2.4 Acting

Acting makes a significant contribution to the storytelling in narrative film, most of the time actors contribute to narratives with a subtle gesture or a nuanced mannerism.
Through a simple glance or gesture actors can convey a great deal about the inner lives of their characters.
According to film theorist Bob Foss, the most convincing actors are those who have “mastered the language of the body, a subtle combination of outward appearance and underacting.
What we should aim for is economy of expression, the greatest possible effect with the least possible effort.
A glance can express much more than a violent gesture.”


• Watching a scene without audio can often draw your attention to how acting contributes to the narrative.
• Consider how the facial expression, eye movement and gestures of an actor contribute to the narrative.
• How an actor delivers a line is important. The words may have one meaning, their delivery another.
• Acting is often used in conjunction with other production elements. Close-ups are often used by directors to emphasise the expression on an actor’s face.


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