Saturday, September 17, 2011

The A+ Paper

So...I guess it's a good paper. I mean, there were no corrections from the professor for grammar, apa formatting, or anything like that. SO for their standards, yes, it is a good paper.

For me though, IDK, it just feels like it is lacking. It feels...clinical. There is not a whole lot of feeling in it - perhaps that is what they want. A clinical paper with no emotion.

SO if that's what they want, guess they got it. Anyhow, this is the last assignment for this class. Next week I start English Composition 2. With a different instructor. I am hoping that she is more realistic and not clouded by swirls of APA formatting. But we'll see...

Stage and Screen
Lisa Marie Smith
ENG 121
Professor Anna Morrison
September 11, 2011

The art of acting has been around since the dawn of time. Humans would use play acting as a way of entertainment, much like watching a sporting match or a duel, in early years. Watching a play or a movie allows you to forget, just for a few hours, the drama of your own life and causes you to enter in to a glimpse of a world unknown, until it unfolds before your eyes. As you sit there watching this 2 hour world, all you ever see is what the producers want you to see – the finished product. You rarely ever see what goes into making the production. Acting is acting, right? Interestingly enough, it is not. The acting that takes place on a stage is very different than the acting you see in a movie. Similarities are apparent, but differences such as time, performance runs, line memorization, and cast bonding, may not be known to the typical observer. Exploring these differences, perhaps, will give you a greater appreciation for it the next time you see it.
In any production project, one of the first key issues to be concerned with is time. How long will it take to put the final product together? We hear about movies being produced, but often times, it is a year or two before the actual finished product comes out. Many factors affect the movie making industry: budget, location, approval from the production companies, editing, and ensuring you have secured the talent and made all the agreeable monetary deals. For a movie, it is a one to two year process from start to finish, on average. As an actor in a film, you potentially will be playing a character for 2 years before you see the results. However, this does allow you to do other roles as well, in other films. In a stage production, on the other hand, you will have maybe two months, maybe. From auditions to the actual opening night, there are many productions that are put together in one to two months’ time. You must learn your character and your lines in a very short period of time, and have the part ready to go in two months. Everything must be ready in that time. The sets, the marketing, the budget – there is no time to sit and wait. Generally, as an actor in a stage show, you have time to devote to one show at a time. Overlapping shows cause much difficulty since you literally can only be in one place at a time. What many actors will do if they want to overlap shows is to take a starring role in one show, and then a lesser part in another, so they can devote the majority of the time to the show they are starring in. And hope that the show dates are not the same!
Most stage shows run longer than one night. Generally, you will see a show run for two weeks’ time. What that means, as an actor you will be performing the finished product on stage, many times over. Audiences will come to see you perform this show as if it was the first time it has ever been done. The difficulty here is that after a two month rehearsal process, you now have two weeks of performing where people are expecting a perfect finished product. And you have to deliver, every time. In movies, once the final cut is made and printed, that is it. What the audience sees is the perfection – the way it was intended to be. And if they choose to watch it again, they are watching the same finished product over and over. There is not stress on the actors to make it perfect night after night. The beauty of film is the fact it is on film, and can be repeated many times over and over, and it will always be the same. The pressure of perfection on the actors happens once, as opposed to nightly with stage actors.
Pressure in performing comes from many aspects. One of the greatest is the memorization of lines. In a stage show, there is no question, lines must be memorized. You can’t be on stage holding a script, or reading cue cards. You “are” the character. You want the audience to believe what is going on – that all the dialogue is real. This is impossible with a script in your hand, or if you are forgetting lines. This pressure is lessened in a film environment, where many times, you don’t see a piece of the script you are filming until the day of. So you review it, get a general idea of the dialogue, but if a line is flubbed, or if it is not said right, they do “takes”, where they reshoot the scene. Sometimes a scene can have many takes. Many redo’s, until it is right. Once you are performing on stage, you have that moment to get it right – there is no redo.
Many actors will tell you that the greatest benefit in acting is getting to know and work with so many talented people. In a stage show, you are thrown in with a group of people to immediately become close in intimate surroundings…the feeling of family takes over quickly because these people on stage with you support you, and you support them. If one fails, the whole show fails. There is an extreme bonding that takes place in stage shows with the cast. In film, it is a bit different. You may only ever work with one other cast member the entire time you are filming. So while you may get close to one or two people, becoming involved to the rest of the cast is harder. You are not in every scene most of the time, so the opportunity to get to know others is limited.
Being involved in a production, whether live on stage or in a film is a pleasure that many only experience from the audience perspective. It is a limited perspective, since you only ever see the final product. While the similarities are apparent, understanding the differences of time, performance runs, line memorization, and cast bonding, may help you have a greater appreciation for each the next time you watch a film or see a performance.