September 27

 5 Things Actors Say You Should NEVER Do on Video


5 Things You Should NEVER Do on Video 

You’ve probably seen your fair share of distracting behavior in virtual meetings. A handful are memorable for their shock value – eating on camera or chewing gum, unflattering camera angles or inappropriate sightings. However most behaviors fall short of searing themselves into our memories, instead taking us out of the moment and away from the message by drawing attention to that behavior. Repeated, these seemingly benign behaviors can lead to an undeserved negative view of the speaker. As an actor, I quickly learned  5 things you should never do on video: 

5 Things Actors Say You Should Never Do on Video:

1. Touch Your Face (Your Hair, Or Your Head)

In film or tv, if a character repeatedly touches their hair or head it’s typically to indicate that they are nervous or vain. Not qualities you want people to associate with you! And in the tight frame of the camera, your face is in the spotlight. And unlike if you were in person, there’s not much else for your audience to look at. Humans intuitively respond to movement. That means brushing the hair out of your eyes, scratching your nose, or touching your face will grab your audience’s attention. And while their focus is on that behavior, they have disconnected from you and your message.

2. Forget the Camera Is the Eyes of your Audience

Have you ever been watching a film or television show and felt like the actor was talking directly to you?  When a character looks directly at the camera they are looking into the eyes of their audience. Not making eye contact through the camera is one of the biggest mistakes business people make on video. After all, eye contact is vital for building trust, conveying confidence and interest. But it’s a counter-intuitive as we are drawn to look at a person’s image on our screen. Fortunately, actors have developed a technique for looking at the camera which you can use too, click here. 

3. Make Quick Movements

As the great actor Sir Michael Caine put it, “Theater acting is an operation with a scalpel, movie acting is an operation with a laser.” Large, rapid movements dominate the screen and are often overwhelming and indecipherable to your audience.  Movements must be much slower and more deliberate on film. Not only do things get blurry when you move too quickly on video (especially with greenscreens!), but it also makes you look nervous and insecure, again, not something you want to communicate to your audience!

4. Move towards the screen

In film there’s the Medium Close-up (head and shoulders) and then there’s the EXTREME Close-up (head or even partial head only).  The extreme close-up is very rarely used as it’s quite jarring and even aggressive. (It’s also universally unflattering to all but the most genetically perfect.)  The problem is that anything you place close to the camera lens will appear disproportionately large. Whether that’s your hands, your face, your pen, and your wireless presenter.

In an effort to connect with their audience, many people have a habit of lunging toward the camera with their head, torso, or arms.  This well-intentioned, yet jarring experience puts you in an extreme close-up view, which can appear aggressive and in-your-face to your audience, especially to certain cultures or people you don’t know well. 

Practice maintaining an even distance from the camera and keep gestures close to your torso to avoid distracting your audience or worse. 

5. Hide your feelings

Why is a movie typically more powerful than a book or a teleplay?  Because you get to SEE the actor experiencing emotions, and emotions are contagious. They also allow us to connect with each other.  But most people have a very flat demeanor on video and share very little emotion. In person, you might get away with this business poker face because it’s offset by your energy or your overall body language. But on video, your face looms disproportionately large. To not use your face to enhance communication and build relationships is a poor use of prime real estate. After all, if your face has nothing to say, why have your camera on?

Many of these same behaviors wouldn’t cause you to bat an eye if you saw them in person.  But remember, the camera’s magical magnifying lens and the narrow focus of your audience compounds their impact. Multiplied by repeated or several different types of distractions and your virtual credibility and effectiveness goes down.  You will learn how to “spot” these behaviors and correct them in my book, Look Me In the Eye.

In Look Me In the Eye, you’ll discover how actors, reporters, and other on-screen pros form personal connections with people through the screen – and how you can apply their secrets to build stronger relationships in business that drive sales!

Get your copy of my new book that won the 2021 Gold Medal Top Sales Book on Amazon today! 



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