As soon I started to make films I was always warned about theater actors and actresses. Not in the way you might think. I remember being told that theater actors don't want to have anything to do with film...
ARE YOU CRAZY?
...was my first thought. There are very few jobs for theater actors that pay anything substantial. 85% of all acting jobs are through film. It just didn't make sense to me.
Going through the years in the film program I've discovered a few different perspectives.
I can validate why some theater professors don't want their students in short films. Its simple. Directors do not know how to direct actors. This, however is only true at the beginning of their careers. By their third year you can start to see who really takes their directing seriously. I would make the argument with the theater also. You can start to see who is going places. So my solution to this would be to: GROW TOGETHER.
If you don't want to be involved the first two years I would suggest to immerse yourself in the opposite department in the last two years.
Now here I am saying these things about how the departments never come together. This is not true. It happens. But it should happen a lot more. I've worked with production designers and actors from the theater world. It's great. However, I have to point out that these team ups were voluntary and were the product of those people putting themselves out there.
The theater is a place to grow and a place to be around other actors which helps greatly. However, I know actors in the theater that have never been in a play that are now in their last year. And these actors are TRYING to work. They audition and make an effort. This is where I have to point out the opportunity of film. WE WOULD LOVE TO CAST YOU. Really. We would. If you can find a decent script and learn to director-proof yourself well enough then jump onto the project. And then keep your eye out for the good directors.
I have worked with many actors film and theater. I love them both. When I look to cast I look at the work that I have seen, I look to both.
Now for the fun part.
NEVER say that one is better than the other. They are not the same and should not be treated as such. A great theater actor could be horrible on camera or vice versa. Richard Dreyfuss had a horrible time in the first act of a play he did and do you know why? He couldn't project his voice. He was ineffective. He learned to do it...on the spot I might add...and killed in the rest of the play. He GREW. And I think that is what people are mistaking. They have conquered one medium so the transition to the other should be painless. Don't be fooled.
When a PRODUCER emails you about AUDITIONING do one thing even if you can't make it. REPLY. Do it swiftly. It makes our lives easier and if we have to wait to the last minute to cancel your audition it can really irk us. And if we have to hear back from a third party that has nothing to do with the film that you can't make it...then I'm sorry, you are probably not going to get the chance again.
And never say that you don't have enough to work with in an audition. It's not our fault. We know. We hate it too. It's how auditions go. And I would definitely not say that when the last five people were amazing.
All in all I would love for a closer world between theater and film. Comment. Let me know what you think. I'll follow up.
Till next time