I get asked this question a lot from actors. “I’m thinking of taking an On Camera class, what do you think?”
Most of the people asking that question are ambitious, beginning actors who are passionate and excited. I don’t want to burst their bubble yet I believe there is a foundation that should be in place first.
When taking an on camera class, be sure you know how to act. Yes, know what you’re doing, how to make choices, how to break down a script, know how to find the arc, the timing, pace, the objective, and intention of a scene. Emotional preparation techniques need to be mastered, a strong and correct point of view, and a solid foundation in place. Then yes, absolutely, take it to the next level and see what it looks like on camera, and then what you can do to take it further.
Many actors take an on camera class too early and they focus all their attention on how they look; their wrinkles, teeth, hair style, what side they photograph better on. It can become about their vanity and not the work. There’s nothing wrong with those views, and yes they are important, but the work underneath needs to be there first.
Don’t rush, focus on the work first, then concern yourself about how it looks. You don’t want to edit your creativity because you’re worrying about how your hair looks. Your instrument needs to be free and uninhibited in its expression as you do this work. I know some teachers will disagree and dispute this, but from my experience in training actors, layering down the foundation levels first has been the most productive process.
That is one reason why at The Actors Workout Studio, actors can’t take an on camera class until their work is at a certain level of proficiency. There are so many classes available for actors to take as they pursue their work. What is very important is to take them in an order that one can build upon another, thus building a solid foundation. With a solid foundation, you can create wonderful organic choices in your house of talent.