Lecture: Appearing natural is hard: Narrator: Listen to a part of a lecture in an acting class. Professor: I think I knew I was a film actor before entering academia. When I was launching my acting career, I auditioned for this talent agent, someone, you know, who helps actors find work. For the audition, I used a powerful monologue about a man who lived in the same small town his whole life with dreams of seeing the world. When I finished, the agent said, "That's not acting. That's just you being you." It's just you being you. I felt like crawling under a rock. But years later, it dawned on me. This was the greatest compliment I could have gotten, even from an agent who was too naive to represent me. My quote mistake was my natural acting. But this is the goal for all actors, portraying another person while still appearing natural. I never want my audience to think, "Hey! He's acting really well." It's better that they forget I'm acting at all. Appearing natural is hard. You must prepare for your role by knowing your character thoroughly and then using your intuition to make the most interesting or surprising choices, choices that entertain your audience while maintaining your character's integrity. Now, this kind of preparation will constitute the bulk of our class work. But keep in mind that your final delivery, the performance itself, will depend on whether it's for stage or film. Because acting natural on stage is quite a different task from acting natural for the camera. One difference is, okay, on stage, larger than life performances are often necessary to appear realistic. If your delivery is too subtle, the audience won't even see the nuances. Vocally, well, you won't always be wearing a microphone. But in film, you don't need to always project your voice or use your whole body to look natural. The camera might be just a few meters from your face and your face could be ten meters tall on the movie screen so you don't have to do much to make a big impact. Same holds true for the microphone. It may be a meter away from your mouth so you can whisper and still be easily heard. Also, film actors perform in short spurts often lasting a few minutes or less. Things aren't necessarily shot in chronological order and may be reshot several times in several takes at the director's discretion. Yes, it's challenging to give a natural performance in such unnatural situations. But on the other hand, the film editor can greatly enhance your performance by combining only the stronger parts from several takes and cutting out the weaker parts. Ultimately, the effect we have on the film audience is largely determined by how the editor pieces the film together. On stage, there are no editors to compensate for any weaknesses. You can't go back and redo a scene even if doesn't go well. We're often performing with full concentration for two or three hours at a stretch. And since we're repeating our performance multiple times, we also need to vary our performance slightly from night to night on the spot to adapt to the mood, to the unique responses of each audience.