ACTING SCHOOLS: The Language of Acting

When you show up on your first big movie set make sure you know the language. “Back to one”, “holding”, “background”, are all terms you will hear on a movie set, television studio or theatre stage. Don’t let these be a foreign language to you. These and more do’s and don’ts can be learned in acting school.

Most of us are familiar with the callouts “action” and “cut” but do you know the difference between a prop and set dressing? Is it important? Some language is necessary to know in advance if for no other reason than to make you more comfortable in your acting role. If you feel like everyone is using a foreign language your anxiety level will rise and you won’t give your best performance.

Learning at an acting school takes on more than just text book knowledge. You can learn on-set etiquette, like is it okay to bring your friends with you on your first day? What does a first AD do? And why do they always want to know where you are? Can’t you even go to the bathroom without reporting? NO! All these silly things are the language of working on a movie set, TV studio or theatre. Although in theatre a stage manager is the one who wants to know where you are at all times.

Much of this will be taught in acting school not through a text book but through real life experiences as your class rehearses. Instructors frequently come from the industry so their antidotal stories are worth their weight in gold. They can give you the low-down on what really happens when an actress shows up two hours late.

Besides learning all the official languages of being a working actor, you can learn in acting school some of the unofficial tricks of the trade. Like why you should learn to be friends with the cinematographer. Why you should bring coffee to the make-up girl? Why you never eat a heavy lunch…even if it is free?

Tricks of the trade and the foreign language of show biz can all be learned in acting school. And you thought all you had to do was memorize lines.

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