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Sad! Nobody Trains an Actor How to Use Eyeline for Camera

The Great Actor Ben Kingsley
The wonder of actor's eyelines which speak everything without any dialog
One of the greatest Actors of Our Times-Sir Ben Kingsley ("Gandhi" fame)
Sir Ben Kingsley is an English actor. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has won an Oscar, Grammy, BAFTA, two Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards. Wikipedia

When I say "Eyes", I mean "Eyelines"

Training on Eyelines? No! I don't know of any in Mumbai. But, You are Welcome to Improve my Knowledge

There could be many reasons for this.

  1. A school may not be aware of the concept of "Eyeline" in acting for camera
  2. There is a  possibility that director | cinematographer is in a hurry to complete as many scenes as possible (may be in TV serials where they have to complete and film episodes on a  daily basis)
  3. The director may presume that an actor will adjust to his/her own eyelines  in a shot with the camera

Remember! A camera, loves eyes

What is an eyeline?

 An eyeline is simply where an actor is looking when you're shooting i.e. where he / she was looking– while acting a scene.

Why an actor should care about eyeline

An actor should care about eyelines because where and how an actor looks on screen gives viewers information about his character.
Though basically "Eyelines" is a subject of filmmaking, direction and cinematography as to where to place the camera, especially in 2 shot filming, it could be a great opportunity for actors to showcase their talents through eye expressions
In a cine industry of Bollywood or TV serial market in India, where there is a cut throat competition

Therefore, it's absolutely essential for actors how to position themselves suitably in a shot or at the audition to give a memorable performance

Two shot

Is a type of shot employed in the film industry in which the frame encompasses a view of two people

Using subtle eye expressions and eyelines in a close up shot in Jaguar Car Ad. José Mourinho, the driver in this Ad film is not an actor, but is a Portuguese football manager and former football player, who is the current manager of English club Chelsea. The film is a masterpiece of direction, cinematography and of course, of José Mourinho, as an actor. Wikipedia

Cheating Your Eyelines

In the movie business it is common to be asked to “Cheat”. Cheating is moving your body unnaturally to make it look better on camera.
There a ton of different “cheats” that happen on set. But, one of the most common is “Cheating your Eyelines”.
It is positioning your movements and body towards the camera. This will allow you to have more face time and look better on camera.
Despite the feeling of it being uncomfortable, this will allow for the audience to effectively engage with your actions and dialogue.

Some key points to remember

  • The moment you enter and ready for your shot, find out where the camera is
  • Whether you are in a shot as alone or with your co-stars or just standing there in a group and just have to give a reaction shot, without any dialogue, you must ensure that you are facing the camera. Even if you are not facing the camera, make sure that you can see the camera in the corner of your eyes.

Why this is necessary?

Because if the camera can’t see you, the viewers can’t see you

What to do in such a situation? 

Turn your body slowly without anybody noticing your subtle movements toward camera till you can see the camera (preferably its lens) and whether you have to speak or just give a reaction shot when somebody else is delivering his/ her dialogues, maintain your eyeliner in that position.

How to avoid the Major Mistake of eyelines in an Audition

For an actor, the most uncreative environment on the planet is the film and TV audition space or while you are ready for a shot in your scene in a location—multiple hot lights, a crowd of strangers, a place often windowless, and always airless.

Well, we have already explained earlier what kind of place you face while on a shoot for a film TV or for an audition

  1. When you enter into an audition room, you face in this terrible hole, trying to fully focus on your character. You stand on the mark, taking your eyelines to the reader (if there is one) or of the person you think is just some assistant rather than a  casting director or at anyone who is smiling and nodding at you, just off camera. 
  2. If he /she is just a reader and not a real co-actor from the script, your gaze is fixed at them rather than at the camera because they offer comfort in your moment of terror, they are the supportive sight in that unfriendly  space. You look at them because you can concentrate solely on delivering a good audition. You find it strangely relaxing, and you don’t have to worry about anything other than the dialogues. 

The consequences 

1. As most of the actors commit the same mistake, a casting director gets bored.
The frame size is the same for every person auditioning for a role. A casting director shoots every audition for a particular character in the same way. Consistent framing allows them to compare auditions and actors effectively.
2. But if you adopt a singular Eye line at anything else other than at the camera near or around the camera, the character you have created is stagnant and definitely looks “flat” to a casting director.

Many a times, I have seen actors place their toes obediently on the mark, get tensed as if they were at the firing squad, and then attempt to relax and deliver lines in a manner they think is better


Take 2 seconds before you start your audition, close your eyes; picture the setting of the audition scene. See the trees, or the cars, or people in front of you as the other restaurant patrons.
See them on both sides, but close and in line with the camera
Relax, go into your character and just shoot your lines!
Depending upon whether it’s a shot above your waist or a close up, or whether it requires movements or not you can move, but make sure that your eyelines are towards the camera and you can see the camera, even though the corner off of your eyes
Inspired by

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