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DaveH
Member
(01-13-2012, 03:33 PM)
Most actors can hold a steady gaze and eye contact during a close-in conversation scene, but I've noticed a few actors who should be looking into the eyes of the person they're talking to but instead their eyes move back and forth, left to right, continually during the scene. I'm curious if anyone with insight into acting knows why that is.

Some theories include script recall (the eye movement is involuntarily acting out the "reading" of a memorized script page), focal length (the close-in shots are ridiculously close and the eyes are jumping from eye to eye of the other performer in order to maintain contact), nerves (again the close in scenes are uncomfortably close), bad habit (they could maintain eye contact if they wanted but are speaking dialog on auto-pilot as their eyes rove around)... etc

So anyone know why some actor's eyes twitch back and forth during close-in dialog scenes?
Menelaus
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(01-13-2012, 03:35 PM)
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Lots of non-actors do this shit too.
Count Dookkake
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(01-13-2012, 03:35 PM)
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Examples would help.
dudeworld
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(01-13-2012, 03:36 PM)
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you can't look at both eyes at the same time during a conversation, so some people switch which eye they're looking at. you really didn't know this?
Osietra
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(01-13-2012, 03:36 PM)
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I used to have this problem, I solved it by just playing blind people.
btrboyev
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(01-13-2012, 03:37 PM)
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Cue Mark Walberg gif.

Actually I think the movement happens more frequently than you think, eye muscles constantly do this.
Escape Goat
(01-13-2012, 03:37 PM)
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Stet
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(01-13-2012, 03:38 PM)
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This actor actually has a condition where his eyes flit back and forth uncontrollably. Never found it distracting from his characters though.
rezuth
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(01-13-2012, 03:38 PM)
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I never look people in the eyes, I find it really creepy.
WhatRobEats
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(01-13-2012, 03:39 PM)
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Maybe they didn't memorize their lines and are actually reading them from a poster board behind the actor they are supposed to be looking at.
default two
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(01-13-2012, 03:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by rezuth

I never look people in the eyes, I find it really creepy.

The people you talk to probably find it incredibly creepy that you actively avoid eye contact!
Sentry
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(01-13-2012, 03:45 PM)
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Ultima_5
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(01-13-2012, 03:46 PM)
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Jeff Goldblum in the fly. Probably had more to do with the fact he was playing a neurotic scientist though
DaveH
Member
(01-13-2012, 03:46 PM)

Originally Posted by Ermac

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...Bes2JSQo#t=48s

I'm talking more about scenes that are so close-in there really isn't anything else for the actor to look at, whereas this guy is undoubtedly surveying the room. I already mentioned the focal length thing with the other person's eyes, but you'd imagine they'd be coached to focus on one eye.
oneHeero
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(01-13-2012, 03:47 PM)
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I'd say your theories would be pretty accurate, that's what would cause my eyes to twitch. I'm not an actor
dudeworld
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(01-13-2012, 03:47 PM)
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Originally Posted by DaveH

I'm talking more about scenes that are so close-in there really isn't anything else for the actor to look at, whereas this guy is undoubtedly surveying the room. I already mentioned the focal length thing with the other person's eyes, but you'd imagine they'd be coached to focus on one eye.

why would they be coached to focus on one eye when regular, non-actors do this too...
backflip10019
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(01-13-2012, 03:47 PM)
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Originally Posted by dudeworld

you can't look at both eyes at the same time during a conversation, so some people switch which eye they're looking at. you really didn't know this?

Agreed. It's more realistic, in my opinion, as well. Try to remember the last time you stared directly into the eyes of someone for an extended period of time without diverting your gaze. You can't.
Last edited by backflip10019; 01-13-2012 at 03:49 PM.
Count Dookkake
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(01-13-2012, 03:47 PM)
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Originally Posted by Ultima_5


Jeff Goldblum in the fly. Probably had more to do with the fact he was playing a neurotic scientist though

Such a great performance.
leadbelly
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(01-13-2012, 03:49 PM)
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Do people maintain eye contact at all times during a conversation? I think that would be a little intense actually. lol
DaveH
Member
(01-13-2012, 03:50 PM)

Originally Posted by dudeworld

why would they be coached to focus on one eye when regular, non-actors do this too...

Because most acting is less about reality and more about performance... you rip one during a take and they go again, they don't just use it one the argument that regular people fart. Make-up, hair, lighting, etc. Most close-in dialogue scenes are about a certain level of intensity, which is why most actors hold a steady gaze to project that.
ReBurn
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(01-13-2012, 03:52 PM)
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speculawyer
clairvoyancy is no excuse for trollin'
(01-13-2012, 03:52 PM)
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Lighting?
DaveH
Member
(01-13-2012, 03:52 PM)

Originally Posted by backflip10019

Agreed. It's more realistic, in my opinion, as well. Try to remember the last time you stared directly into the eyes of someone for an extended period of time without diverting your gaze. You can't.

The main way shows resolve this is by cutting away and showing the conversation from the other person's point of view. Realize that these scenes generally have speakers unnaturally close spewing ridiculous dialogue anyways so it's not like reality is the point, a stylized form of reality is.
DaveH
Member
(01-13-2012, 03:55 PM)

Originally Posted by speculawyer

Lighting?

More about style or performance than reality (like make-up, like holding a gaze, like standing unnaturally close during a conversation, etc). His argument is that "This happens in real life and thus should happen in performances." I'm saying that even if the window faces East, that won't stop them from using lighting to create a sunset shot if the performance demands it.
dudeworld
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(01-13-2012, 03:58 PM)
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Originally Posted by DaveH

More about style or performance than reality (like make-up, like holding a gaze, like standing unnaturally close during a conversation, etc). His argument is that "This happens in real life and thus should happen in performances." I'm saying that even if the window faces East, that won't stop them from using lighting to create a sunset shot if the performance demands it.

yeah you're really stretching it imo. the answer is because that's how some people have conversations. I, personally, only look in one eye and occasionally switch, other people constantly switch. I highly doubt it goes any deeper than that
MrOogieBoogie
BioShock Infinite is like playing some homeless guy's vivid imagination
(01-13-2012, 03:59 PM)
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Well, staring into someone's eyes isn't the easiest thing to do. It can be very nerve-racking.

However, speaking from experience, an actor whose eyes wander during a scene just isn't as emotionally invested perhaps into the circumstance or the person working opposite him/her as he/she can be.

If you're really, genuinely connected to the person standing across from you, as an actor all your focus and attention should BE on that person.
TheJollyCorner
(01-13-2012, 04:01 PM)
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at film school I worked with actors that would do this.

The ones I asked admitted it was a concentration method, i.e. slowly moving eye to eye to keep the rhythm of what lines they have memorized.

I tried doing it myself and it just didn't make sense to me. :/
aceface
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(01-13-2012, 04:04 PM)
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I think I read somewhere that those movements have to do with the brain's way of processing stress. Something to do with this? http://www.4therapy.com/therapy/type...g-therapy-2465
Davedough
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(01-13-2012, 04:06 PM)
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I've noticed people do it in real life too... like they cant decide which eye to look at
MrOogieBoogie
BioShock Infinite is like playing some homeless guy's vivid imagination
(01-13-2012, 04:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by TheJollyCorner

at film school I worked with actors that would do this.

The ones I asked admitted it was a concentration method, i.e. slowly moving eye to eye to keep the rhythm of what lines they have memorized.

I tried doing it myself and it just didn't make sense to me. :/

Because that's a dumb-fuck McActing style of line memorization.

As an actor, you never, EVER, under any circumstance want to have to remember what your lines are. It kills not only you but anyone else you're working with as well. You want the lines to be so emotionally embedded into your brain that they come off naturally reacting and working off the other person.
Raistlin
Post Count: 9999
(01-13-2012, 04:22 PM)
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Originally Posted by dudeworld

you can't look at both eyes at the same time during a conversation, so some people switch which eye they're looking at. you really didn't know this?

[/thread]
lethial
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(01-13-2012, 04:24 PM)
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Originally Posted by Stet



This actor actually has a condition where his eyes flit back and forth uncontrollably. Never found it distracting from his characters though.

It looked cool in the movie Identity.
ckohler
(01-13-2012, 04:24 PM)
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I noticed that Kate Mulgrew did this a lot in Voyager.
At first, I thought it was because she was reading a cue-card or something.
You can see her doing it a lot in this scene from the final episode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MzfK7f2Yik
Ushojax
Should probably not trust the 7-11 security cameras quite so much
(01-13-2012, 04:28 PM)
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What a strange thread. You can't look into both of somebody's eyes simultaneously, the eye is constantly shifting focus.
leadbelly
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(01-13-2012, 04:30 PM)
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Originally Posted by ReBurn

I think a conversation with that guy would be the thing of nightmares. His eyes would be etched on to my brain.
DaveH
Member
(01-13-2012, 04:35 PM)

Originally Posted by Ushojax

What a strange thread. You can't look into both of somebody's eyes simultaneously, the eye is constantly shifting focus.

What a strange comment since the context is acting where most of them can hold a steady gaze. Even if you want to say that doing so is an aberration, then the relevant reply would be how they do manage to keep their eyes steady, not how no one else possibly could.
Frankfurt
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(01-13-2012, 04:36 PM)
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You're telling me you've never seen a girl do this in real life?
dorkimoe
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(01-13-2012, 05:42 PM)
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ToxicAdam
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(01-13-2012, 05:44 PM)
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I'm always fighting with my dominant eye when I try to look into someone's eyes.
samus i am
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(01-13-2012, 05:46 PM)
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Why do some people have habits that are different from others?
NaughtyCalibur
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(01-13-2012, 05:48 PM)
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Aaron Eckhart was doing this shit in Battle: LA and it was bugging the hell out of me, haha.
disappeared
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(01-13-2012, 05:48 PM)
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I notice this in regular conversation all of the time. Although personally I find myself always just keeping contact on one eye.
wenis
Registered for GAF on September 11, 2001.
(01-13-2012, 05:49 PM)
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Originally Posted by samus i am

Why do some people have habits that are different from others?

because they suck obviously.
Sleepy
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(01-13-2012, 06:29 PM)
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I always thought that actors were in a sense "reading" their lines when they do that.
Joe Shlabotnik
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(01-13-2012, 06:32 PM)
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When that happens, the other actor is supposed to either Doubt them or accuse them of Lying.
Bread
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(01-13-2012, 06:37 PM)
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I can't keep constant eye contact in everyday conversations, it's too awkward and intense.
Duane Cunningham
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(01-13-2012, 06:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by RbBrdMan

Maybe they didn't memorize their lines and are actually reading them from a poster board behind the actor they are supposed to be looking at.

I've noticed the current cast of SNL is particularly bad about this.
Kinyou
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(01-13-2012, 06:43 PM)
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I think it's them switching between the eyes the look at. That would also explain why it only happens in close scenes.
Cynaith
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(01-13-2012, 06:44 PM)
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Gail from Coronation Street does this. I'm counting on a UK-Gaffer to back me up.

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