Nov 17, 2019
“Whatever you do, don’t look at the camera!” While being filmed, actors know that unless otherwise instructed, not to look at the camera. The reason being, is that it calls the viewers attention to the presence of the camera, and to the fact that the characters know they’re being recorded.
The intention of a fictional movie, is to create something believable, something which the viewer can get lost in. To call attention to the fact that the characters know they’re being watched, can easily ruin this facade. The viewer is pulled back to their senses and the emotional investment in the plot is lost.
For the most part, it seems that mankind is doing an excellent job not looking at the camera. We seem to be so absorbed in the roles of the characters we’re playing, that even we forget we’re being watched, we forget this is all an act. This all makes for a very believable plot, when even the actors themselves believe the play to be real.
But what if you break character? What if you ignore the instructions? What if you look directly into the camera? Then the viewer, who is watching this whole act, comes to their senses, and recognizes they’ve been watching a play, and the actor discovers that without the act, they themselves, are that which is viewing. In that moment, the act of separation is over.