The Unique Craft of Screen Acting
The primary driving philosophy of the Stonestreet Screen Acting Workshop is that the craft of screen acting is significantly different from stage acting. Screen acting is an art form unto itself — not a minor adjustment to stagecraft — and film deserves equivalent respect to theater as a venue for the actor to develop their craft, one that is extremely challenging, magical, and mysterious. We do not simply provide students with teachers or casting directors who teach "on-camera" acting; Stonestreet is not an "on camera" acting conservatory. It is a screen acting conservatory that immerses young actors in a full on-set experience from crew to equipment, while stretching and experimenting with their theatrical and artistic boundaries.
Acting itself is extremely difficult, subtle, delicate and bold; it often provokes heated debate regarding which techniques are preferable and effective. Many professional actors, directors, and drama instructors believe that live theater is the only venue where an actor's craft can be realized, often implying that the stage is a higher art form than film or television. Some even promote the notion that a great theater actor need only make minor adjustments for the screen; many theatrical conservatories promote the notion that film acting is simply a matter of cheating to the camera or “sitting on” certain impulses.
Differences Between Theater and Film
The Stonestreet Screen Acting Workshop debunks these foregoing notions and trains actors to understand the numerous and significant differences between theater and film. It is a fundamental requirement that our faculty be trained in, understand, and respect the great variety of acting techniques that exist. If a student's core training is weak or has some areas that need strengthening, the faculty will introduce new and various techniques and approaches. If a student's training is very strong or limited to one technique, the faculty will assist in adapting their technique to the demands of film. Acting teachers sometimes have a tendency to look only at the elements of the specific technique they teach rather than the goal of where the actor serves or reinvents the material, finding and using whatever is needed, creatively, to accomplish the goal.
At Stonestreet, we encourage our students to study screen craft with the same work ethic that often exists in the theater. Because of our eclectic student population, and because our instructors are familiar with various schools of technique, we can maintain a forum and training ground for students to be exposed to the spectrum of acting training and techniques. Such exposure is crucial for the growth of an actor. To remain ignorant of the great and vibrant variety of perspectives, because of an imposed dogma by one school of acting, limits the development and evolution of an actor’s craft, as well as an actor’s ability to work with different actors and directors in the industry as a whole.
The True Actor's Medium
Some say that theater is an actor's medium. The Stonestreet Screen Acting Workshop believes that film is the true actor's medium. Art changes, tastes change, audiences mature and evolve, and so a film actor can be discovered or rediscovered by many generations to come.