One of the biggest problems actors face is the camera. It makes us nervous, shy, and can even hinder our performance. When I did my acting school 2 years ago, I had a lot of opportunities to be in front of the camera, and I am so grateful for it because it’s helped me to forget it.
But it took me a long time to feel comfortable, it made me freeze, and I felt like I was always acting.
Here are a few tips that might help you overcome your fear of the camera:
1. Action Scenes
On my acting school one of the activities we often did was Action Scenes. Now you’re probably thinking of someone being thrust into a daring rescue, using all their physical might to fight off their nemesis while pulling off cool stunt moves … well, these Action Scenes are a little different.
It’s a 6-7 minute filmed scene including two different everyday activities that take up all your attention, for example, folding laundry, packing a suitcase, studying, or getting ready for a date. The aim is to place yourself within a story and have a beginning, middle, and end, including hitting or tapping a wall, taking off or putting on an item of clothing, and reclining or sitting on a bed or floor.
Action Scenes are a one person scene with no dialogue and they shouldn’t have any planned accidents (no phone calls, no miming, stubbing your toe). The purpose of an Action Scene is for you to get used to the idea of doing private activities while being observed.
Usually you’ll need someone to film you, however, if you don’t have someone you can set up a tripod, get familiar with your framing and start recording. Action Scenes are also meant for an audience, but you can still just record it yourself or have someone record it for you.
Another important element is to play it back and watch yourself, I know a lot of people don’t like watching themselves on camera but it gives you feedback and you can pick up on what you look like, did you act natural? Did you notice any ticks you had? What did or didn’t you like? The reason for this is to improve and to get comfortable with doing an activity in front of a camera, the more you do this the better you’ll be a natural in front of the camera.
Vlogging is definitely becoming a trend that a lot of artists are getting into and I would encourage actors to try it out. There are many different types of ideas for a vlog: reviews and reactions, pranks and comedy, beauty and fitness, how to’s and DIY, lifestyle, and travel. All you need is a:
– Camera. Preferably of good quality. However with how technology is going, you can even use your phone.
– Tripod or mini tripod. You can get a good tripod from Amazon, Ebay, or any electronic store.
– Microphone. I recommend the Rode Mic, it’s a little pricey but it’s got quality. Amazon has a great range of different mics, so it’s worth checking them out.
– Good lighting. You can get away with it by natural lighting, however, if you’re doing more of an educational or beauty vlog, lighting can definitely enhance your video quality. LED ring lights and softboxes are great, you can get them in different shapes and sizes and can vary in prices.
– Video editing software. If you vlog on your phone, there’s a lot of awesome editing apps like Quik, Splice, Kinemaster, Adobe Premiere Rush, Imovie and Inshot, the great things about all these is they’re free. If your editing on your computer or laptop you can edit in Premiere Pro or Davinci Resolve (it’s free).
Vlogging is a fun way to express yourself and get used to talking and interacting with the camera, you get to put yourself out there, and the cool thing about it is you can do as many takes as you want!
3. Practice, practice, practice!
The only way to improve and to feel confident in front of the camera is to practice over and over. At first, you may feel stupid, but the more you get yourself in front of the camera the less nervous and shy you’ll be. If you fail, know that it’s okay, learning and growing is part of the process so don’t be afraid to fail. I’ve failed and messed up my lines because of how anxious the camera made me feel. However, attending acting workshops, being in multiple short films, practicing action scenes, going to auditions and being on set has made me feel a lot more comfortable in front of the camera. Not to say I don’t get nervous at all because I still do, but doing all of these things has built my confidence and it doesn’t intimidate me as much as it used to.
So find free time and set up a camera, practice a scene in front of the mirror, practice what you’re going to say out loud, practice with a friend or family member and let them be your audience, do a lot of takes, make mistakes, and learn from them. Don’t make it boring for yourself, make it fun and be as creative as you want!