Food stylist reveals the ‘secret’ way actors pretend to eat on camera

What is “eating acting?” If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re in good company.

Millions of TikTokers are just learning about the phenomenon — all thanks to David Ma.

Ma is a filmmaker and professional food stylist with a widely popular TikTok page, where he shares the movie-making tricks he’s learned during his career. In a recent clip, he revealed the “secret” trick to eating on camera.

“Eating acting,” or “eat-acting,” is a term used for when actors have to pretend to consume food or drinks during their performance. As Ma explains in his video, this concept exists because movies often need several takes of the same scene. For example, it’d be impossible to make someone eat, say, 100 cupcakes in a day.

According to Ma, there’s a simple trick to pulling this off.


Reply to @sorencopper Today’s FilmTok Lesson: “Eat-Acting” ##behindthescenes ##foodstyling ##film ##filmtok ##learnontiktok

♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

Ma shows examples of “eating acting” in several popular movies and TV shows — from The Office to Moneyball to Pulp Fiction. In each one, he points out how the camera quickly cuts away after an actor eats on camera.

This, Ma says, is so actors can spit out their food. In each scene, Ma shows how an actor will take a bite of something. Then, the camera will quickly cut away. That’s when the director cuts the scene so the actors can spit their food without swallowing.

“It all feels real and seamless thanks to the editing,” Ma explains.

The explanation came as a big surprise to many TikTokers. Some even said it had “ruined” movies for them.

“This might’ve broken movies for me,” one user wrote.

“Dang it, now I’m going to notice every time,” another added.

Ma’s viral videos are part of a longstanding trend on the app, where TikTokers with unique jobs share the industry secrets they’ve learned in their careers. In 2020, a professional propmaster went viral for sharing how he makes “fake” books for movies. A few months later, a pet groomer drew millions of views after revealing the saddest part of her job.

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