7 Practical Tips on What to do With Your Hands When Acting

Hands When Acting: You Need to Move

Where are your hands when acting? Do you know? What to do with your hands when acting out a scene? Like most actors, they think too much about arms, hands and fingers inhibiting a natural flow. Obviously you want to do your best.

What to do with your hands when acting
What to do with your hands when acting

When you’re acting, it’s important to move your hands in a way that is natural and believable. Many stage folks wonder what to do with their hands when they’re performing. In this blog post, we will discuss seven tips on how to use your hands effectively while acting!

Hand Gestures are Part of Every Scene

As an actor knows, the scene requires complete engagement. From the lines you speak to the actual look you give, it must be believable. That’s why limbs are so important to use.

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It would be impossible to believe a situation of urgency without pointing to the problem or shaking hands in an emotional moment. What you do with your hands is how you share the emotional visual aspect of the scene. It’s just as important as delivering the lines with inflection and focus.

What to do with your hands when acting:

  1. Hand Gesture in sequence to a word you speak during a line to prove a point.
  2. Find a comfortable place to keep your hands to show apprehension (like a pocket).
  3. Place your hands when acting out emotion with a counter or pillow.
  4. Use your hands to point out a situation that is emotionally changed
  5. Grab on to an item or person with your hands to show compassion.
  6. Tap or bang with your hands to provide an impatient feeling.
  7. Rub your hands together to show glee or excitement

One important piece of advice acting coaches share is to use your hands to gesture. Don’t keep your limbs straight down the side of your body. Gesturing helps you express your emotions and can be used to emphasize a point. However, don’t overdo it. Too much gesturing can appear unnatural and may even be distracting to the audience.

Use Your Limbs

Finding the natural balance means allowing yourself permission to be part of the scene. Being natural as you speak the words and finding a truth to your movements. You might find yourself stiff when you think about moving your body. Instead think about moving your emotions in body language. Define how you project your character and share the flow that follows.

BONUS TIP: Never just allow your arms or hand to fall on your side without action. In the real world, arms and hands are animated as people engage with conversation. Move your elbows and arch your fingers. 

If you’re acting on television, it’s important to keep your hands in frame. The camera will capture your entire body, so you want to make sure that your hands are visible. This can be challenging, especially if you’re moving around a lot. But it’s important to remember that the audience needs to see your movement.

If you’re on stage, you need to consider framing your movement as well. However, you don’t have the camera to worry about, you have the audience to impress. Push yourself to keep your gestures loud while still appearing natural. The connection must be real and visual which is a fine balance that every actor strives to achieve.

In Conclusion

When you’re performing in a play, television show, or movie, it’s important to move your hands naturally. Don’t second guess yourself on where to put your hands, instead a natural flow that allows the viewer to connect with your scene and character.  This makes the scene more believable and realistic for the audience. In this blog post, we will discuss seven tips on what to do with your hands when acting!

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