Film Acting

Professor Christian Wagner

Juliane Weininger, Program Coordinator/Casting Office

From the Stage to the Film Set

Once a year, the Filmakademie’s Film Acting department, in cooperation with the Academy of Performing Arts Baden-Wuerttemberg, offers a self-contained course for young acting talents with classical training who wish to extend their education with film acting. Registration for this course is open to students of the Academy of Performing Arts, but also to other actors wishing to enhance their qualification.

More Than Just a Change of Location

Revealing another you, relating to the camera, developing professional skills, in short: getting ready for the movies!

This is what the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg’s workshop on film acting is all about. The course addresses young acting talents who have completed their actor training and wish to enhance their classical training with film acting.

Acting students tend to receive a very classical form of training, which usually leaves very little room for film-related experience. This is why this workshop aims at conveying the differences between on-stage and on-camera acting, as for example in terms of images and dimensions, speech, sound and synchronization. The non-linear chronology in film as opposed to the linear narrative of theater, the differences in rehearsals and the dissimilarities between screenplays and stage plays, continuity and lighting, are also covered. In theoretical classes, we reflect on the realities of film production, casting and the way casting agencies work.

With film and television productions playing a more and more predominant role on the acting market, focusing on stage acting alone is not enough. Courses like this Film Acting workshop therefore constitute a key element of a comprehensive training in the art of acting.

More Than Just a Workshop

Talent is essential, but useless without the required professionalism. That is particularly true for acting in film and television productions. These have become increasingly important for professional actors, but work by their very own rules.

For the seven weeks of this course, our students are given the opportunity to work in-depth with professionals from various branches of the film industry: film actors, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, sound engineers, screenwriters, casting agents, casting directors and students from the Filmakademie’s Directing and Image Composition/Cinematography departments. This expert environment provides the participants with comprehensive insights into the complexity of film acting.

The list of instructors since 2000 includes:

Acting: Marie Bäumer, Bibiana Beglau, Ulrich Matthes, Michaela Rosen
Casting Directors: Nina Haun, Sabine Schroth, Rita Serra-Roll, Daniela Tolkien Casting Agencies: Carola Studlar
Screenwriting: Stefan Dähnert, Bernd Lange Production Gloria Burkert Cinematography: Hans Fromm, Kay Gauditz, Martin Gressmann, Thomas Merker Sound: Ed Cantu
Editing: Jens Klüber
Directing: Stefan Jäger, Roland Suso Richter, Hans-Christian Schmid, Götz Spielmann, Christian Wagner, Connie Walther, Kai Wessel, Michael Verhoeven

In theoretical classes, our lecturers lay a solid theoretical foundation for our students to build upon. The participants learn about the similarities and differences between theater and film and the difficult relation between actor, camera and lighting, among other things. Other sessions focus on script analyses, scenic work with film directors and practical exercises with film actors. Editing, sound and the actual shooting are also part of the curriculum, as are marketing issues and the work of casting agents.

The workshop’s focus, however, is on practical training. To enhance the students’ personal on-camera presence, the practical sessions pay particular attention to speech, facial and physical expressiveness and the continuity of movement. With this practice-oriented training, our participants are given the knowledge and techniques to build up their presence in front of the camera and are familiarized with the actual on-set working situation of a film actor.

Of course, many of these sessions and exercises are recorded on video or film and subsequently analyzed. The goal, however, is not to produce an audition tape, but rather to help each student grow as a professional actor.

by Professor Christian Wagner