« Technique »… No, it’s not an insult or a swear word. Yet it might be one of the most important elements to consider when talking about cinema. And this technique word also appears to create the everlasting Shakespearian debate never solved so far « What is the difference of acting between theatre and cinema ? »… Well, the technique, my dear, the technique. Let’s be clear : by using the word technique we mean all the kind of things you think are not part of your job as an actor… Like lights, sound, camera, how to edit a movie. Are you sure it is not ? Hum…
On a theatre stage, actors demand. Technique follows. On a film set, technique demands and the actors must follow. You are fond of Meryl Streep, Robert de Niro, Cate Blanchett or Martin Freeman ? Good. Why is that ? Oh… Just because their acting is great ? Really ? Nope. It wouldn’t be a good reason enough. Pay more attention and look at it closely. You are fond of them because they are amazing technicians! They know how to tame the light, how to adapt the sound of their voice and deal with their body in the frame, they speak the language of technique. They know when they are shot in a close up, in a master shot, in a tracking shot and so on.
What is an ally in one case – in theatre – glorifying you, can quickly turn into your worse like-in-a-nightmare enemy if you don’t master it properly. On a film set: get interested in technique for without any doubt it will get interested in you.
Yes, sorry to disappoint, but no. No… Streep, De Niro, and many others you think are great are not so heavenly gifted beyond imagination to such a point that the camera just love them and can’t get its focus off them. They make the camera love them. The D.O.P is their best friend on a set and everything is accurate, precisely set and chance is not involved in the all process. It is like a mathematical formula.
Looks boring to you? Well, it shouldn’t. Consider this: technique offers you a pattern, a guideline, a precious foundation to rely on. Talent is nothing without technique.
Bonus time: the whole crew will love you for this. For being a technical actor. They will worship you and you will be their idol. The one person understanding that being rigorous and speaking the same language as them save time and energy for everyone. And by the way, saving time is saving money, isn’t it? (right). So this means you will become the producer’s idol! Life is wonderful!
Yes, mastering technique makes you more professional and this the reason why people want to work with you.
So, ready to shoot?
And always remember: Have fun!
Clémence started her career as an actress, working with stage directors such as Raymond Acquaviva and Philippe Rondest from La Comédie Française and nationwide rewarded directors such as Didier Long. In those early years she very soon experienced stage direction and created her own Theatre Company in 2005. Her company went on several tours with plays by Garcia Lorca, Von Horvath, Strindberg and Wedekind. In the beginning of 2014 Clémence worked on a big theatre production in Paris, London Calling, by and with Philippe Lellouche and is currently teaching for Raindance in Paris. Clémence assists actors in the individual issues linked to their artistic careers: dealing with stress and pressure, the image of the actor and boosting their career.