Hey, coffee lovers! For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been active in both filmwork and theatre acting for many years. I think I’m finally at a point where I understand both, maybe not completely, but enough to have an opinion on which I feel is better. My standpoint is a bit different from others, since I am speaking from an actor’s view, but here it is!
I feel as though theatre holds a special place in my heart, it’s how I found myself. That’s not to say that filmwork hasn’t changed me in unique ways, but theatre has had a lasting impact on who I am as a person. I was introduced to live theatre at a young age, so I’ve grown up with the art. I didn’t begin filmwork until late elementary school/middle school, which means I haven’t had as much time to find myself in it. Nevertheless, I’ve had experiences that I will never forget.
I do find myself drawn to live theatre though, in the sense that I think that’s how I want to spend the rest of my life. There’s just such a special connection that you make with the audience when acting live that can’t be achieved through the screen. You feel this indescribable wave of happiness when seeing the audience’s emotions play out in front of you. And from someone who sits in that audience frequently, it’s amazing to see others telling a story right before your eyes. There’s really nothing like it.
The downside of theatre is that it’s very temporary. You do a production and when it’s over, it’s over. The set is taken down and only the memories remain. A film is a physical thing that you can have forever. You can watch and rewatch the story over and over, and it will always be the same. There are no goodbyes, you get to relive the moments forever. But, leaving a play can be good. You learn to value each performance and treat every one like opening night. But, if you mess up, that’s final. There are no reshots or makeups, and you put pressure on yourself to give every audience member a perfect performance.
From a very acting perspective, when doing a film scene you don’t have to make a big show of your emotions. The camera catches everything, so you can focus more on feeling the emotions your character is feeling. Transitioning from live theatre to film made it much harder for me to tone down my actions, but I’ve really become more empathetic and conscious of my acting from filmwork. When doing a play you have to ensure your audiences know your emotions, and in turn sometimes you wrongly forget to feel them as well
But, theatre has more to offer behind the production. You grow as a family with the people you work with because you all count on each other completely. When on a film set, you’re not necessarily as close with the people you work with. On and off stage I’ve met some of the kindest people who were not doing theatre for money, but for the art itself. Now that’s not to say that I haven’t met extremely amazing people through film, it’s just a different vibe you get when around theatre actors. Onstage you’re vulnerable, and you have to open yourself up to the audience and your fellow castmates.
So, those are my thoughts on theatre vs. filmwork. I’d love to know what you think, do you have a preference? Until next time, grab a coffee and enjoy theatre and film!