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"One of the most technically focused on-camera manuals on the market" –

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The camera changes our perception

of the human face.

Learn how to work with

the camera's perspective.


Watch clips from The Science of On-Camera Acting Seminar at The American Film Institute in Los Angeles

Techniques for actors and professionals making on-camera appearances.


The 1900's marked the birth of modern neuroscience and the advent of motion pictures. During this same period the major acting theories were popularized. What we now know about media, perception, human facial expressions, and psychology, is light years from what we knew when these fields were first established. Yet the vast majority of on-camera training today is some derivation of older methods based on misguided tropes of their time.


The world's leading expert on the science of emotional expression, Dr. Paul Ekman, shares recent discoveries in behavioral science to help improve work 

in front of, and behind, the camera.  


The Science of On-Camera Acting Includes:


  • Understanding the camera's unique perspective. So you never have the thought why am I doing that with my face?! when watching yourself on camera.


  • Saccades, fixation, and nictation: how the camera "reads" your thoughts.

  • How the camera reveals your emotional intensity via the indentation between your collarbone and surrounding muscle tissue.

  • Where you show fear, and why every human can sense it.

  • Impulse as your most powerful tool and how to use it with precision.

  • Understanding the cognitive and physical mechanisms that make up your personality (how people "see" you).  

  • How to make a 180º transformation into compelling and believable characters completely unlike yourself.

  • What the camera sees on your face when you are trying to remember a line.

  • How to develop a rapport with the camera and avoid coming across as dry, stiff, awkward, and impersonal when delivering scripted material or during interviews.

  • Simple, science-based, psychological exercises created for Olympic athletes and adapted for media professionals to stay relaxed and focused under pressure. Great for directors and producers when you need to get the last shot and you are losing light.

  • Why Stanislavski abandoned The Method in favor of a non-analytical approach.

Reference section for the book

The Science of On-Camera Acting 

Michael Cera satirizes actors in auditions. When focused on delivery instead of meaning, lines may be spoken with odd inflections or mispronounced (starts 38 seconds in).  

The Kuleshov Effect: the audience infers their own meaning of what is taking place on a human face based on context:


For one episode, the single-camera, half-hour comedy sitcom Scrubs changed formats to a multicamera, half-hour sitcom.  The episode was called "My Life in Four Cameras."  The change in formats required a change in acting style.


Click here to participate in the experiment at Human Emotion Systems laboratory, Aalto University that tracks where emotional experience resonates in the body.

Elocution Solution Video Handbook. Speech pathologists Harriet Pehde discusses the proper pronunciation of the /t/ sound.

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