Sometimes I’ll look at acting for reference. Other times, I’ll study the hell out of these things such as magazine articles or real interviews. It honestly doesn’t get any more real than actually studying what’s around us in real life. This is a clip from the HBO show Band of Brothers about the War. At the beginning of each chapter they have an interview with real Veterans and survivors. Some of them heavy interviews like this:

It’s helped me tremendously to go over footage of real behaviour such as this. At this point this is not acting of any kind. It’s the real thing, and therefore there will be things in there no acting can replicate. This clip is a good case study for me in different ways:

  • There are two separate layers of emotions I see in here. The truly internal pain from his War experience he’s telling us, and his struggle to keep it together for the actual interview. One is fighting the other.
  • The clip starts with him addressing the interviewer (audience). He’s focused on him initially…as he tells the story, notice how he drifts and darts his eyes away. Almost like he’s watching again his past as he tells us the story.
  • “[…] get a Tattoo”: he seems to be starting to smile…and turns right away into a painful thing to remember. That emotional contrast face expression wise as wel as timing is a powerful. Gets a lot from me.
  • He corrects himself in the middle of his next thought and brings another memory. This is pulled through a head nod and a subtle blink. Not only that, he goes from looking at us (interviewer) to looking away for the second time.
  • “[…] chance to go home”. The subtext on his face after he says has even more meaning than what he said. It’s these moments where a character says something, and his reaction and/or thoughts to what he/she says that can make a statement even stronger. So his face is very emotional…and it goes into struggle/pain face.
  • Throughout this pain…the lips are shaking, constantly trying to hold the pain throughout the whole time. Almost as if he’s trying to close the mouth, but he can’t. Similar thing with his eyelids which go into barely open and closing repeteadly.
  • He pulls himself together and continues telling the story, and bringing it back to us the audience towards the end.

What was very interesting to study in this clip was that pain/struggle translated into the silence moments. This clip was a great example of how real footage sometimes is more interesting and educational than studying acting clips. You get choices/ideas that are even more powerful. So you end up sometimes studying things that can’t be acted, and that at the same time people can relate just so much to it.