Co-founder of Training Sideways. Actor – Film & Theatre. Former senior IT professional.
So you love films? Nice! Lovely to the senses, aural, visual and yes gastronomical, this experience. The willful transportation into the illusory world , where the reel makes you realize the Freudian apparitions of the life that could be. And even the whole experience of watching the film in luxury, the pampering , the dreamy dark side, almost the Hogwarts platform 9 3/4!
And your friend loves the theatre. The adrenalin, the rawness of the primordial. the brutal soul quenching , 30 ft away. Often at rickety stages, insect filled seats, and oxymoronic audiences. The sweat of the real.
Now here I am, a victim and a perpetrator of both art forms. The theatre and the filmy world. Which is tougher? Does one help the other? Is one the natural step next of the other? Why do I not agree with the stereotypes? These are strictly my views, lead actors and non-character artists in films may have differing views.
“Oh theatre is tougher!” Disagree! Now before one does a play, one usually rehearses quite a bit. Hence chances of going wrong on stage is pretty low unless your brain got reformatted just before show. And the biggest advantage, the audiences don’t know the lines, so as long as you are in character, you can spout out anything, and carry on. And most important, unlike films, your scenes are linear, you have a flow, you have the action reaction situation and hence you slowly evolve your character! In film, as a character actor, I get to know my scene THAT moment! How do I BUILD character in an instant? I don’t even know where the story or my character is headed! And here I am shooting the scene where my mother in law died , which is the LAST scene of the film and 2 months later , I shoot the scene where I first met her daughter! And I must remember to maintain the same hair, weight, or may have to sport a beard suddenly or lose one, maintain the continuity of props I handle! Phew!
“Films are easier, theatre has no retakes”! Which is precisely why films are damn tough! In theatre, I make a mistake, no one can stop me, not even the director! I just carry on the way I want, knowing that no one can stop me! In a film, I am constantly thinking whether the cameraman will find a fault, the director, AD, AD1, AD2, lights guy, co-actor. Constantly under scrutiny, knowing that unless I get it right, the director won’t say ‘move on’!
“If you are from theatre, films are easy”
Well, getting lines alone maybe! In film, one is supposed to emote to camera, the camera should approve the emotion, expression, move, no one cares whether you FELT that scene right!
And in theatre, unless YOU feel right, it just doesn’t come out right for the audience!
And many things one is taught in theatre is better un-learnt when one acts on camera! In fact I feel its probably tougher for a theatre guy to act right in films barring exceptions.
Why do I do both? Hmmm, film is my rich girlfriend! Lots of fun, she will fund me and get me notoriety/popularity. You are as good as your last GF and the world would talk about this affair :) Theatre is my traditional wife. Sometimes it’s a grind, lots of hard work, not many audiences, not as exciting. Funding, well I would probably fund her and me and I need to maintain a relationship with the entire extended family. And no one cares talking about it.
But maybe, just maybe, the fruits of success in a marriage is worth celebrating more! Or is it ?!?!