Before I tell you about the 2 reactions you must have in your Emotional Toolbox, I want to make sure we're clear about a few things. Such as, what do we react to and why as well as, how reactions are expressed.
WHAT DO WE REACT TO
Simply put, reactions are triggered by specific opinions, beliefs, sensations or feelings about someone or something. The stronger the opinion, belief, feeling, sensation, potentially, the more intense the reaction. There are 2 important things you have to determine when you are breaking down the spot or listening to the explanation in the audition -
1. What specifically are you reacting to? and
2. Why are you reacting to it?
In other words, what is your opinion, belief, sensation or feeling about what's taking place?
HOW REACTIONS ARE EXPRESSED
Nonverbal Reactions can be express through 3 channels; the body, voice and the face. Since I'm focusing on the emotional facial reaction, here's a little backstory on the face. Your face has 43 muscles and capable of making over 10,000 unique facial expressions. Around 8,000 of those expressions are related to emotions and some related to sensations, such as; pain and pleasure. That's a lot of expressions for you, the actor, to concern yourself with when you are concerning yourself with creating truthfully and in the moment. The good news is, you don't have to.
Much of the emotional facial expressions we see in commercials are quickly recognizable because they spring from the
7 Universal Emotions: Surprise, Contempt, Disgust, Anger, Happy, Sad and Fear or combination of them. What changes from spot to spot is, context and intensity.
2 GAMES CHANGING REACTIONS TO KNOW
Watch the Hershey spot below. The 2 reactions the actors have to the taste of the Hershey Spread are excitement and pleasure. You'll recognize the excitement (right Photo) by the slight widening of the eyes and the pleasure (left Photo) by the relaxing of the eye lids and soft focus of the eyes or eyes rolling up.
The same excitement and pleasure will be in so many of your commercial auditions. Again, what will change is the context and intensity. They may be asking to see your excitement as mom brings in the turkey or the pleasure you get from smelling your freshly clean sheets. So whether you're excited about turkey or chocolate spread the same emotional facial reaction would be appropriate for both.
I know from my many years of casting that these 2 reactions absolutely need to be in every commercial actor's toolbox. I also know that the majority of the actors auditioning for a spot like this would think, ahhh "bite and smile". However, what if the client doesn't want you to smile at all? Where do you go there? Now you know you have an alternative to just bite and smile.
SUMMING IT ALL UP
Knowing how to trigger these reactions can give you an edge in your next reaction audition. Want to know what else is cool about these 2 reactions? If the trigger is strong enough, both of these reaction can organically trigger the emotion of happy. There's were your genuine smile comes from.
Check out the video and see just how each actor reacts to what they're tasting. See how the excitement and/or pleasure in each Hershey bite is what makes the spot work.
I hope this Reaction Tip helps you in your next food, candy, beverage, or any tasting audition.
I'm excited for you!!
Now, let me know how it goes...
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Author, Coach, Speaker
John is known to actors around the world as the Go-To Emotion Specialist.