122 That Spherical Organ
The human face alone was made up of 44 muscles. Through the combination of blood vessels, nerves, bones, and cartilage, people could make more than five thousand expressions. Just the motion of laughter alone, there were already nineteen known types, and the smallest change in the facial muscles would contribute to a different form of complicated emotion.
For example, in front of six pictures of a man with his eyes closed and lips wide open, could you tell which one was excited from winning a game and which one was ecstatic from having his proposal accepted‽
You might think this was preposterous; even the most experienced actor would not be able to tell such minute difference. However, while most people could not do it, it did not mean that no one could.
There was an American psychologist, Paul Ekman, who was known as the face reader. He was a pioneer in human emotions and facial expression. The series 'Lie to Me' was based on his life's work. Using his knowledge of 'micro-expressions', he helped his country solve many cases. Even the FBI and CIA had asked for his consultation on cases.
Ye Shuang had not been to acting classes and had no idea how they taught acting in acting school, but from how she understood it, acting was just another form of lying. A fake story and a fake character, the greater the liar, the better the acting. Those who could lie to the audience to make them believe they were inhabiting the characters were experienced actors.
For normal people, acting depended on getting into the character and, through that, the emotions that they felt would be more authentic. This was one reason directors preferred using actors who had a life story similar to the characters they were playing. It would be easier for them to get into character.
Ye Shuang did not know much about acting, but after her DNA optimization, the accuracy and control she had over every inch of her body was not something that could be rivalled by normal people. Instead of saying that she was there to learn from other people's acting, she was actually there to categorize the myriad rhythm of everyone's facial expression.
For example, how many muscles were involved in making certain expression? How taut should the muscle pull? Was it an upwards or downwards pull? What was the degree and angle of the pull? She did not have much time, so she came to the set to study the real actors' facial expressions. After she had familiarized herself with them, she would apply them herself.
When she returned, she needed to go watch some of the past Oscar-winning films. The actors would have a better control of their emotions. Of course, if she had time, she could also observe how normal people manipulated their expressions in everyday life and search for the psychology book to read.
Ye Shuang focused on the set, but Luo Ce had a hard time catching up. After he recovered from the electrically-charged gaze that Ye Shuang perfectly copied from Celebrity Luo, Luo Ce pulled out a cigarette and thought about it. He turned to look at the set, put the cigarette back, and could not help but advise Ye Shuang. "Xiao Ye… I still feeling controlling the facial muscle type of acting won't work…"
If this kind of preposterous acting style was so easy, why did so many people go for years of acting classes?
"You mean acting using the spherical organ is more usable?" Ye Shuang asked in return.
That is called acting using the gaze… Fine, maybe you would call it ocular muscle…
"Just an alternative name for it." Looking at how her cousin had such a hard time accepting this, Ye Shuang thought about it and opted for a different explanation. "This is an objective conclusion. If you still think it is too difficult to understand, just consider me a genius…"
Cousin-in-law, does my cousin know you're so… unique?
After another few exchanges, Ye Shuang stayed at the set to continue her study. Since she insisted on doing this, there was nothing Luo Ce could do but walk away with a heavy heart. He was going to talk to the young man who was trying to make nice with the film crew.
At the very least, Luo Ce had seen Ye Shuang's 'performance'. It was as impressive as the acting Celebrity Luo did several years ago. Even though it was an impromptu performance, when Ye Shuang lowered his head and chuckled to himself, Luo Ce automatically filled in the background of a depressed youth.
If he could replicate the same thing when Director Zhou was shooting the scene of the 'big brother', achieving Director Zhou's demands would not be too difficult. As long as Ye Shuang could manage what she set out to do.
The scenes shot that morning were successful. At the very least, they did not cut into the lunch break. According to legend, there was one time when Director Zhou was so angry that he forbad the whole crew from having lunch until the shot was completed.
Ye Shuang went to ask for a boxed lunch, too. After all, the crew had enough budget for that. In fact, occasionally, there might be leftovers for the crew members to take home as dinner or supper.
However, she was just snooping through the dishes of the boxed lunches when Director Zhou waved for her to come over.
"Did you get anything from looking around the set all morning?" Director Zhou asked as he shoveled food into his mouth. He could speak clearly even though he was chewing, but there was a deep line between his brows.
Normally, when a normal person was there to study acting, they would throw in the use of the mind, like imagining how they would react in the same scenario or how they could make a certain line feel more natural. However, whenever Director Zhou glanced at Ye Shuang in the middle of shoot that morning, he found this man… It would be wrong to say that
was not focused. The way Ye Shuang looked at the shoot was very focused, but that was the issue;
was being too focused… It felt like
was doing something like data entry instead of learning how to act.
Ye Shuang was focused, serious, but there was no showcase of emotions on
face, as if
wanted it to be as peaceful as possible.
But the most important element to acting was feelings or getting into character.
If you have no feelings, how are you supposed to act‽
Ye Shuang did not understand Director Zhou's worry. Her chopsticks poked into the rice, and she said, "It's going well."
She had collected plenty of data and had familiarized herself with the general rhythm. All that was left was minor tweaking and setting to make sure the expressions were closer to reality.
Director Zhou had little faith in this "it's going well." He thought about it but did not question Ye Shuang. He reached into his pocket to pull out a small mirror that he had probably prepared for this occasion. "If you're free, practice your expressions before this mirror. Actually, you have the talent; try to make some soft expressions and see whether you can make something of them or not."
Teaching slowly was impossible, so intensive training was the only choice. After all, Ye Shuang only needed to survive a few important cuts.
"Okay." Ye Shuang took the mirror and left. Without settling on a characterization, she did not want to waste her breath explaining it to others. Furthermore, she would change back to a woman that night. She could spend the three days finding relevant information. What if she accidentally showcased that she had a talent for acting and Director Zhou was so satisfied that he wanted her to stay for a few more scenes? What was she going to do then‽ Find a random lady to kiss?
After dealing with Director Zhou, Ye Shuang had to deal with her cousin. Luo Ce also came to check up on Ye Shuang.
Has cousin-in-law improved on his method, or has he found that it won't work after some exploration? If it's the latter, I should advise him to come up with an alternative solution.
Ye Shuang had more patience for Luo Ce. As she finished the boxed lunch, she explained to Luo Ce the relationship between micro-expression and emotions. This was also to prevent him for getting worried for no reason. Luo Ce thought about it and said, "Based on what you said, this method does sound doable, but it won't be easy to practice. Then again, that should be fine; you only have a few scenes in this movie."
"That's right. In the next few days, I'll go look for some books on acting and performance," Ye Shuang said, laying down the foundation for her upcoming disappearance.
Luo Ce relaxed slightly, and he had the mood to make jokes already. "Listening to what you said, the face reader is someone who is incredible. If you managed to master this, doesn't this mean you'll be able to read other people's mind in the future?"
"Not necessarily. For example, I can discern that someone is lying from minor details, but I cannot possibly know why he is lying. Another example—while I can tell someone is having a great day even if he appears calm on the surface, I won't know what made him so happy."
Ye Shuang explained just in case Luo Ce placed too much of his own imagination on this ability. "It's just reading a person's emotions from their expression, to see if their expression matches their emotions, that's all. After all, there are limited expressions to limitless emotions, so this is face-reading and not mind-reading."
Furthermore, this was not an exact science. Someone might be emotionally twisted. They might have a happy smile while killing someone. Because murder might not be a bad thing in their mind, the happiness on their face would not be faked. Similarly, children had innocent smiles, but many adults had seen children pull off the wings of dragonflies with such innocent smiles on their faces.
The rice of the boxed lunch was soon finished, and Ye Shuang gave the dishes that accompanied the rice to Luo Ce. This was one of the negative effects from the DNA optimization. Her tongue became too sensitive, and she had to spend most of her time outside being hungry.
She observed for the rest of the afternoon and departed from the set at 4 pm. She told Director Zhou that she was going to stay at home to focus on the script and acting for the next few days. Director Zhou was very satisfied with this and waved goodbye to her.
After Ye Shuang returned to her hotel, she went online to search for large, comfortable bookstores in Jing Hu City.
The face reader's book had been published about one decade ago, so she wondered if she could still find a copy.