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Learn The Art Of Listening In Acting | Where The Magic Lives

Acting for Camera: The art of listening and reacting

How An Actor Could Be A Magician And Mesmerize Audience

Just Listen

in the scene. It creates an honest connection between scene partners. The actor has to create a true response that can only come when really listening. Nothing can replace it.
The audience can even listen to the silence of someone. Listening is feeling in emotional reactions, body language, facial expressions, and energy.

You can’t “fake and act” listening

Never pretend to listen. Sometimes actors will move their head up and down, nodding or shaking their head, acting as if they are listening. How can you know whether you can agree or disagree until the other actor has finished their thought and lines? You have to wait and really hear and feel the actual thing that will generate your response.

The connection between speaker and listener is more important

Sometimes actors make the written words more important than listening to what lives beneath them. The truth of life is that the spoken communication never be more important than the underline meaning of the message.

How you listen

We respond differently in every relationship. Wouldn’t you prefer to hear bad news from one person rather than from another? We have special bonds with a select few. All of that is taken into consideration as part of the real communication.


Let’s say you are playing a small role as a young father. You are supposed to hear a bad that your 5 years old son has met with an accident and died. The messenger (who is a good actor) comes and delivers the message analyzing the moment and looking at you keenly watching your reactions and the way he thinks is the best. You don't have any dialogs.  How are you going to look at the messenger, and how you take the message, how you study the messenger eyes, how do you react emotionally and with gestures after hearing the news is crucial to your performance.

The only way to listen is to honestly engage in the activity of listening

Two  Listening secrets in auditions to win roles

1. Listening shows who you really are.

Listening deeply and reacting freshly either to your co-star (script reader) or to what a casting director is explaining to you,  gives a window into your internal life and remember,  while other actors in audition may also listen differently and may be casual,  no one will have the singular light that’s behind your eyes.

2. Listening helps you to impress the camera.

Dialogue is important. But a look can convey far more intent and mean on-camera than two pages of dialogue.

With so many auditions being put on tape these days, it’s essential that you not just stare into the camera, but use it to your benefit. The moments that are the most compelling and that live the longest in the memory of the audience are the wordless ones. Casting directors, producers, and directors all know this, and if you want the job, you need a technique that gives you the listening/camera skills that allow you to create these job-getting moments in the audition. You draw the viewers’ attention to you when you listen deeply and react genuinely, and that is especially important if the person who has the authority to hire you is not in the room, but watching your audition miles away in his own comfort.


An eyeline is simply where an actor is looking when you're shooting i.e. where he/she was looking– while acting a scene.
It's the wonder of actor's eyelines which speak everything without any dialog. Many actors are unaware of the importance and use of eyelines for the camera. Forget about training, many schools are aware of the concept of "Eyeline" in acting for the camera.  I consider the use of eyelines by an actor as one of the best ways to express emotions without dialogs. Here, the process of listening plays an important part and helps to react genuinely with your eyes.
And you can't use your eyelines without listening truthfully.

Please read "How to Use Eyeline for Camera"

Simple 3 Steps Techniques To Improve The Power Of Listening

Actors who are naturally curious see conversations as learning opportunities, an experience of something new of people, situations, moments, emotions and attitudes. They are always looking to discover or learn something new and see everyone they talk to as having the potential to teach them something.

1. Be Curious

Practice this in your acting and daily life. When somebody is speaking and you are a listener,  ask yourself- what good can it do to me if I listen attentively and respond genuinely?

2.  Put Yourself In Their Shoes

Whether you are supposed to agree with the speaking co-actor or a speaker in your normal life or even have an interest in what they have to say, remember what they are saying is important to them. Imagine yourself in their situation, wanting only to have someone listen to them. When they are speaking, make an effort to think of the moment they are in at present, the message and why are they speaking.  Imagine what their life is like and what struggles they might be facing. The camera and audience will appreciate that you made the effort to understand and really hear.

3. Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying

Allow your mind to create a mental picture of the information being communicated by the other

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This post first appeared on Best Actor Academy, please read the originial post: here

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Learn The Art Of Listening In Acting | Where The Magic Lives


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