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3 Myths About Transitioning from TV to Film

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Here is the first myth about transitioning from TV to film.

Perhaps the biggest myth about the transition from TV to film is that the process is simple and straightforward.  While there are many A-listers who are versatile enough in their craft to take on both (and maybe even appear on stage or in commercials, too), it’s relatively uncommon to do so.

Along the same lines, television actors who communicate well behind the scenes communicate better on camera.  If tensions exist, this could translate into on camera interactions.  In a film setting, actors may never have to communicate again, but contracts for television shows can renew for new seasons for many years to come.  An audience is often counting on the return of all of their favorite characters.  So, when tensions exist off screen, this can make keeping the cast together and working well with each other more difficult.

Here is the second myth about transitioning from TV to film.

Another myth about making the transition is that there is little change to the dialogue piece.  The length of dialogue per scene is much shorter in television than in film and the rhythm is quicker.  If looking to evolve from being a TV star to film work, it will be essential for the actor to slow their speech a bit and be able to consume more lines of dialogue.  Obviously, the converse is true if heading in the other direction.  The amount of dialogue in a single film may be somewhat overwhelming at first, so amending any strategy for memorization will be important.

Character development-wise, those who are in television are able to spend more time on bringing out the qualities of their role.  Schedules are more flexible, too, which allows the space for connecting with the character and continuing to work on displaying these qualities.  In film, schedules are much faster paced and there is less free time to do this.  It is important for actors to be able to understand their role up front and bring it out in the best way they can with limited development time.

Here is the third myth about transitioning from TV to film.

Another common myth about making the transition is that the range of emotion for television and film are about the same.  There is typically a need for a wider range for film actors than those in television.  Also, what may not be able to fit into a single show can more easily be included in film, so being able to adjust expectations is essential.  There may be a need for adapting to more uncomfortable situations, such as deeply intimate scenes.

Transitioning from television to film is more difficult than it may seem on the surface.  It takes a high level of versatility and dedication to the craft.  It can be frustrating at first if an actor isn’t aware of, or prepared for, the differences between the two platforms.  Accounting for these differences in advance can help manages expectations and make the transition a bit easier.

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