Landing the Role of Kate

A chronicle of my actventures

Acting in Film: Breaking it Down Part 3

Hello, hello! Here we go in part 3 of the wonderful Breaking it Down [Vanity Fair style]* series for Michael Caine’s Acting in Film: An Actor’s take on Movie Making.

Before we begin I wanted to give some of my favorite lines by Michael Caine, just for fun.

“Never.” – Alfred, Batman Begins

“Some people just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight

(okay, so I really like the new Batmans. I do like him in Hannah and Her Sisters too, but I don’t go about quoting his lines from that on a daily basis.)

Follow the cut for the break down of chapter 3.

Chapter 3: At the Studio or On Location

This chapter is about what to do at the studio or on location. The main point is to not be the person who wastes time or holds up production. He walks the reader through a standard day on set with some basic dos and don’ts along the way. He starts out hair and make-up and then goes onto costuming. Hair/makeup are the first stop, then you head to the dressing room or trailer where you costume will be. The costume designer will come by to make sure it fits and everything’s there.


  • Speak up if you know something’s gotta be covered, like bags under the eyes or acne (he has blonde eyelashes, for instance, so he always makes sure that he gets mascara put on so they’ll show up on screen).
  • Once you leave, keep up your appearance; people are in place to help you in case of rain etc., but don’t go eating messy things and touching your face/hair
  • For clothing make sure you keep it in tact. If you’re playing a straight-lace high powered professional in a business suit, put it on at the last minute (after making sure it fits initially) so it won’t wrinkle
  • Take note of how you look and anything that may change in your appearance during different scenes so that you can remember to take off or put on nail polish or whatever for continuity


  • Tell them how to make you look for your character, the director already did this
  • Act rudely. Hair/makeup is the social hub and news about you will spread like a wildfire in a drought; no one needs that rep

Next is to go onto the set before shooting and figure out where things are, which way the door opens, etc. if your character is supposed to be very familiar with the place (like their home or office). He suggests the opposite if it’s a new place for the character, so that everything will be unfamiliar. He closes by reminding the reader that “anticipation is the enemy of all actors” and that “the camera sees everything, especially lack of spontaneity.”


*”Breaking it down Vanity Fair Style: Have you watched the 1 hour long paparazzi-style video of Rob & Kristen from the Vanity Fair photo shoot for Twilight? It’s the reason [Moon and UC] started LTT. Cuz [they] broke it down after realizing [they] both were lame enough to have watched it. Ps. That’s Normal”


January 20, 2010 - Posted by | Acting in Film by Michael Caine | , , , ,


  1. “anticipation is the enemy of all actors” and that “the camera sees everything, especially lack of spontaneity.”

    michael caine is awesome. if you haven’t seen him in Pulp, i recommend it. now that’s a quoteable movie.
    “her honor was on the missing list. So was her cash. I got the feeling it was too late to retrieve either.”

    good tips!

    Comment by egregiousgirl | January 20, 2010 | Reply

    • ::quickly adds Pulp to list of movies to watch on National Popcorn Appreciation Day, which happenes to be today::

      Comment by lorenagay | January 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. Just another reason to LOVE him… so experienced and willing to pass it along! Did you know that his real name is Maurice Joseph Micklewhite (?) and that he still uses it in every-day life when he’s not acting? He was 1st using the name Michael Scott, but it was already being used. And did you know he that was Knighted? It’s amazing that he’s one of only 2 actors to be nominated in every decade for an Academy Award since the 1960’s!
    My 2nd favorite role of his is absolutely Alfred Pennyworth (love your quotes, by the way), but my FAVOIRTE movie of his is “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”… do you know that movie? i LOVE it!

    Comment by ambushed by twilight | January 21, 2010 | Reply

    • You are so enthusiastic in this comment for it being 6am! Anyway, I wonder why he didn’t just go with the name Mickle White? Or Michael White? So random.

      Comment by lorenagay | January 21, 2010 | Reply

  3. Some people just want to watch the world burn— This is def. my favourite quote right now…

    Comment by Bleriana | February 3, 2010 | Reply

  4. My favourite Michael Caine film is the Muppet Christmas Carol. frealz.

    Comment by Matt | March 11, 2010 | Reply

  5. Caine is awesome in Harry Browne. 2 words – living legend!
    Thanks for the tips!

    Comment by David Moulton | April 20, 2010 | Reply

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