Acting For the Camera – Class Curriculum
The Advanced on Camera Class is a comprehensive, step by step course to develop the skills today’s actors need to work in the fast paced world of Film & Television. Like all of our classes we believe strongly in building a base of solid fundamentals in both acting and camera technique. Each week of this 8 week course builds on the skills developed in the previous weeks. This class has two teachers: Penny Templeton acts as your on set Coach, working on your acting choices in each scene. Hank Schob is your Director and Technical Director both teaching camera technique and also directing all of the scenes. In each class, Scenes are blocked for the the camera shots, Marks are given to actors, the scene is given a dress rehearsal for the cameras and then notes are given. Each scene is then shot using 2 cameras with live editing for playback and the end of each class for final critique. Each week the actors are assigned a new scene that they must have fully structured and memorized and prepared for filming. All the scenes are double cast so the actors get to see other actors making different choices with their roles.
Week 1 – An Overview of Camera Technique: During this class we get to know one another. The class starts with Penny interviewing the actors. This is followed by a “demonstration lecture” on Camera Technique by Hank Schob. He gets the actors on set and demonstrates different camera shots and the techniques the great actors use to get the most out of every shot. The last part of this class is putting these new camera skills to use as the actors are filmed doing the short scenes they have been given to prepare. All of the following classes expand and build on the foundation laid in this first class.
Week 2 – Cars and Bars: The scenes for this week are all set in either Cars or Bars. There are only so many places cameras can be set to shoot scenes in these confined spaces. This teaches actors to begin anticipating how scenes might be shot, which then allows them to begin to plan their performances and use of the camera in much greater detail, including eye line and focus.
Week 3 – Specific Techniques ; Continuity, Eye line, Props, Eating & Drinking: For week 3 the actors are all given the same 3 short scenes. These scenes are used to develop a knowledge of the importance of Continuity in film making as well as learning how to use props including food & drink to emphasize the acting of the scenes. One scene is used exclusively to develop the awareness of the importance of the actor’s eye-line and focus. Many an actor’s best work has ended up on the cutting room floor because the continuity did not match up or the “Eye-Line” was wrong. This class is taught by Hank Schob.
Week 4 – Piggy Backs: The “PiggyBack” is one of the most important shots in all of film and television and also one of the hardest for actors new to the medium to get comfortable with. All of the scenes contain a at least 1 Piggyback shot for the actors. The actors both learn the technical skills necessary to master this shot and the reasons these shots are used. This in turn affects the acting choices the actor makes in preparing the scene.
Week 5 – Audition Technique: Penny Templeton teaches this class on Auditioning for Film. The actors take turns playing Casting Director, Producer, Writer, etc as the actors each audition on-camera for that scary group of strangers on the other side of “the table”. In this class the actors learn how to maximize their acting skills and their use of their camera skills to look like the star they need to be to book the job.
Week 6 – Green Screen:
With more and more films relying on special effects, Green Screen and CGI is important for actor to know what is required on both acting side and technical side to make these scenes work. . Hitting your marks and using substitutions to really “SEE” objects and the world around you, when all you really see is the camera crew, is really important in this class. Scenes are shot in “Outer Space”, “On top of Buildings” and other exotic locations — Aactually they are shot in our studio in front of our Green Screen. These scenes are then edited together for playback on the movie screen the following week.
Week 7 – Block, Dress, Tape: In this class each pair of actors are given a carefully chosen longer and more complex scene. These scenes are then blocked for camera, given a dress rehearsal, reviewed with notes from Penny and Hank and then taped. This allows the actors to go home and refine their performances for a few days before the final class using the knowledge gained by watching the final playback and notes from Penny & Hank.
Week 8 – Final Exam: For this class we bring in a leading Industry Professional to give a final critique of your work. This may be a Casting Director, Agent or Manager. They are brought in to give the actors an honest critique and assessment of the level of their work. The class starts with a Q&A with the guest, followed by a Dress Rehearsal (on-camera) of the scenes from week 7. Our guest teacher then gives notes and the scenes are recorded*. All of the scenes are played back on the movie screen for one last final critique .
* Final week scenes are recorded in HD by both cameras. This raw footage in edited into a high quality wide-screen video file.