Article: WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM ACTING IN A CLOSE UP

Article: WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM ACTING IN A CLOSE UP

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By Gayla Goehl

Let’s talk about why it’s so important that while I teach classes @ The Playground Professional I framed in a Close Up during my filming.

First two definitions.

Close-up: (CU) Camera term for a tight shot of the shoulder and face of the actor.

Sub-Text: The personal thoughts of the character that the actor is thinking.

In this picture you can see that the young girl playing the role of ‘Alex’ is sitting on her mark on the couch and that she is framed in a close up. She is talking to two fellow students who are playing the roles of her parents. You will also see that the other students are able to watch the entire scene on the TV monitor in the classroom. The scenario for the scene is that her parents are telling her that they are getting a divorce and the Father is moving out tonight.

ZoomIn

Every student in class that day had the opportunity to play the role of ‘Alex’. They made an entrance, hit their mark, and said their lines. However, it was the thinking and emotional responses of the actor portraying ‘Alex’ that I am looking for.

In a close up, we are so tight on the actors face that if the actor is thinking thoughts that the character of ‘Alex’ would be thinking, then we will be able to see it on the monitor. These thoughts are called Sub-text. Thoughts such as: What is happening? Why is Mom crying? Did Dad just say they are getting a divorce? Where am I going to live? However, if the actor is thinking his or her own personal thoughts such as: What’s my next line? We will be able to see that on the monitor as well. Acting isn’t just saying lines; it is when we are able to see the personal inner thoughts of the character as well.

So in class, everyone get a chance to act out the role. I shoot the performances all in a tight Close-Up. Then the classes gets to watch them all back. Each student gets to really see ‘up close’ how his or her thoughts traveled through the camera lens. As if we could almost hear their thoughts.