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From one stage to the next: Stage vs. on-screen acting

February 27, 2015
Acting Tips

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There’s a huge difference between acting for a stage play and filming for a movie or a television show. Making the move from one stage to the other will require some adjustment. How is the stage different from the screen? Here are some points to help you out when making that transition and how to deal with it:

Audience location

Obviously, you’re closer to your audience at a stage play. They can be a hundred feet away or right in front of you depending on where the stage is. On-screen acting has a larger audience—all people with television sets or access to movie theater, can be potential audience members.


Stage plays are familiar; do you know how many times Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been done by different companies? In theater acting, you have to act how the audience expects you to. It’s different on-screen because the material is unique and the only thing people will expect from you is to develop the character into a real person.

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Voice and movement

On stage, you have to use movement and gestures to convey emotion so that even the people from the farthest corner of the theater can feel and see you playing your role. TV or movie actors don’t need grand gestures to express their emotions because they have background music and other cinematic effects to augment their performance. However, voice and movement should be appropriate both on-screen and on stage.

Hi, I’m Louis P. Habash and I’ve been a musical actor for a long time. Follow me on Twitter for more acting tips for the stage and for film.


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