So THAT’s Why Actors Blink So Rarely In TV And Movies

We’ve written before about how actors seem to stay so still when playing dead on-screen, and have even shared why kissing scenes look so… off.

But here’s something I never noticed until it was pointed out to me ― actors don’t seem to blink as much during filming as the rest of us do.

In a YouTube video, creator Brandon LeBaron shared that in his film class he learned about “all kinds of Hollywood techniques.”

Buta line from his textbook ― “actors must learn to look directly at each other, locking eyes and… seldom blinking” ― caught him off-guard.

Is that really what happens?

Actor Michael Caine said, “One thing that stuck in my mind was, ‘Don’t blink. You must never blink’. For the next eight years, I walked around trying not to blink. People around me, my mother and everybody, thought I had gone nuts.”

While Michael points out that some actors like Hugh Grant do blink a lot, it tends to appear as a kind of affected nervousness and is the exception rather than the rule, he says.

In a discussion on the acting forum Secret Acting Society, a member wrote, “From my experience, we don’t tend to blink when we are in the throes of conviction.”

Another said, “Blinking while talking is something that definitely implies to me as a viewer that the actor doesn’t believe what they’re saying… and hence, isn’t fully in character.”

This is in line with Brandon LeBaron’s theory ― pointing to a wide-eyed, unblinking scene in Interstellar, he said, “If you’ve ever been scared or afraid you might die… you’d probably look like this too.”

Does it just show fear or conviction?

No! Looking at The Great Gatsby scene where Nick Carroway meets the ludicrously rich Gatsby, the YouTuber points out that “Nick is not blinking” ― but once “Gatsby is revealed, the blinking commences as Nick is in shock.”

Blinking can be used to convey almost any emotion ― so like dialogue, actors and directors tend to use it sparingly and decisively.

In fact, ILM lead animator Shawn Kelly advised even those drawing their actors to be considerate about blinks.

They write, “Just like with every single conceivable aspect of your animation, you don’t do ANYTHING without a reason. You don’t move a single finger without knowing why your character is moving it, and the eyes (and sometimes even more importantly, the blinks) are no exception.”

So the next time you’re watching a movie or TV show, keep an eye on your favourite actor’s eyelids ― they might be working harder than you think.

Source link