To emote or not to emote?

Edmund Heng asks:

What is everyone’s advice when you get asked to emote more for a scene when you know that there’s absolutely no reason for your character to emote more than what you’re already giving. Especially since it’s film and the camera is close up on your face and emoting any more would just make it look very fake.

Answer from Henry Ong, Playwright:

Allow me, Edmund. What comes to mind is a line from The Charge of the Light Brigade. Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die. The thing is, not to overthink it. Just do it. If the director asks you to emote, go for it. That doesn’t mean, you can’t question. But often when you do (what you think is contrary to your original impulses), you may surprise yourself. Who knows, there’s a possibility that the director may decide, after seeing the emoting, that is may not be the right choice. And he/she would appreciate you for your willingness to give it a shot. Trust the process. It could lead to wonderful discovery. If not, it’s something to learn from. Not always easy because we struggle with conflicting voices all the time. Process, rather than result. That’s my mantra. It may not be yours, but that’s what I’m suggesting.


Got a question for us? Great! Submit your question and we’ll answer it as soon as possible. You can also make a request to remain anonymous on our ASK HCAC section.