Last Thursday, SmartyGirl Chasya Hill interviewed “Heart Wants” 48 Hour Film Project Actress Cami Okins by phone. Make memorable small talk with actors and actresses by using one of these 5 out of 10 Thought-starters:
1. What do you see as the main difference between acting for theater vs. acting for film?
SmartyGirl Cami Okins played Christine Daae in a non-musical theater production of “The Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston Leroux, in addition to her other roles. In live theater, facial expressions and delivery of lines are more exaggerated than acting for film. This is so the audience, even at a distance, can follow the story. Movements are wider, more expansive.
In theater, it’s indoor and live. The audience is present so actors “can’t take it back” when delivering their lines. In film, actors have opportunities to do retakes. The camera captures the actor’s expressions up close on film. For film? The more natural and realistic, the better.
Ms. Okins enjoys using her varied life experiences to connect with the character she is playing. She believes that life experience builds an individual into something. She invites playing different types of people and addressing a range of subjects. Understanding the history of a character inspires her as an actress.
2. Tell me more about the research you’ve done for a role.
Ms. Okins researched the character of Christine Daae as created by Writer Leroux. What was the political climate during the time of the story? How did women dress at the time? In what way could Christine Daae’s Swedish upbringing influence her perspective of Paris? Research informs how a character would operate and react to her world.
3. Can you tell me how “cue lines” signal fellow actors and crew during a theater production?
Cue lines are the end of a sentence before another character enters in theater. Cue lines choreograph when to do what. Imagine the sound specialists, lighting effects crew and actors as a big machine working together.
In film there is more room for actors to improvise. In contrast, theater productions require actors to improvise when something goes awry. For example, when lighting fails, the actor might choose to joke aloud about forgetting to pay the light bill to smooth out the production for the theater audience.
4. How are the physical demands for film different from the energy expended for live theater?
For theater, it can be physical demanding for an actress to communicate climbing a mountain when she is indoors and on stage. She must be convincing enough to help the audience imagine the strain of clawing at a rockface. For film, she might do a retakes for a running scene 20 times. Both take its own kind of exertion.
5. Besides acting, what other roles interest you in the entertainment industry?
Cami Okins has an interest in “child wrangling”. This is a designated role of an adult with training how to protect youth actors from emotional trauma. A child wrangler advocates for the child actor and might suggest alternatives for a shot for a body double if a scene might be too upsetting for a young actor.
Check back with SGL for 5 tips from Actor Alex Hager. You didn’t think we’d leave out the SmartyFellas, did you?
SmartyGirl Actress Chasya Hill enjoys time with friends. Quality time with friends, according to Ms. Hill, can be a walk outdoors or a trip to the grocery store together. She believes in living a rich and interesting life. Weird jobs? Bring it on! She currently resides in Los Angeles.