3 Great Tips On How To Laugh for the Camera

If you are acting for the camera, there's good news and bad news. 

The good news: you can create many different takes and an editor/director can choose the one that works best. The bad news: film crews are expensive, and time equals money. The director will grow impatient if you can't come up with a right realistic la. Depending on the scene and your fellow actors, off camera interaction, can often evoke genuine laughter. Also, surprise moments between actors can work wonders -- as long as the director appreciates!

How To Laugh

For some actors laughing on *cue can be just as difficult a task as crying on *cue. Here are a few tips on how to laugh effectively:

  1. First and foremost, keep your attention on the scene and on your partner. If you are truly engrossed in the moment of the scene, the laugh will come organically.
  2. Think of the kind of laugh required for the moment. What size or type of laugh is an appropriate reaction to the situation? Sometimes a little chuckle is far more effective than a belly laugh. Although a seemingly inappropriate laugh may work as well, particularly if you are acting in a comedy.
  3. Be aware of the what the mood of the scene is and decide how your character would honestly react. After that, forget about it. Let the moment carry you through.

When To Stop Laughing

You cannot continue laughing until eternity unless of course, your character is a maniac. This would depend on the character you are playing. If the role is comedic then an abrupt end and remaining still may work.
For example, you are playing a character of a subordinate and your boss slips while sitting or mispronounced a word or drops something, which has evoked a laughter in you (natural). You have to stop suddenly and froze realizing that your laughter may be insulting to your boss.
In a second situation, you are sitting with friends and enjoying jokes. Here laughing belly out may be okay

Watch How Others Laugh

As an actor, you are probably a people watcher already, and if you haven't taken up the pastime of carefully watching others, it's time to begin. Spend the next five days observing different categories of people  how others laugh.

  • Do they giggle in a high pitched spurt?
  • Do they do a courtesy laugh just to please others?
  • Are they intoxicated?
  • Maniacal? Childish?
  • Are they laughing sarcastically? Uncontrollably?
  • Are they trying (but failing) to hold it in?
  • Take notes if you can.
Here are some of the contemporary laughing style for actors to learn. Few of them are never taught in any acting school and are great to surprise a casting director or a Bollywood director. You can find these laughs in live video attached below:

  • Wheezer Laugh:  The wheezer laugh is the high-pitched whining laugh that sounds like an exploding steam engine.  The person affected tends to have trouble breathing for minutes.  this type of laugh is usually sparked by an unexpected occurrence, like a nun swearing or me telling a funny joke that everyone gets.
  • Chuckle laugh:  The chuckle is the I-really-don't-want-to-laugh-but-think-that-it-is-funny laugh.  Usually, this laugh occurs when someone (like a teacher) in authority finds an underling's statement and/or body reaction to being funny, but also thinks that it would be inappropriate to laugh.  An example would be the time a guy farted in class and a girl asked what funny thing did he say when everyone started to giggle.  Needless to say, it was a struggle not to laugh my ass (or other bodily appendages) off.
  • Mime laugh:  This is the totally silent laugh that only dogs can hear.  the person appears to be laughing heartily, but no sound is heard.
  • Machine gun laugh: when someone laughs like a machine gun. A laugh that is very choppy- for example, the boy had a machine gun laugh. it sounded like a machine gun.
  • Cackle laugh:To laugh or talk in a shrill manner. For example a witch laughter
  • Tee-Hee laugh: a giggle, a cute laugh as in case of a school girl
  • Repeater laugh: when one laughs in the same way as the other
  • High Society laugh: A high profile lady or gentleman laughings in a subdued manner, may be with no or small sound 
  • Lost control or crazy laugh: Laughing wild or in a bizarre way without exercising any control
  • No smile laugh: Laughing within, may be producing sound but without smile
  • All nostrils laugh: Laughing with expanded nostrils
  • Contagious laugh: A kind of laugh which makes others laugh. You continue to laugh and people around you continue to laugh hearing your laugh (http://youtu.be/W59znLRtokk)
  • Doesn't get it laugh: A person laughs though he/she doesn't understand what is the issue
  • Thrower laugh: As a response, a person laughs throwing out whatever the person is drinking
  • Dancer Laugh: Laughing making dancing poses

*cue: a thing said or done that serves as a signal to an actor or other performers to enter or to begin their speech or performance.
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