TV Acting Theory: The Road to Johnlock
So I recently took a TV Acting course and I realized when looking at Sherlock you can apply the theory to the show, and it perfectly supports a Johnlock reading. So much so that any other reading doesn’t make sense.
I have seen a lot of meta referring to John or Sherlock’s “facial expression” during a certain scene, which is what I want to elaborate on since there is so much more to it than that.
Basically, acting on camera is thinking thoughts on camera. So if you are doing a scene where you love someone and your line is something like “You told me that yesterday” and you want it to be loving, all you have to think before you say that line is “I love you” and the line wont sound condescending. You could think something like “I hate you” before you say the words and the line will sound completely hateful.
I mean the whole theory is created to make camera acting realistic, since you can literally see every detail when the camera is in close-up or even medium shot. There is no room for mistakes in a take. And so camera acting theory all boils down to the specific and the miniscule; we think thoughts all the time, and therefore actors must think thoughts all the time, in character, that supports the story that the creators are trying to tell.
The fun part is then seeing how one thought can totally transform a persons face when they think that thought. Try it yourself; go in front of a mirror and think “I love you” and see what happens. Now think “I hate you” and see how your face changes.
This is where memes come from, you can take a picture of someone thinking a really clear thought and add any text that matches that thought.
This is a clear thought of sarcasm. You can see he is thinking something like “Oh really?” There is no way he is thinking “I love you,” maybe a bit of “I hate you.” But regardless the person that he is speaking to is not someone he likes. His thoughts are clear and concise, which makes it a perfect meme.
So now lets apply this theory to Sherlock. We know that the actors were told the end game from the very beginning of filming, and so they will naturally use thoughts that support that end game from the beginning of the show. This will add continuity and make sure that their character doesn’t later act “out of character” because they will already have been thinking those thoughts from the beginning.
Let’s take a classic example:
What thoughts does it look like he is thinking?
“I hate you”/ “Leave me alone”/ “This sucks”?Not even a little bit!!! When you look at him, those thoughts don’t make any sense.
He is clearly thinking something like “I love you”/ “I want you”/ “This is fun/ My bedroom is just a cab ride away” You can also blatantly see that he is looking at someone who he is attracted to based on those thoughts. It looks as though he is undressing Sherlock with his eyes. Martin is a good actor, this is not coincidence. The editors also chose this shot, they know how it looks and this is the one they chose.
This can also apply to a whole string of thoughts in sequence.
He is definitely thinking something along the lines of “Oh god I love him/but he’s not mine anymore/John I’m sorry/I love you/You broke my heart”
He is not thinking “John I’m so happy for you! You did it! You found love! Maybe I should get married! That would be awesome! Just like today has been! Yipee!” Therefore the ONLY reading of this scene is Sherlock is in love with John and is not having a fun time at this wedding.
By contrast, here is John “forgiving” his wife and saying something really beautiful to her that he prepared just for her so that she will feel welcome and loved:
Does that say “I love you”? or even “I forgive you”?
NO its more like “I hate you” or “I’m watching you” or anything sinister and hateful. Martin is not dropping in any happy thoughts of love or compassion. He is not even trying to hide his distrust and anger towards her. I mean if there was no Johnlock and he is supposed to end up with Mary, you think he would have dropped in a few “I love you”s…. or even one….
I could literally do this with the entire show, but that would take all day and hopefully you can apply this whenever you watch the show yourself.
I hope this helps with any pre s4 worries or doubts, it is always Johnlock and has been in the works for YEARS, you can see it clearly on the actors faces and the work that they have put into carefully crafting every thought you see.