by Nicolas Pinzon
First and foremost, as many editors would tell you, I look at the eyes. Many times a single blink signifies the end of an entire thought. Think about it; in real life, when your mind goes somewhere, your eyes do as well. Then, when another thought comes, the position of your eyes usually changes - almost as if the movement of your eyes was following the movement of your mind. That is something I think actors should remember – if the scene requires intensity, keeping your eyes fixed usually allows the editor to hold the cut longer because your eyes will be telling the audience that your mind is still in that thought. Similarly, movement of your eyes can signify a thought process, where each motion takes the audience into a new thought. This is not a rule or something you should exaggerate, but when it comes to the screen, your eyes are everything, and I believe its something you should be conscious about.
In addition, a good actor gives the editor subtle variations. I love when an actor gives me different performances to play with, and not the same one in every take. But it absolutely drives me crazy when those differences are so big that it is impossible for me to match what the actor did in one take to what he did in another. Many times, when I’m editing less experienced actors, I am delighted to see a great take only to realize moments later that that take is unusable because the actor grabbed a prop or changed his position in a way that is completely different to every other take he did and so it destroys continuity. I rarely see this happen with more experienced actors. Variation is fantastic for the smaller movements: the eyes, the mouth, the fingers, but bigger movements should be consistent between takes. Consistency doesn’t only make my job easier, it also ensures that I can use your best performances. We’re on the same team – like you, I want your performance to be amazing, and I want to use your best takes.
Last but not least, great actors listen. It sounds like a very basic thing and it’s probably important in theater acting as well. But when it comes to camera acting, I believe listening to the other actor’s words is even more important than it is on stage. Often when I’m editing beginner actors I decide to cut to a shot of them listening only to find a complete deadpan expression. It is quite easy to tell the difference between someone who is listening and someone who is waiting to say their lines. It’s in the eyes every time. They are the window to your soul and a dead give away as to whether you're engaged or not. I end up having to recreate the moment by using footage from another part of the scene but it’s never as good as the actual reaction to the words.
At award winning reels we use our expertise in writing, directing, and editing to craft the best quality actors’ reels in Los Angeles. We are passionate about producing the type of footage that will impress casting directors and will showcase the individual that you are. We won't let you get away with an empty performance. In our vote, the "eyes" have it.