I wanted to start bringing up little points with examples of clips I have at home, that hopefully may make you start looking at things in different ways. Check out this clip down below of Julia Louis (Elaine) in the TV show Seindfeld.

She’s got one of the most expressive faces. And what makes her facial choices original, is that those are expressions you’d never imagine someone making given the context the conversation is on. Look at these choices, and it’ll start giving you an idea of how out of the box this actress is. Easily one of those actresses that I go back to see how she approaches a situation from an acting/choice point of view.

A few things to point out:
  • Just because your character is upset or angry, doesn’t mean that you should have an upset or angry expression. Sometimes a character that’s so upset or sad that can’t even handle their feelings, they display emotions through laughter or smile.
  • Take advantage of our face and what the muscles in our face can do. Sometimes we are limited to rigs capabilities, but I’ve seen animators pull off amazing expression choices with simple rigs. Timing and posing play a big role on this.
  • Pay attention what people around you do with their faces. You may find more gold in your friend’s expression, than an actor in some film.
  • Sometimes little changes in the face can go a long way. A simple lip change can display more emotion than a full on facial change.
  • Think what the subtext of the shot it.
  • What’s the character’s personality? This is very important. A different character in this show may not be able to pull these facial expressions because of his/her personality. So think about the personality, as that’ll guide you more in your facial choices.

Enjoy.

Carlos.