Acting : As an actor or actress...are you afraid of looking ugly on camera? by Rock Kitaro

Rock Kitaro

As an actor or actress...are you afraid of looking ugly on camera?

I ask this because I noticed these days on TV, that some actors and actresses while put in even the most hopeless stressful situations, still manage to draw me in on how composed their facial expressions are. If you haven't noticed any examples, then don't worry about it. Maybe it's just me. And it may be because of the director calling the shots, but I'm wondering if its something you keep in the back of your mind when you're filming a scene. Like...imagine falling backwards out of your chair. If you know it's going to happen, I think we can manage our facial expression to hide the comical goofy look of terror that overcomes us. But if we don't know its going to happen, you can't hide it.

Dave McCrea

No way. If you want to make it as an actor, job number 1 is to believe you are beautiful in your own unique way, not necessarily in just your looks, but in your whole presence.

Ciara Sherry

I think it's really important not to worry about how you're looking, but that's much easier said than done! I keep watching movies and TV shows where people have been sleeping and they have a full face of makeup on -- I just think it's ridiculous! Nobody in their right mind goes to bed like that, so it shouldn't be portrayed on screen. This is why everyone is so hung up on their looks (myself included!) We see beautiful people plastered over our screens every day, and it becomes the norm, even if they're looking serene in absolutely ridiculous situations.

Ryan L. Jenkins

In my last semester at the University of Illinois, our final acting unit is acting for the camera (because we are primarily a theatre program) our first exercise was to simply walk into frame and be there for about 90 seconds until we were told it was done. As we waited, we had to write down our initial fears about being on camera. I was worried that I wouldn't look pretty, that every funny flaw on me would be magnified 10 fold. I worry mostly about smiling on camera, as I am in serious need of dental work. "I'm too thin, I'm not fashion forward" and so on. I was also worried about "ugly" physical habits the camera would pick up. I tremble and get visible goosebumps when I'm nervous. I fiddled with my clothes the entire time I waited for my turn. I just stood as perfectly still as I could, reminding myself "it's just a camera." I did so much worrying about how I'd look, I suppressed my personality in the process. The bubbly, lively person I naturally am was not there. I didn't want to see the footage. After reviewing the recording, we again reflected on things. The first thing I noticed wasn't a flaw, but an exclamation of surprise. I look pretty toned and tall on camera. My face was unique, interesting, and I even thought attractive! I saw possibilities in myself- I could play younger characters, androgyny could work, I even have facial features that could work for fantasy characters. I had a better gauge of what I have to offer the camera, not what the camera will broadcast about me. My nervousness about the camera didn't completely disappear, but it significantly reduced over the semester. It's not about looking good all the time, but using yourself well. Writing about on-camera experiences in a productive way is also very helpful. Finding 3 things you never noticed before, what surprised you, what actors you resemble, etc. can all help you focus on what's most important.

Ryan L. Jenkins

If the expression was a natural reaction to the moment, you can't worry about how it's going to look. People read things in different ways.

Josephine Croft

I've had a few scenes where I've hated the angle and I looked gross on screen. Although I guess we are always going to be harsher on ourselves, because other people may look at that and not see a problem. The problem is if you are conscious of what you look like on screen you wont be fully in the moment. I think we just have to be ok with all the ugly bits we have cause the camera will find them!

Andrew H. Masset III

I agree...we all have some quirks about how we photograph...Just do the scene and your talent will win the day..

Anne Gentry

Never fear Rock, unlike acting class, in real films and I mean even good student shorts, scenes are shot from different POV's. If you do something really boneheaded with your face it'll be edited out in post production. So, fear not, because that'll get in the way of your character development. I know I have a perfect face for radio ~ ha!

Anne Gentry

Oh and PS, instead of worrying about goofy facial expressions, concentrating on character development, you also will have time to think about continuity. This is really important in post. How do they connect up the different POV's if you make a gesture in one take and don't make it at the same place in another take. This comes down to eating with implements, touching another character, just about any little selection your character makes! Spontaneity requires so much thought that you will forget ALL about your face ~ ha!

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