Sir Michael Caine conducted a movie acting workshop filmed by the BBC in 1987, and out of that that presentation came the book Michael Caine Acting in Film.
Sir Caine offers many pearls of film acting wisdom in this terrific session. View the workshop and pick up a copy of the book to read.
One great piece of advice he gave is about blinking your eyes, especially during close-ups. If you blink, as he helpfully illustrates for the camera, your character comes across as weak. Keeping your eyes open and focused has the opposite effect, and makes your performance appear strong and assured.
Michael is a champion of the mastery of acting craft and emphasizes that dogged persistence is the singular quality necessary to flourish in a pursuit that demands obsessive dedication.
Here are some of Michael Caine’s most valuable suggestions:
- When speaking to an actor off-camera, pick the eye closest to the lens and stick with it.
- Film acting is, in large part, listening and reacting.
- Theater acting is an operation with a scalpel; movie acting is an operation with a laser.
- The camera catches everything you do, so don’t be afraid to play things subtly.
- A majority of movie acting is relaxation. If you’re knocking yourself out, you’re doing it wrong.
- An actor relaxes in front of the camera by concentrating, and knowing that you have no enemies on set, everyone’s on your side and doing their best to make you look your best for the movie.
- All actors steal certain gestures and behaviors from other actors — but the best actors make these gestures their own. Steal from the best, and make it your own.
- Get a good night’s sleep and set up a fool proof wake-up call. Don’t be late!
- Don’t interfere with anybody else’s performance. Get on with your own contribution and leave everybody else to the boss.
- Make every part the one you’ve been waiting for.