Is good stage acting more demanding than good movie acting?

Because it’s live and with movies you get to rest between takes. Also, aren’t movie actors usually “prettier” than stage actors?

…or not?

I Am Not A Professional Actor, but…

Often it’s hard for somebody to be both a good stage actor and a good movie actor. Some people act with their faces a lot, which makes them better suited for the relatively intimate medium of film. Others act with their whole bodies, so people in the back row of a packed theater can still understand what they’re feeling.

For a body person to do movie work can be really frustrating, since 90% of what they’re doing with their body can be cut off by the framing of the shot, and they’ve got to constantly remind themselves to “move it up.” Then there are face people who will find themselves exhausted after doing a stage production because they have to try so hard to act below the neck as well as above. In either of those situations, the fish out of water will probably tell you that the medium they’re uncomfortable with is much more difficult.

That said, there are some people who do both with ease.

I guess I think of it as running a marathon vs. a series of 100-yard dashes. There’s more flexibility in a stage performance, but you also have to be “on” for hours at a time. With film media, the challenge is more in keeping track of where in the storyline you are and how your character is feeling at that point: even if they’re shooting it out of order, you can’t be reacting out of order when they cut it all together. So that can take a bit more focus.

I much prefer doing stage work to film work. (Any other amateurs or pros that weigh in, which do you prefer?)

As to the second part of your question, I think pretty counts for less onstage, for the close-up reasons I mentioned earlier.

Micheal O’Hare once gave a demonstration on the difference between stage acting and film/TV acting, showing how he’d react to someone coming into a room. On stage, he’d turn his entire head, while in a film, he’d just move his eyes slightly.

I’d say they are equally hard. Sure, you’re live on stage, but when you are in the middle of an expensive effects shot that took days and millions of dollars to set up, the pressure to do it right is just as great, if not greater. Plus in movies you have to “turn it on” immediately – maybe two hours since the previous scene – whereas on stage you can get into the role as you do it.

I think the thing about stage acting that makes it more challenging, is having to not only embody a character for the audience, but to do it 6 times a week and twice on Sundays.

For months at a time – sometimes years.

I have a purely subjective observation that doesn’t prove a thing, but, for what it’s worth, here it is. I use to think that Madonna was a competent enough actress. But then I saw her in a stage production of “Speed the Plow” with Joe Mantegna and Ron Silver. Working next to those two, she came off as a rank amateur. I attributed it to stage acting being much harder than film acting. But the arguments above make sense too…Timmy

I’ve been a professional actor for 33 years and have done both stage and film. The major difference for me is effort. Stage work is much harder physically as you have to seem relaxed and yet bounce your voice off the faces of the people in the back row. Just breathing properly so you can get the voice out is draining after a two or three hour play. Then the next night you have to go through it all again. Film acting is much easier. It’s mostly done with the eyes. However you can fake things in the theatre if you’re sick or your mind is not sharp on any given day but you can’t fake ANYTHING in front of the camera.

When Vincent Price started his long run of horror films he said that since the films were gothic in nature with unbelievable story lines he went back to his stage acting style of over acting with his face and body movements. (I read this somewhere but heck if I know where)
When I did read this I compared his earlier films with his Poe films, quite a bit of difference in acting style. I LOVE his stage acting style in movies.