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Hollywood Vs "The Stage"

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Hollywood Vs "The Stage"#1
Posted: 8/24/07 at 8:59pm
My mother and I were having an interesting conversation over lunch today about the differences between Hollywood and what she calls "The Stage". It was a long and VERY interesting conversation.

So, in turn, I wanted to ask the forum: What differences stand out the most for you? It can be within the two industries as a whole, or just the differences between the men and women of Hollywood and the Theatre posse. In what ways do you think they're similar?
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#2
Posted: 8/24/07 at 9:19pm
BIG DIFFERENCES-
In Hollywood you're filmed. You are not on stage.(unless its for Lincoln Center, PBS or whatever)
What you do onstage one night will be completely different the next. In Hollywood that performance that you gave that day for that camera is forever captured on film. You cannot change it. It will never be different.
Regarding the communities, people often say the theatre feels like more of a family, a community. Sure there's a little bitchiness, but not nearly as much as there is in Hollywood.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#2
Posted: 8/25/07 at 12:47am
There is the immediate reaction of the audience when you on The Stage, as opposed to waiting months (or sometimes years) for a movie to first reach a paying audience. Rehearsal periods tend to be longer for The Stage.
And I agree, the community seems to be much more supportive on The Stage than in the movie community.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#3
Posted: 8/25/07 at 12:59am
Why don't we make a Ven Diagram?!?!?!?!
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#4
Posted: 8/25/07 at 1:16am
Venn diagrams are cool.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#5
Posted: 8/25/07 at 1:22am
Although I have no experience with film, I do have an understanding of how it all comes together. From what I gathered, I can't really think and actor entirely owns their performance on film, while on stage, you take a journey with your character from beginning to end, with your own choices. In film, they choose the best bits here and there, not necessarily in continuation with the previous scene.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#6
Posted: 8/25/07 at 1:30am
Well they often shoot films out of order, so its hard for an actor to fully live out a character's journey if they shoot the ending first, then the beginning, then the middle or whatever combination.

My mom was saying that she read that some famous actor had said that "the stage is an actor's medium, film is the director's medium, and television is the writer's medium." Its obviously not that black and white but i think there's a lot of truth in that. Its interesting, nonetheless.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#7
Posted: 8/25/07 at 2:20pm
Television is most definitely NOT a writer's medium. The ONLY writer's medium is the stage because it's the only place where you actually get a say of what happens to your work.

A big similarity is that it takes a similar set of skills (the same acting technique), but you have to adapt it differently. You can't take a movie performance and do it on stage because it will lack life, but if you take a theatre performance and put it right on stage, it's too big.

In film and TV, you can charm your way through a role--take Annette Funicello or any number of other young actors. On stage you can also charm, but to be successful, you also have to have stage presence. Stage presence can't be taught. Neither can the charm that radiates on film. In some ways they are similar concepts, but they don't translate from one medium to the next.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#8
Posted: 8/25/07 at 4:27pm
For me, most film musicals based on Broadway musicals are inferior to their Broadway counterparts. Most importantly, seeing a Broadway musical it is easier to maintain a suspension of disbelief to the dancing and singing that takes place. Also, the dubbing of capable singing to the lip synching of the Hollywood actors is very annoying to me. The Hollywood film of GYPSY with Rosalind Russell is particularly hard to take--I saw it once and vowed never to see it again. UGH! But even superior films like WEST SIDE STORY don't work for me. Again, it is the lip synching and the street dancing that is harder to accept in the film. Seeing a musical live we get to go along with the continuous acting, singing, and dancing before us, knowing that it really IS going on in front of us. The excitement of live entertainment just can't be matched by watching a film.

The only two film musicals that I think highly of are CABARET and CHICAGO, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have never seen a stage production of either of those shows, as hard to believe as that may be for someone who has been going to the theatre since 1951. I look forward to the eventual revival of CABARET so I can finally see it on stage. I'm not so eager to see CHICAGO, especially in its minimalist form.
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Updated On: 8/25/07 at 04:27 PM
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#9
Posted: 8/26/07 at 2:12pm
Would anyone say, on the whole, that people who do mostly stage-work are more talented in general?
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#10
Posted: 8/26/07 at 4:40pm
Several differences come to mind right away...

...starting with the old cliche that Theatre is LIVE. It's happening right there in front of you, so there is an immediacy and visceral connection to it that you can't get from something filmed or prerecorded.

Theatre is an actor's and writer's medium.

Film is a director's medium.

What I mean is that with a stage play we seem to regard the writers as the creative "Gods" of the piece. The are the source from whom all other creative elements flow, including the directorial vision and the intent and shape of the characters in the piece.

But once the lights go down, the performers are out there alone doing their thing. Yes, they've been rehearsed and choreographed to present the piece a certain way, but at that point the show rests firmly on the shoulders of the people running the actual play (actors, musicians, a musical director, stage manager, technicians and other crew).

The director's job is completely over for that performance, once the lights go down. There isn't a damn thing that can be done to shape anything or fix anything from that position.

Film, on the other hand, is a director's medium. He (or she!) calls the shots (literally) before, during and AFTER the rest of the artistic elements have been created. He can decide in the editing room which "takes" he wants to use, and shape a performance in any number of potential ways. He can remove scenes, shots, words, moments that can completely change the intent and the meaning of an actor or writer. He can tighten or lengthen pacing and change POVs. In other words, the director is "god" in this medium.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#11
Posted: 8/27/07 at 1:57pm
Very insightful, Best. Thank you.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#12
Posted: 8/27/07 at 4:45pm
Would anyone say, on the whole, that people who do mostly stage-work are more talented in general?

A terrible bore of a theatre snob might.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#13
Posted: 8/27/07 at 5:48pm
They are completely different disciplines. Acting in theater and film take very different skills and they both have their difficulties and rewards. Most of the answers here have been rather biased and, most likely, based on ignorance. Most good actors I know like to do both--sometimes only because film and television pay better, but if you are going to perform it's good to learn the different approaches. Many very good stage actors don't translate to film and many good film actors don't project onstage.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#14
Posted: 8/27/07 at 6:01pm
the one big difrence that comes to me is that nothing is live
and the actors ofter have there voices doctored up a bit
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#15
Posted: 8/27/07 at 6:35pm
Hmmm...one has actors, and the other is Hollywood.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#16
Posted: 8/27/07 at 6:58pm
Would anyone say, on the whole, that people who do mostly stage-work are more talented in general?

I don't think that they're more talented, but I do think it is easier for them to go from stage to film than for film actors to go from film to stage. There are countless actors who got their start on the New York stage that now have very succesful careers in Hollywood, where as the numbers of actors who started in Hollywood, then came to have succesful careers on stage, are far less. Stage actors are used to long rehersal periods and not being able to forget lines. They have experiance manuvering through mishaps during a live show. I think stage actors also have to be bigger. Not over acting but filling bigger facial expressions and movements with real truthful emotions. Rather than just having empty movements and facial expressions. (I don't know if that made any sense) If a stage actor goes on to do film it's easier to become subtle then go bigger and still remain truthful.
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re: Hollywood Vs 'The Stage'#17
Posted: 8/28/07 at 11:56am
I listened to an interview with Gregory Maguire and he talked a bit about how "Wicked" was supposed to be a movie first, but didn't go through. He speculated that they didn't want to do the show because there weren't any males with a long term presence. It's true that Frex and Boq are really only seen at the beginning (or middle in Boq's case) and then briefly at the end, and Fiyero is conked on the head before we can really get to know him well.

Even though Holzman created this weird love triangle in the play, it is a very female oriented play. One of it's few merits. Score one for the stage.
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