Hello visitors! In the previous blogs, we learned about the basics of acting. Starting from essential tips for beginners to a brief description of the father of natural acting – Stanislavski, and his seven pillars of acting. The seven pillars of acting indeed work best for character actors to transform themselves into their character’s bodies. Not only does it strengthen the actor’s capacity, but it also adds naturalism to the plot. But there are several other aspects that an actor must have control over. One of them is HOW TO USE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS IN ACTING?
So, let’s move forward to discuss different aspects of acting. It is one of the powerful queries of new actors also on how to include variations in their acting. Mostly, the tool that comes to the rescue is an actor’s expression. It’s the primary tool to which most character actors adapt. I hope every aspirant learns the importance of expression in acting through this blog!
WHY ARE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS IMPORTANT?
Every artist owns a toolbox with which they work to convey their art. Different tools have their purpose, and each device satisfies the artist’s requirements at every stage. Just as a brush is to a painter and a cricket kit to a cricketer, an actor has his body language.
The most conveying part of an actor’s body is their face. An actor convinces the audience through the expressions accompanying their face and other elements of body language. Therefore, actors need to achieve control of their faces. Once actors know how to control and balance their expression, they can easily convey the expression they want most effectively.
THE SEVEN UNIVERSAL EXPRESSIONS
As much as the following example is relevant to a universal state, it is undeniably true for actors. We often come across the belief that a rainbow is made up of seven colours. But the universal condition of a rainbow is only obtainable by the three primary colours. The three main colours are precisely ‘RGB’ (Red, green and blue).
An actor’s expressions can have massive variations. A genuine and passionate actor can always analyze his character’s situation and adapt a specific expression accordingly. Character actors mostly enact based on what the expression must be if the problem emerges in real life. It is the key to achieving naturalism. Similar to the state of a rainbow, there are only some basic expressions, and several other existing expressions result from these basic expressions. The seven basic expressions comprise the term ‘universal expressions’. Let us discuss the seven universal expressions in brief:
- Eyebrows stress towards the center
- The upper and lower eyelids raise
- Lips tighten and roll up
- Lip corners narrow
The first expression among the seven universal expressions is anger. It ranges from a frustrating state of mind to yelling or even a steaming conversation. The characteristics of anger include variations in the degree of projection according to the situation. The following characteristics also depict the person enacting it as physically more robust. The scene is usually tense and dominant. Apart from facial expressions, it might include some bodily movements. Anger leads to quick variations in temper and an increase in voice pitch.
- Both eyelids and eyebrows raise, stressing the forehead
- Eyes are distinct
- Mouth usually stretches
- Such expression has quite a notable duration
The facial expression correlates the ongoing progressions in our brain to its reflection on our face. Fear in character makes it intense. It is an excellent opportunity to spellbound the audience with the intensity, and power one possesses as an actor. In one scene, an actor portrays a feeling of vividness and trembling but calm in panic.
- Wrinkling of the nose
- Jaws seem quite tense
- The eyelids, as well as the eyebrows, bend towards the center
- This expression wrinkles the nose for a while
- Lips loosen, and the upper lip and lower lip separate
The characteristic of wrinkling of the nose or nose scrunching is the most differentiable characteristic to recognize the expression of disgust. An intolerable act sometimes causes disgust. It can indicate an unpleasant experience or toxicity if it is due to a person. It is not essentially due to a person. The feeling of disgust can arise from a distinct smell, taste, or view.
- The eyes wide shut
- Muscles close to the eye tighten
- Cheeks and corners of the lips raise
It is one of the basic emotions in humans. The expression of happiness is eventually the result of smoothness or pleasure. It is notable for actors that it should not look forceful when one indicates satisfaction. One needs to imagine them in the situation of their character and deliver the expression freely.
- Inner corners of the eyelids raise
- Eyelids loosen
- Corners of the lips point downwards
A prominent indication of sadness is the angling of eyebrows towards the forehead from the center. Sadness indicates a feeling of disappointment. It can follow anything that does not occur according to our will. For an actor, it is crucial to mark significance while portraying the emotion as it has high variations with circumstances.
- Pupil in the eye dilates
- Pair of eyebrows raise and stress towards the forehead pointing above
- Eyelids also raise
- Mouth remains wide open
- The expression doesn’t last for a while
- Another expression usually accompanies it
One probably confuses the facial expressions of shock and surprise. Both commonly relate to unexpectedness. The words follow when something unpredictable takes place. The expressions can be impulsive. They are sudden reflections of the idea our brain receives.
- Commonly comes into use but rarely noticed
- The expression accompanies criticism in a scene
- Eyes remain neutral
- One of the corners of the lips points upwards while the other points downwards
Contempt is not a primary emotion. It is slightly tricky to recognize the expression. The distinctive characteristic is the slight pulling of lip corners upwards. An actor comes across this expression when the scene requires them to portray the feeling of superiority by considering someone else inferior. It aims at pointing out that the other character is worthless. On the other hand, the expression of contempt can range from resentment to delight.
HOW DO YOU PRACTICE AT HOME?
The expressions of anger, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, surprise, and content – comprise the seven universal expressions. These expressions play a vital role in identifying an actor for their versatility. Therefore, an actor must practice these regularly.
- Practice these expressions at home in front of the mirror.
- Turn on the music and try to control facial expressions according to the beat.
- Try out enacting different dialogues non-verbally.
- Improve your ability by observing and reading others’ emotions.
- Use your eyes while communicating.
- Observe what expressions follow your face when you taste, smell, or see different things.
- Learn and practice exercises for controlling facial expressions.
Every point above is essential if you want to practice expressions at home—especially the end concerning facial exercises. Exercising is necessary for actors to attain focus and control over their body language and expressions.
Hope the above information about HOW TO USE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS IN ACTING is useful. If you want to ask any queries or suggestion related to above content. Feel free to contact us, join us on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/anything_at_one/
In the next blog, we’ll devise practical exercises for controlling facial expressions. Watch our YouTube video on facial expressions in acting. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Press the bell icon for notifications. Stay tuned!
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