Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/Movies (Films) v/s Dramas (Plays).


QUESTION: Dear Taylor

which according to you for an artist is a more challenging role to portrait i.e In Movies  or Plays (Dramas) ?.

Is it not always the Plays or Dramas because In Plays (Dramas), the artist has to perform live before the audience ?

Example :

There is a Movie "Romeo and Juliet" - 2 hours duration.
There is also a Play "Romeo and Juliet" - 2 hours duration.

Now the artist who has portrait the role of Romeo in both is common. i.e Same Artist has acted in both the Movie as well as
in the Drama.

Is it possible that An Artist who is acting in both Movies as well as in Plays may or may not be successful in one of them ?
i.e. Audience have appreciated his/her acting skills in Movies but not in Plays or vice versa.

if that is the above case what could be the reasons ?. Script,
Co stars, Direction, Music, Environment etc

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Hi Prashant,

This is a difficult question to answer, as it seems like a multiple question.

Theater acting and film acting are both difficult in their own ways. (I will answer to that in a moment)

As to respect and credibility, Theater has always been seen as more noble and respected. Hollywood worships (British) stage actors almost like Gods. Many Hollywood actors, in fact, go to stage, even if they never performed there before, just to gain respectability, and for a lesser known reason: MONEY. Not big sums of money like a film would bring, but there aren't always films for actors, and some actor forget to budget their money in between films and NEED the money to get by. Some actors run out of their new fame and find themselves unhired, and yet their name will draw a crowd to a theater...and the ticket office.

In movies, an actor must be able to feel the emotions they are portraying because the camera sees everything! On stage, no one is that close to you that you can't fake it if you are having a bad night or lost someone, or whatever. If the camera catches you being "dishonest" for one moment, you are nailed! On camers, usually your voice and gestures have to be natural or look natural, even when it's hot, cold, whatever. In the theater its warm or cooled, it's not the 10th hour on set of a 14 hour workday. On stage you are NOT using natural voices, but louder and your gestures are exaggerated to reach the back seat audience member's eyes. Which is often easier. On a film, you may be in a remote place, in not great hotels or rooms. In plays, like in New York, you are either at home or a 5 star hotel with room service.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Yes drama gets more respect, but film actor deserve respect too.

Thank you, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Michael Caine,....and on.

Best, Taylor

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Taylor

Thank you.

Do you agree on this point mentioned below ?

In Dramas (Plays), since there is a live performance on the stage before the audience, if specific dialogue lines are not able to recollect by the artist, this can cause a problem during the live stage show, while in movies (films), there is a liberty given to the artists to retake shots if the director do not find it convincing. This could be a major advantage to artists performing in movies over stage dramas ?

Do the above problem can be solved by rehearsals in stage shows ?

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Hello again, Prashant,

Yes, in film a scene can be repeated again and again until the lines, the action and any other technical or artistic goals are achieved. Sometimes even a flawed "Take" is used because something remarkable happened and it could not recaptured.

The rehearsal of lines, or "running lines" and memorization of the role (not just the lines, but the entire situation, including movements, or "blocking" is critical to an actor in a production. One of my best coaches taught me how to learn the lines and movement to learn the part. It works well, but has one major flaw: If you CHANGE the movement, or blocking, the actor often "loses" his lines. Why? Because the words are tied to specific movement.

Learning the words in lines is critical, but an actor needs to study the emotions connected to the words, the intensity of the emotions and why the character feels how he does in the scene.

In auditions, which require different acting skills than stage or film, I use the shortcut of looking for "What my character wants". That is because the casting people may not be very giving or helpful in shedding light on what is going on (some think actors who ask are lazy)or (They want to see what an actor can produce on his own). The most important thing to know when you only have 5 or 10 minutes to read a script before auditioning is what the character is motivated by.

As to stage, actors forget lines often on stage, but they can usually recover and "ad-lib" or make up for the mistake if they are good actors...

Best, Taylor

Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing

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Taylor Sheppard


I can answer questions: on starting a career in acting, mistakes in acting, etiquette when dealing with industry contacts, finer points on how to act, and things to avoid in the field.


I have been a professional actor 21 years, with appearances in TV, Film and commercials. I have made good decisions and potentially damaging mistakes. I believe anyone who has a dream deserves to explore it, and I take their aspirations seriously. That being said, I do not pull punches. I try to be tactful, but I will not lie to someone, honesty is more effective. My last film role was in "Teeth" which was picked for Sundance in January 2007. It was sold to Lionsgate and Weinstein Co. for somewhere over 2.5 million. The role was "Mr. Griffith", a sex-ed teacher.

Ciao Agency-Austin/Georgetown, Texas. (Formerly known as Donna Adams Agency. Matthew McConaughey was a good friend and fellow member. I also have belonged to agencies in three other Texas cities, but they have since closed.) TXMPA -Texas Motion Picture Alliance. Various other internet networking web rings as well as Actors Access. I was instrumental in advising actress Krista Allen on getting her career in acting started in Austin,Texas (we worked at the same Health Club in the early '90's).

Previously wrote on a now defunct website such as this one. I enjoyed helping new actors.

I have acted for 21 years. I studied under James Nelson Harrell as well as other talented actors at Southwest Texas State University. After college, I have taken classes with Julliard graduate Mona Lee, Bill Johnson, Van Brookes, Marco Perella and others in Austin Texas. I am constantly attending classes to maintain my edge and explore new directions. In addition to attending strictly acting classes, I have also taken business workshops with respected casting directors, such as Shari Rhodes ("Jaws","Close Encounters", "Raggedy Man".) Barbara Brinkley, Jo Edna Bolden and Donise Hardy, (Castingworks LA).

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