An acting career comes under the heading of performing arts. Performing arts is described as forms of creative art in which the artists perform in front of audiences and use their bodies, voices, or objects to show artistic expression. Some examples include singing, dancing, and acting. Brooke Horan Williams has been doing theater since she was 6 years ago, and in this article, she talks about the primary differences between theater acting and screen acting.
While performing in films and television may seem effortless, Brooke Williams says, it’s a lot different than performing live in front of a theater. One of the biggest differences between screen acting and stage acting is that in the theater, the audience is farther away from the stage. When acting for films and television, the camera is much closer and can capture many more facial expressions. Because of this close-up perspective, she says, actors on film and television need to have more controlled movement and completely natural gestures since every expression can be seen. Stage actors, on the other hand, need to exaggerate their gestures, facial expressions, and movements so they can be seen from all areas of the audience.
Another big difference, says Brooke Horan Williams, is that stage actors don’t have the ability to fix their mistakes. With screen acting, directors can stop the action at any time and ask to have a scene repeated. This is not the case in theater acting in front of a live audience where the actors have only one opportunity to get it right. In fact, this is another skill a stage actor needs to have: the ability to improvise on a moment’s notice. Brooke Horan Williams says that many times things will go wrong when performing onstage in front of an audience. At that point, the actors need to continue in character, just as if nothing is wrong. This requires quick thinking on their feet and the ability to just keep going. Some things that happen, Brooke Horan Williams explains, are things like wardrobe malfunctions, set props falling over, or forgotten lines. “It happens all the time,” she explains, “and we just work it right into the play as if it were a part of the script.”
It probably goes without saying that successful actors must be able to act. Whether self-trained or a graduate of a drama school, actors must be able to portray believable characters in a manner that connects with the audience. Brooke Horan Williams says one of the major differences that most people don’t consider is the difference in preparation time for actors. For example, with screen acting, the set is often busy and the pace extremely active. The actors may be expected to learn a new set of lines on a moment’s notice or perform any scene out of order due to budget concerns, staffing issues, or inclement weather. For these reasons, screen actors are expected to come to set ready to work. On the other hand, Brooke explains, the pace for stage actors is a lot slower. Actors are allowed time to practice and often learn most of their scripts during rehearsals. By the time they perform publicly, they have practiced many times.
Some of the best actors are able to transition easily between the two venues, she adds, since many of the same skills are needed. However, knowing the differences between the two is necessary to help prepare the actor for a successful career.
Brooke Horan Williams has been involved with theatre as long as she can remember. At the age of six, Brooke Horan Williams starred in her first school play as Snow White, and ever since, she’s been passionate about the stage.
After graduating from college, Brooke Horan Williams began her career in stage management, pursuing her passion as soon as she was able. Brooke Horan Williams’ love of acting translates to her hobbies, as she spends most of her free time taking in films and television. Brooke Horan Williams is proud to be involved with her local theatre and has recently started auditioning for film and television.