Basic principle #1: The camera is a lie detector...
Basic principle #2: Less is more. Billy Wilder on Jack Lemmon’s first screen performance: “His first day on a sound stage, with George Cukor directing, he's all revved up. He rattles down half a page of dialogue, rararaaumphrara, and then there's ‘Cut’ and he looks at Cukor. Cukor comes up to him and says, ‘It was just wonderful, you're going to be a big big star. However... when it comes to that big speech, please, please, a little less, a little bit less. You know, in the theater, we're back in a long shot, and you have to pour it on. But in film, you cut to a close-up and you cannot be that strong.’ So he does it again, less. And again Cukor says, ‘Wonderful! Absolutely marvelous, now let's do it again, a little bit less’ Now after ten or eleven times, Mr. Cukor admonishing him ‘a little less,’ Mr. Lemmon says, ‘Mr. Cukor, for God's sake, you know pretty soon I won't be acting at all.’ Cukor says, ‘Now you're getting the idea.’" “Whenever I see myself in Red October, I can’t help but think, ‘Look how hard that guy is working.’ [Laughs] When you’re young, you push too hard. [Director] John [McTiernan] used to say, ‘Just stand there and say the line. Just be in front of the camera.’ Now I look back and he was totally right.”
Basic principle #3: The fundamental things apply... James Cagney: “Plant your feet, look the other guy in the eye, and tell the truth.” Don’t look at the camera, in the same way you wouldn’t look at the audience (unless directed to…)
Basic principle #4: A performance is made in the editing room... Most directors want actors to give them “options.” On film, pauses, for example, are usually defined by an editor and/or a director, rather than an actor
Basic principle #5: Continuity Continuity: consistency of the positions, colors, sizes, etc., of objects onscreen; continuity errors break the illusion of watching actual events. Care towards continuity must be taken because films are rarely, if ever, filmed in chronological order Film shoots have a person dedicated exclusively to minding continuity. Continuity Polaroid
Basic principle #6 Emotional continuity: concentration Shot sizes: close-up, medium shots/two- shots, long shot/master shot Blinking