Tuesday 4 October 2016


A lot of young actors have this notion that the most important thing in acting is knowing the lines and saying them word for word. 
Unfortunately, they are wrong because the lines are not as important as the feeling.
Even though it's important to know the lines and say them, you also have to understand what they mean. 

Knowing the meaning of the lines will help you in the way you say them. But most importantly, it will help with the way you feel about what you are saying as well as what the other actor is saying, which is the most important aspect of the whole scene.

The feeling you get from the dialogue is what informs the REACTIONS and EXPRESSIONS.

I have heard a lot of film editors say that they are more intrigued by what the actors are doing when they are not speaking. They like to experience the feeling from their expressions, reactions, body language and posture. It is the most fascinating thing to edit.

Actors always feel that the editors are obligated to show their faces when they have the lines, so they focus more on the lines instead of the feeling. They often get frustrated when the movie is released and they don't see themselves as much as they want to. 
Well the truth is, watching an actor who is not speaking but feeling and expressing is way more interesting than watching one who has so many lines but no FEELING. 

It is very wrong to arrange your reactions and expressions before you understand how the lines are supposed to make you feel. When you are on set and you feel something, trust it and let it flow. If it is an honest unplanned feeling, it usually works out great. 
Trust in that feeling and allow yourself to be led by it without inhibitions. If the director doesn’t think it’s that great, then you can do another take. 

Allow yourself to feel what the character is supposed to feel. Don't think too much on how your expression should look, just express it the exact way you feel it as naturally as it comes.

Remember that this can only be possible if you have become one with the Character you are playing. 

An amazing example is HOLLY HUNTER in the movie THE PIANO. She played the role of ADA McGRATH, who was MUTE since childhood. This movie got her an Oscar Award even though she did not speak in the movie.

How do you win an award in a movie where you have no lines?
Believe it or not these are stronger than just saying your lines.

  1. Watch more movies and pay attention to the actors who are reacting to the lines of someone else
  2. Take a closer look at their eyes and brows
  3. Take out the volume totally in some scenes and see if you can tell what is going on in the scene by just looking at their reactions and expressions.
  4. How many of their reactions do you disagree with and how would you have reacted? 
  5. Observe people in real life and see how they react to the things you say to them

A good actor must learn to be a good observer. 

Thank you for stopping by. 

Please comment, share and subscribe if you found this useful. 


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