This week, SFS Co-Director Donna has been leading an Acting for Camera summer workshop with young actors and young filmmakers interested in developing their skills in front of the camera. This is how it’s been going so far:
“I’ve been working with a group of aspiring young actors on developing their technique in performing for camera and for the screen. Many of the group have a real interest and earlier experience in acting, and some are newcomers who are looking for a fresh challenge, so it’s great to work with lots of individuals looking to gain something new. It helps to keep the week really interesting and there is a lovely supportive atmosphere amongst the group with everyone encouraging one another to improve.
We’ve been working on developing skills in characterisation and interpretation, as well as lots of technical elements specific to screen acting: hitting marks, responding to angles and spacing, adjusting expression and dynamics to translate onto film. Next, we’ll be looking at working with scripts and spending some more time working on interpreting a character from the writing. I’m really looking forward to that, I love working with actors to discover new and surprising character details that can help give an original twist to their interpretation of a role.
Overall, it’s been a really interesting week so far, filled with improvisation, devising, script work and an exploration of some of the crew roles that go on behind the camera. My favourite moments have included an impressive child birth improvisation created by 7-9 year olds, both harrowing and a display of serious acting talent, whilst also being completely hilarious… the doctors fail to resuscitate and so decide to bury a patient’s body. Needless to say, I hope I never have to visit their hospital! Other highlights include seeing a huge leap in progress from one of the teenage groups, who with a few notes turned an average, lightly comic scene about a campfire mishap into a really tense, believable, compelling drama just through a few slight improvements to their performances. I was really impressed with how they responded to the notes and how they took their scene into a completely different, much stronger, direction and interpreted their characters so meaningfully.
Still to come this week, we’ll be developing and shooting audition scenes as well as shooting ‘on tape’ audition sides. Although this is probably quite daunting for many of them, I think it will also be a huge confidence booster as it puts them out of their comfort zone – which is often when an actor’s best work can happen. I’m looking forward to seeing how each of the young actors interprets their scene and develops their character. I’ve already witnessed a lot of progress from the group so I’m excited to see where they go next!”
If you’re interested in acting for camera, or developing performance skills, we run regular courses for children and teenagers across London and also for schools. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch at www.studiofilmschool.co.uk.