Whenever Pam Smiled at the Camera, the Real Camera Operator Couldn’t Help but Smile Back

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Pam Beesly gives the camera a variety of looks throughout her time on The Office. She gives the camera pained looks, like Are you kidding me? This is really happening? She gives the camera sneaky looks when she’s up to something mischievous. And, perhaps most often, she flashes the camera that signature Pam smile.

According to Jenna Fischer (the woman behind Pam), when the actors would give the camera looks, they were actually acting to someone. And, oftentimes, the person behind the camera would genuinely react to whatever was going on in the scene, even though they weren’t actors.

Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images
Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Meet: Randall Einhorn, ‘The Office’ camera operator

When Fischer was interviewed by NPR in 2008, she was asked about the looks she and other Office actors give the camera. Are they looking at a real person?

“Is there an actor behind there that you can kind of, like, interact with?” asked host Terry Gross. “Or is it just, like, the camera with a camera person?”

It depended on the scene.

“Well, there’s two different scenarios,” responded Fischer. “When we’re just shooting the show and it’s a scene, the camera operator is this man named Randall Einhorn. And he’s our director of photography. And we will look at him, we’ll give him the look, or we’ll look into the camera at him. And he’s become another character or another actor on the show to us. So, we do actually act with him.”

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Over the years, Einhorn grew to really root for the character of Pam. He’d always smile back when she’d smile at him.

“It’s really cute – whenever Pam smiles