What Would Denzel Do… in a Close Up? (Part 2)

What Would Denzel Do… in a Close Up? (Part 2)

Ready for Part 2 of our “How To Create A Captivating Close Up” series? If you missed Part 1 you can check it out here.

Now let’s talk about today’s Captivating Close Up, brought to you by Denzel Washington’s Academy Award winning performance in the film, Glory.

The close up is so intimate, you can’t treat your performance the same as you would in a medium shot, and certainly not a wide shot. It’s important to modify your performance to fit the frame. Denzel does this beautifully in his powerful performance.

He keeps his face relaxed, yet the intensity in his eyes keep the audience riveted.

The more emotionally and/or physically challenging the scene is, the more challenging the close up. Remember that the camera picks up everything. To master the close up, less is more!

Leave a comment. How do you modify your performance for the close up?


Los Angeles Actors – Brand New Class:

How To Be Captivating In A Close Up

Our brand 10-week intensive with Wendy Davis will teach you “How To Be Captivating In A Close Up.”

The camera picks up everything – every nuance, every twitch, every raised eyebrow. The fact is, it’s not enough to be a good actor. To be successful in film and tv, you must also be a skilled technician. During this class series, you’ll learn how to turn the camera into your best ally.

You will learn the 4 principles to creating a powerful close up performance:

  • Maximum Exposure Of The Eyes
  • Active Listening
  • Emotional Availability
  • Seamless Acting

Not only will you learn the theory behind these 4 principles, you will practice them each week. Seeing yourself on camera is the fastest way to learn what works, and how to modify what needs work.

Class begins November 1. CLICK HERE to enroll.


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What makes a captivating close up? (Part 1)

What makes a captivating close up? (Part 1)

The close up is the most important shot for the actor to master. If done well, it’s the moment the audience (and/or the auditors) fall in love with you.

If done poorly, you’ll have them running from the theatre, or ready to yell, “Next!”

Acting in a close up is a specialized skill. It is different from stage acting, and even different from a medium or wide shot.

To book roles in film and television, it’s imperative that you master the close up. Casting directors and Directors just don’t have time to teach you how to do this. It’s up to you to master this skill on your own.

Check out today’s video to find out the 4 components to a captivating close up (featuring THE MASTER herself, Meryl Streep).

This clip is from her Oscar-winning performance in the film, Sophie’s Choice.

So what makes this, and any, close up captivating? There are 4 principles to creating a powerful close up:

  • Seamless Acting
  • Emotional Availability
  • Active Listening
  • Maximum Exposure Of The Eyes

Use these 4 principles in your next close up. The audience, the auditors, and the camera will fall in love with you.

Leave a comment. What steps do you take to modify your performance for the tight frame of a close up?


Los Angeles Actors – Are You Ready For Your Close Up?

FREE WORKSHOP: How To Be Captivating In A Close Up

Do you want to book work in film and television?

Successful film and television actors have something in common…they know how to make the camera fall in love with them! Do you?

In this interactive workshop with Wendy Davis, you’ll learn the 4 principles to creating a powerful, effective close up.

Whether you’re making the transition from theater to on-camera acting for the first time, or you’re ready to really up your on-camera game, this workshop will show you how to make the camera fall in love with you (and the audience too)!

ONE DAY ONLY: Oct 18th @ 11am and 7pm

Seats are limited. CLICK HERE to register for this FREE workshop.

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Do you suffer from Redirect Panic?

Do you suffer from Redirect Panic?

Something happens to an actor when s/he is in the audition room. Especially if they are lucky enough to get a redirection.

Redirect panic is a widespread actor-syndrome.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Poor listening
  • Failure to execute the note
  • Fulfilling the note but throwing out all the other work you’ve put in
  • Not booking the job

Check out today’s video to see redirect panic in action…

When you get into the audition room, sometimes listening and presence can go right out the window! So when a redirection comes your way, your brain just might not process what is being asked of you.

Showing that you are directable is an important skill for an actor.

When the redirect comes, don’t panic!

Breathe, connect, listen, then add it to the work you’ve already done.

Remember, if someone takes the time to give you a redirect, they like you’re work! It means you’re on the right track and they want to help you.

Let them help you by taking their direction and executing it like a pro!

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Don’t Let Your Audition Sides Throw You

Don’t Let Your Audition Sides Throw You

What happens when an audition comes your way?

You get excited!


You move your schedule around to make time to prepare.

If the role is a good one, you might start imagining how you’re life is going to change once you book this part.  Maybe you start spending money you don’t have (in your mind, anyway).

In some cases you may even start getting emotionally attached to the outcome of this audition.

One thing is for sure – an audition opportunity can put you into a heightened emotional state.  When that happens, your common sense could very well fly out the window.

And when the audition excitement takes over logic, small oversights (like the topic of this week’s video), can really throw you.

Here’s how NOT to handle your audition sides:

Staple your pages.  It’s a simple but powerful audition tip.  When that opportunity shows up, don’t let the little things throw you!


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Middle of the Road (to nowhere)

Middle of the Road (to nowhere)

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to…the middle of the road.

No. That’s not how the saying goes.

(And as an expert in owning chickens – yes you read that right, I can confidently say that chickens are perfectly happy hanging out in the barn).

Unfortunately, many actors craft auditions that only get them to the middle of the road.

But a middle of the road performance does not book you the job!

How does a middle-of-the-road audition happen?

Weak choices

Strong choices come from a strong understanding of the material.  If you don’t understand the script you are about to perform, how can you make a strong choice?  A good writer has left clues in everything that appears on the page.

Not personalizing it

A strong choice gets stronger when you can personalize it.  We want to see choices that have been so personalized, you come across as though you are living the material, right now.  When you do not personalize the material, you only come across as an actor.

Not Fully Committing

This can also be a symptom of not making a strong choice, or not committing to one choice.  If you’re waffling between one choice or another in your audition, it reads like middle of the road.

Many actors don’t commit fully in their choices because they are “afraid of going to far” or “being too big.”  It’s important that you test out just how far you can go in an audition (before you get into the room of course) so that your work doesn’t fall flat (aka middle of the road).

Not Creating A Strong Relationship

The most important relationship is with the person you’re in a scene with.  If that relationship doesn’t have the ring of truth, your audition will feel middle of the road.  When you’re beginning to craft your relationship, be specific so that you are emotionally affected.

“She’s my sister” is general.  “She’s my older sister that I feel the need to prove I am better than” is a much more specific relationship.

When you do the work to make each scene you play deeply personal, with specific relationships that have an emotional affect on you, you will go past the middle of the road audition to get to the other side!

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