I first saw this as a post on FB in the Casting Directors for Actors group (a great group to join if you don't already belong). I'm posting it here because I found it really valuable to hear this from a DPs point of view. Also, I work with actors often who swear they know how to do certain things, and then consistently fall short when the pressure is on. A set can be an intense and busy workplace. Actors must be able to perform under these pressures, which sometimes means continuing to practice skills that you think you know. This gives you a great insider view at why we work hard at these things (especially if you want your lovely face to remain in focus).
My dear acting friends, agents and coaches. Please understand the importance of hitting your mark (that colored T shape tape or cardboard on the floor). It was placed there during your rehearsal by our Assistant Camera person. It’s not a suggested spot for you to be, it’s exact.
If I’m filming you with a long lens, say an 85mm and I have an f stop of 2.0, then the depth of field (what’s in focus) is very shallow. Your eye will be in focus, your ear will not.
If I’m filming you with a wide-angle lens, say an 18mm and I have an f stop of 8.0 then the depth of field is large. Almost everything will be in focus. If you’re working on a set with me, I always tell actors what lens I have on the camera.
Please practice at home. Get a quarter. Take your shoes and sock off. Throw the quarter out on the floor in front of you two feet. Close your eyes, walk to it and place your big right toe on it. Once you get it, do it with your left foot. Once you get that, extend the distance to 5 feet, then 8, 10, 15, 20, 25. Practice coming around a corner and into the room without looking at the quarter on the floor.
Actors spend a great deal of time honing their craft with emotions and motivations… please spend some time on the very important technical aspects.
And please, don’t ever yell at an A.C. who buzzed the shot because you missed your mark by two feet.
I'm gonna go find a quarter.
P.S. - This is a great thing to add to your Action List! Also....if this happens to get to the person who originally authored this post, I would love to credit you!