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Body Language and Acting

June 8, 2017

Acting includes speech, facial expressions, and body language. This article covers body language.


What's some classic body language in motion pictures? One example would be two characters who turn their bodies in opposite directions to each other, while still talking to each other, in order to show they are mentally at conflict with each other in the movie. Many other such techniques help to communicate to the audience without any dialogue.


Those who learn to direct 'silent movies', and actors who act in the same, find themselves with great skills for movie making. Telling a story without words is an essential skill for both actor and director. An actor should attempt to first communicate their parts in the movie through their body only, then add their facial expressions, and their final addition should be the dialogue, but only after they have succeeded in communicating their message with only their body and facial expression.


For some basic facts about how body language communicates, in addition to the video clip following this paragraph, we encourage you to read the articles at this link. Wikipedia has an article on body language at this link which you also might find helpful. While they group facial expression in with body language, which is technically correct, we plan to split these two methods of non-verbal communication into two separate articles.



Although the character animation online courses at this link and at this link are primarily for learning how to create character animation with expressive body language, they also offer insight to actors and actresses regarding how to use body language to communicate.


Keep in mind that a strong speaker is the foundation to becoming a great actor; therefore, we encourage you to view the four videos below that will help you to improve your speaking ability by focusing upon your body language as a speaker.  We will follow those four videos with a number of pictures that depict various ways of communicating emotion and subtle meaning with your body. 




We hope the following pictures will be of help to you as you seek to learn more about how to use your body to communicate emotion and nuances of meaning to your audience.










 Take a moment and see if you can guess which emotion the below girl is displaying through her body language.






*The above photos are offered with comment for educational purposes in compliance with Section V of the Fair Use Act. If you believe any photo is in violation of any laws or impedes upon copyright provisions, please notify us and we will remove any photo upon presentation of such legal evidence.


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