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June 8, 2011

How This All Began...

When I got into casting, the hardest thing for most actors to do was come in, see an ”X” written on a piece of paper taped to the wall, and give a specific reaction to it. Over the years, I saw the same actors repeatedly come in for callbacks and booking the spots. The question that came to my mind was: “What were they doing differently than everyone else?” So I studied them. What I noticed was that 4 things occurred consistently:
  1. the actor produced a recognizable facial reaction 
  2. the reaction was appropriate to the situation
  3. the actor produced a single reaction at a time
  4. the reaction was repeatable.
The fact that it was repeatable implied to me that there was an unidentified, and therefore, overlooked skill involved. Somehow these actors who were booking had the ability to interpret the circumstances given to them and react in a recognizable and appropriate way and I was determined to find out how. Over the next 8 years or so the answer came.

The Language of the Face, simply put, is the non-verbal means by which we communicate what we feel and think through specific emotional facial expressions. Although similar to body language interpretation, they are not the same. The science has shown us that the body tells us how well we are coping with an emotion; the face is the source by which we read it.

What I am talking about is not to be confused with ”face acting.” It is the direct result of thought and feeling. With over 140,000 permutations of facial expressions, the face is the densest source of information that we use to communicate.

The Language of the Face is based on the 7 human universal emotions. Anywhere on the planet, people will recognize and reveal with the same muscle groups:
surprise:
fear:
sad:
disgust:
happy:
contempt:
anger:


The actor who wants to work consistently, in front of the camera, needs to understand and create complex human emotions and reveal them in a visually recognizable way, on cue.

To speak the Language of the Face the actor must:
· Recognize how they personally reveal emotion
· Understand the nature of emotions
· Know what emotions look like on your face

When it comes to emotional reveal or specific reactions, the playing field is not leveled. Some actors where born to do it better. You can level it by understanding the Language of the Face.