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Mark: A line on the floor to indicate where an actor should stand for the camera.

In an audition or on set there will almost always be a tape mark on the floor that shows you approximately where to stand. The mark is important, it shows the actor where the lighting is best, where the microphone will pick up the sound and where the camera is in focus. Stand close to the mark.

The most important thing is to stand at ease, to stand-how-you-stand. The first easy mistake that actors make is to stand rigidly “at attention” directly on the mark — as long as you don’t come forward of the mark, it’s fine to simply be close to it, a few inches behind or to one side is no problem. The other easy mistake that actors make, especially in auditions, is to line up their body with the mark instead of lining up their body with the person or thing that they’re looking at. Even if it’s only a difference of a few inches in orientation, it can make the difference between a relaxed, easy body and one that looks like the body of an actor giving a performance.

PRACTICE: Make a tape mark on the floor and choose an object at eye level to be your “camera” (a tape mark on the wall, desk lamp, light switch, etc.). Practice stepping in to your mark and stepping out, standing easily with your body facing whatever you’re looking at. If you have the opportunity to practice with an actual camera (SLR, smartphone, handycam, webcam, anything will do) then tape your practice and watch it back. Focus on the exercise, don’t get distracted by the way you look or the way your voice sounds. The sooner you get used to watching yourself, the more useful this very powerful practice tool will be for you.

Download the Confidence on Camera Handbook by Biz Studio Head Coach Michael Bean