It was three months after I filmed my first national TV show. The morning of the premier, my heart was racing and it wouldn’t stop for the rest of the day. I was excited to actually see myself on television, I was excited to prove to my friends and family these years of hard work were finally paying off, and I was excited to actually have my face in-between commercials (strange, I know). When the show was about to air, my heart rate quickened so much I thought I was about to faint. Struggling to concentrate past my thumping heart and aching stomach, I finally saw it – myself. In a state of shock I smiled, then I began to frown.
This was the first moment I was actually assessing my performance on a large scale. Before this moment, all my productions were independent films and student productions; however, what I was currently seeing was being broadcast into millions of homes throughout the nation. It was in this moment that I realized how important self-assessment is not only to enhance my performance, but to also build my self-confidence as an actor.
As a camera actor, you must learn how to assess your entire performance as well as zone in on specific body movements. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of yourself to monitor is your facial expressions.
Assessing Your Facial Expressions
After taking a moment to revel in your success of being in a film or TV show, you must immediately begin to assess the movements of your facial expressions. Unlike stage acting, the bulk of believability for the camera actor is the production of facial expressions. Because the camera primarily focuses on an actor’s face, this is where the truth of your performance will be revealed; however, it is also where the failures of your performance will be amplified.
To assess your facial expressions, you must remove all personal connections with your performance. Self-biased performers will never truly see their performance.
Zone into your face during the performance; does it look natural? Are your facial expressions forced? Are they appropriate given the scene or are they slightly off-colored? Are these facial expressions appropriate for the character not only in the context of the scene, but also within the context of the character?
By analyzing your performance (specifically your facial expressions) you can then truly see where your weaknesses are and then have a clear picture of what you must work on before your next film shoot.