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KU students are learning the ways of the big screen in and behind the scenes

Monday, October 7, 2019

UDK | Liam Mays

In KU lecturer Laura Kirk’s afternoon class, acting for the camera, she teaches students a range of techniques — all aimed at showing them how to exist in front of the camera naturally.

In a recent FMS: 302 class on Sept. 25, she began her lecture talking about eye contact, concentration and ensuring students listen to their fellow actors. Don’t just recite your lines, she said to them, listen and respond.

Kirk, who has several acting credits to her name, expresses her speech using hand gestures and body language — she speaks in poetic quotes.

“You have to use yourself and your own access to your immersion, so if you're not willing to look at that pretty closely, I think [acting is] a tough job,” Kirk said. 

Throughout her lecture, she used several examples from her own acting experiences in films such as “American Honey” with Shia LaBeouf. Her goal is to teach the students about what to expect when working on films outside of college and to prepare them for what it might actually be like if they were to try their hand at acting here — or move to Los Angeles or New York.

“They're trying to get an exposure to film work and industry standards,” Kirk said. “The reputation of the class is that directors are going to learn how to work with actors, and actors learn how to work with directors, and by both trying what the other one does, they start to learn where they're coming from.”

The class is cross-listed so students in both film and media studies and theater can enroll. Kirk said it’s an experience for film students to work with actors and actors to work with film students. Part of Kirk’s method is to have all of the students try both acting and directing so they can better understand the others craft.

“She does make you do some acting just so you can get the feel for it,” said junior film and media studies major Ishan Parikh from Overland Park. “It does give me a better appreciation for acting — for the camera specifically.” Read more



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