Acting & Filmmaking


Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Key tips to achieve realistic performance

As a human, we go through varieties of emotions every day. Everyone around us just gets to see a glimpse of our inner emotions until we reach an emotional boiling point where we burst out revealing our inner feelings. These hidden layers of inner emotions make us complex but real. Realistic acting is about living the life of a character on screen the way we live our lives subtly with layers of hidden emotions.

Following are the key tips to avoid overacting and to ensure a realistic performance.

Pre-determine the intensity of the required emotion.

Mark your scene in terms of which emotions you need to portray and what should be the intensity of those emotions. In one single scene, you may be required to portray 2-3 emotions either one after another or all simultaneously. You need to predetermine what should be the intensity of those emotions. For e.g. you may not need to be very angry in a particular scene and just a bit of displeasure is enough. Or no need to forcibly show love, rather a quick glance with your dilating pupils may be enough.

"Micro-expressions are the leakage of your true inner state"

You can not pretend micro-expressions.

The camera sees it all. The camera even notices the micro-expressions which most of the actors are unaware of. These are the quick movement of your facial muscles reflecting your true inner state. If you are not fully living the character, your micro-expressions will leak your true emotional state. For e.g. As a character, you are happy in a scene with a big visible smile but a partially open eyelid or slow winking may reveal that you are sad as a person inside. Unless you truly live the scene you will emotionally leak through micro-expressions.

What you feel inside, gets reflected outside.

As an actor, you may be doubtful that your inner feelings may not be visible outside. Hence you try to spoon-feed your audience through some visible expressions or movements making your performance pretentious. Be assured that your expressions, gestures and body, all are so well connected with your brain that your inner feelings, however, minor those may be, reflects through your body & face. Trust the god’s design & don’t force it. True feelings inside gets reflected outside by default.

Let your own emotions be the yardstick.

Your day to day real emotions is the only yardstick you could use to assess if you are overacting. For e.g., if your character is stressed in a scene, assess how you personally behave in such a situation in your real life. Maybe in your real life, you don’t shout or pull your hair when stressed, maybe you just sit down with horizontal wrinkles on your forehead and look around seeking help subconsciously. Your own emotions guide you as to what should be the intensity of emotion in a scene. Use them to avoid overacting.

"If you pretend, the camera shows you pretending. If you live the emotions, the camera shows you living it" Tanveer Ahmed

Act to express not to impress

Unburden yourself from the pressure or intent to impress your co-actor, director or audience. If you deviate from the objective of living the life of the given character to impressing the audience, you will end up over performing. Hence act to express your character's emotions and not to impress the audience.

All the above points are applicable to a character, script or director’s vision which needs realistic performance. In the business of entertainment, over performances and drama do sell as good as realism. Understanding & achieving realism in acting gives you the ability to regulate the intensity of your emotions which one can also use to overact in a scene consciously and believably if that’s what is required at times.


Tanveer Ahmed

Director at Creative Bites

Media Production & Training

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Learn to assess if you are made for the field of acting.

It’s quite normal to get attracted to the field of acting or wanting to learn acting for fun. It is fine to explore film acting as a hobby or passion or profession but are you truly made for acting?

There is a difference between being interested in something and an ‘inner calling’. We would all like to be the president of the country, or a football player, or an actor for that matter but is that your true calling?

How to understand if acting is your true calling.

If deep down in your heart, you have a feeling that you should pursue acting. You don’t know, how good, bad or successful you are going to be but you know that you should do it. That gut feeling is your inner calling.

"Your soul knows its role." Tanveer Ahmed

Easy to say, but difficult to follow your inner calling.

For the whole life, we suppress that inner calling and reason ourselves that it won’t work out. Your excuses, however genuine, are just a way to fool yourselves. Deep down in your heart, you know that you are just being lazy, scared or selling an emotional reason to your brain to be at ease. Instead of asking why you should not pursue it, if you ask your brain how you can pursue it, your subconscious will serve you with thousands of different ways to make it happen.

For everything else, we had a choice, we chose that dress, we chose that shoe, we chose that life partner but inner calling is for something nature has chosen for you and have put it deep down in your heart.

Inner calling turns to inner remorse if not followed

After every few days, an inner voice whispers to you to pursue it. You can choose to ignore it. As the age passes, that inner calling will slowly turn to inner remorse (wish I had done that). That inner remorse will always exist in you until your soul departs from the planet earth as your soul knows that it did not fulfil what it was meant for. Trust me “The soul knows its role”.

What if I am feeling Inner remorse now for not having followed my inner calling for acting?

Do it now stupid :) and you should be fine. There is no age to learn acting or to follow your inner calling.

Can I have a normal life following my inner calling?

If you follow your inner calling, you will not have a normal life surely, as your inner calling does not want you to live a normal life like others. 30 to 60 minutes every day following what your inner voice wishes you to do should be enough to start with. You don’t need to immediately jeopardize everything.

What if I don’t have any inner calling?

Ask your brain. Put your subconscious mind to work. Let your subconscious explore the database of the universe connected through you and serve you the answer. The answer comes if you seek.

What if I have many inner callings?

Show it to the doctor immediately :) :). Do not mistake your different skills, wishes & aspirations to your inner calling.

It is fine to pursue acting if you have got attracted to the field if you wish to get name, fame, money or just for fun or build one more skillset. There is no harm in it. 

But it’s a crime against yourself if acting is your true inner calling or seems so and you ignore it. Do not reject a gift or talent offered to you by the universe itself. 


Tanveer Ahmed

Director at Creative Bites

Media Production & Training

233 views0 comments
  • Tanveer Ahmed

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Key tips for stress-free acting performance.

The very first time when you stand in front of an audience to perform a scene, you realize that you never looked at the world this way ever. Several eyes gazing at you to see what would you say or do.

Whether you are acting in theaters, for the camera or performing a scene for radio broadcasting you will always have the audience with those gazing eyes. They may like your performance, hate it or hate you for what you did.

When you perform a scene badly, some will say it upfront, for others, you can see it in their eyes or in those false appreciations and off course some of them (close to you) will openly ridicule.

There is a chance that you might expose your lack of talent or make yourself look like a fool or might lose an audience who earlier liked you. Every single actor whether a fresher or a veteran goes through it. You are surely putting yourself in grave danger. Hence acting is surely an act of bravery.

"Your defects in future might be seen as the biggest strength or a unique style in you"

Here are 5 quick tips to mentally prepare you for a stress-free performance as an actor.

1. Do not be happy for appreciations or be sad for criticisms. When you hear people saying your performance was great or your performance was bad, both of them are wrong. Do not take any of them seriously as you are just a student of acting, who is trying to find a better way to perform. Do not be happy for the appreciation or be sad for the criticism. Keep walking on the path of learning acting and its better if you never arrive at any destination. You should never be a good or bad performer but should always remain a student.

Film Acting Course in Dubai by Creative Bites

2. Perform for yourself and not for others: Do not perform to please others. Perform for the sheer joy of it.  If you would try to make your audience happy, you would end up performing how they would want you to perform and you would keep repeating what they like. This will make you a prisoner of your own audience. Perform just to enjoy and strangely when you enjoy performing, the audience will enjoy it too. Hence perform for yourself and not for others.

3. Your abnormalities are the abilities normal people do not possess: Let everyone see your faults, defects, your strange way of talking, your strange way of standing, the audience will see all your defects along with all your strengths. All your strength when combined with all your defects make a unique combination and that is you. Your defects in future might be seen as the biggest strength or a unique style in you. Your abnormalities are the abilities normal people do not possess.

4. Perform to fail forward: Perform, get criticized, self-analyze, feel the fear and anxiety, change your way of performing or rehearsing, perform again, get criticized gain, get ridiculed again and keep failing forward.

5. One performance cannot fit for all: Remember that your performance will never be liked by all. If that happens maybe some of them are just lying to you or are under a pressure to show as if they liked your performance just because many others are saying it. The reality is that you will never be able to satisfy all your audience so stop trying it.

Get ready for your next acting performance. Let me know in comments if these tips were helpful for you as an actor.


Tanveer Ahmed

Director at Creative Bites

Media Production & Training

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