Acting Methodologies in Cinema and Comparison with Theatre Acting

Acting has been a passion for many and a love for millions. Did you ever see your favorite actor on the big screen and thought of becoming like him/her? Have you ever wanted the fame and recognition that the actors have to be entitled to your talent as well?  Artists have been trying their best to create new things as a part of their audience’s entertainment and to make history in their acting career. Through time there have been many formations of the acting method that helps an actor to learn different acting styles and to deal with it.

Popular Acting Methodology

There have been many acting methods that have been adopted and been taught in drama schools or acting agencies. There is a whole lot of creative methods through which you can learn acting in an efficient manner.

Stanislavski’s Method

If you are passionate about acting, you must have heard the name Konstantin Stanislavski. This technique by Stanislavski is the most accepted technique of acting in the world. It is based on the idea that an actor must feel the emotions of the character from within and act how he would if he was the character. It mentions that an actor should behave, sing, and act just like the character would do in reality. It is like becoming one with the character and reacting to how a character would be in a particular situation. It can be done by telling the actor to put himself in the situation of the character, totally forgetting about the audience.

Laban Movement

This movement is considered as an important part of acting. It mentions that every action has a different movement. You won’t handle a baby like you handle a gun. Laban’s aim was to examine all the movements of a human and categorize those under four divisions: body, efforts, shape, and space. It focuses on understanding the different relations between all four of them as a performer. It means to conceptualize and understand how the body works internally, what is the intention of the movement, the changes in the body due to the movement and how the body reacts to the situation at hand.

Meisner’s Technique

Stanford Meisner believed in the concept of improvisation and how you condition yourself for it. He thought of expanding the visualization of an actor from just enacting the scenes and delivering the dialogue, to actually processing the characters thought and next movement. When you learn this technique, you will be required to do various improvisation depending on the situation. This will help you strengthen your emotional responses and interpreting the script. This will help the actors to think and work their way in case something unpredictable happens.

Michael Chekhov’s Technique

Michael Chekhov’s used Stanislavski’s method to create his very own remarkable technique. In this method, you are taught to completely become the character. The main idea of this technique is to let go of your inner self, your being, diminishing the ego, the ways of your life and bring yourself to total nothingness. This technique is all about letting go of everything where you enter a space where only the character you are playing exists.

 Method Acting

This acting technique created by Lee Strasberg which teaches the importance of practicing how to connect to a character based on its emotion and the memories it has. This can be done with few practices and exercises along with the practice of affective memory and sense memory.  This type of acting is widely accepted by the American actors that you see on the big screen.

Practical Aesthetics Acting Technique

The method created by David Mamet and William H. Macy breaks down a particular scene into four elements. Firstly the Literal analysis explains what exactly is happening in the scene. The second is the Want analysis where you analyze what a character wants the other people to do. Next is Essential Action which gives us the analysis of what the actor wants in the particular scene in order to portray the character. Lastly, the “As If” analysis which relates the actor to the character as if it’s his own.

These were the most widely used acting methodology that can help you to become a better actor on screen. There have been many innovations to come up with some effective techniques and methods to help the actor perform in a professional way.

Comparison between Film and Theater Acting

Many people confuse the actions you do in theatre with the one you do in the cinema. Even though the acting in both cases has a lot of similarities but still there are these specific differences that you must keep in mind while performing for either of these scenarios.

Voice and Diction

A big difference between theatre and film is the distance with the audience. In cinema, you have the mic and the people you are talking to at a very less distance. In this case, you are not conversing with any of your audience. But in theatres, your audience is listening to you while you are speaking and mic may not give such a clear diction or a solid voice. While you are shooting for a film, you can have your retakes done even if you slur while speaking, but in theatres, being live, you cannot afford to do so.


Stage acting happens live and performances are done in real-time. The stage actors spend a lot of time practicing the characters but regardless of all this, they must be quick with it as well. They need to be prepared for any mishappening on the stage and be able to improvise accordingly. Whereas in films, actors have the ease to cut the scene, take a look at the script, and have multiple retakes. But since cinema is not in real-time, scenes are not recorded in order and there may be a time when an actor has to be extremely happy in one scene and cry his eyes out in the very next scene.

Body Language

Body language does a lot of explaining the dialogues cannot. We all know that in theaters that the actors need to exaggerate their actions as well as expressions for the whole of the theatre to see what is happening. But in movies, cameras are there to do the work of close-up to let the audience know about the character’s action. The bigger the space covered, the more exaggerated the actions become.


The directors of theater acting spend days directing the actors on how to develop and perform the characters they are playing. They help them break down the scene and give feedback after the rehearsal. The director is the critique and helps the actor to perform professionally. On the other hand, film directors do not direct the actors but they direct the scenes. Many times the cast doesn’t even see the director until the day of the shoot. Filmmakers don’t have too much amount of time that they can spend to go through the same scenes again and again. A film director is a person who does not need too much teaching.

Acting is a skillful job that needs some great talent and a lot of hard work. Be it cinema acting or the acting done in the theaters, both of them require their own special techniques. Both the fields of acting are considered as difficult tasks but ensures immense success to the ones who master them.

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