Listen and acknowledge that direction. Don’t make excuses. Don’t tell the director why he/she is wrong. Effective communication begins with listening.
  3. A Willingness to Collaborate – As a director, I enjoy getting input from my actors. I expect them to come to the project with their own ideas and suggestions. I realize that not every idea fits with my vision, but I also know that some suggestions will make the film better. I welcome that creative collaboration. As an actor, you need to study the material. Be prepared to offer your opinions. It shows the director that you care about making the best film possible.

The process of filmmaking is extremely demanding, yet extremely rewarding. Being professional, courteous, and hard-working will go a long way toward landing you that next acting job.

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