Acting is so easy it’s really very difficult! The easy part is all you have to do is be yourself, the hard part is being yourself and NOT acting as someone else. To the non-Actor this may sound strange, but I’m sure all actors know exactly what I’m talking about. This applies to both theater acting and on camera acting, though in very different ways.
In Theater acting, you need to project yourself, your voice, your emotions, your gestures. This makes sense when you think about it because you are perorming from a stage set apart from what can be a very good sized audience, and subtilty will not traverse the space to reach and effect your audience. The voice needs to enunciate clearly and project a normal speaking tone with enough volume to fill the space. Your emotions need to be big enough for the audience to see, else they will not effect the audience in the way they are meant to. And small gestures are lost to any but perhaps the first row or two, so they must be grand enough for the entire audience to see and understand with clarity.
On Camera, the world is completely different, because, THE CAMERA SEE’S ALL! Your audience isn’t spread out in a theater, but is quite literally feet or inches from your faceds. Where theater actors need to project their voices loudly, on camera actors need to speak in a normal speaking voice, as if conversing with a friend or foe occupaying a space within a few feet of them. Emotions and gestures were the most difficult transition for me because instead of using large, grand gestures to protray your thoughts and emotions, you NEED to do ALMOST NOTHING for the camera to appear authentic and real. Subtle movements seem large, and most if not all of your emotion is express through your eyes only.
Another difference between live theater and on camera work is that in the theater all lighting and support equipment is hidden out of sigjht so as to preserve the fantasy of reality on the stage. Actors freely intereact with each other and the audiences without a host of equipment on the stage.
Contrasted to that is film work, when oftentimes the camera will be positioned within a few inches of your face, and there will be 10 or 20 technicians and support people walking around directly in your line of sight, To the on camera actor all the equipment and people cannot exist as you perform your scene as though none of it existed. And whatever you do, NEVER look into the camera, which can be difficult when the camera is positioned where your line of sight would normally go.
Though I’ve come to prefer the on camera side of the business, both on camera and live theater are so much fun it cannot be described to a non-Actor. It is also a god awful amount of hard work that cannot be appreciated by the non-Actor.
So why do we do it? Because we LOVE it!