View Full Version : Movement expercise.

02-19-2009, 12:31 PM
As an illustrator I was trained to turn my paper over to see it backwards and inspect the proportions. Viewing a picture from a different point of view helps you see what your eyes have gotten used to. What looks like a good portrait of a face can be completely warped in reality.

For example take Figure 1

Fig. 1

The first drawing is alright, but the second reveals what makes the first one so strange.

Now take this concept and apply it to your scaring. The next time you are in your full uniform get someone to videotape you, being sure to get your dialogue and noises in the audio too. Do your common movement and gestures as if no one was taping you, then go watch the footage. I'm going to bet that more than fifty percent of the time you'll be disappointed by what you see and hear.

I've heard of scare-actors practicing faces in a mirrors, but not often do they think about the over all body movement in terms of, "Do I look like I'm doing what I feel like I'm doing?" The answer is probably no.

After reviewing the footage, remain in uniform and try and create the movement you've been looking for. See what you need to do to change your voice so it comes off the way you want it. I find the best body movement tips and ideas come from good actors playing strong characters.

Here is a list of some actors that come to mind and the movies that I've seen where their character stands out.

Daniel Day-Lewis- There Will be Blood, Gangs of New York

Gary Oldman- Dracula, Leon, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Ralph Fiennes- Red Dragon, In Bruges, Schindler's List

Jonhy Depp- Take your pick.

Marion Cotillard- La Vie en Rose

Glenn Close- Fatal Attraction, 101 Dalmatians

Kathy Bates- Misery

Charlize Theron- Monster

Angelica Huston- Witches

02-19-2009, 01:04 PM
I've always been a big beleive in acting from head to toe; it just adds so much to the realism of the character. So many people act with their face and torso, so the character doesn't seem complete.

I love your actor list. Daniel Day-Lewies and Johnny Depp are amazing with their ability to become completely immersed in a character, so every swagger and hand gesture fits perfectly.

To add to your list:
Marcia Gay Harden - The Mist
Bette Davis - anything (that woman knew how to use body language to sell a character like no one else)

Allen H
02-19-2009, 02:17 PM
When I talk about acting to seminars or to my actors I always give them the homework of watching animal documentaries. Watch a big cat stalk its prey, watch wolves circle and pace, deep down we are all animals and with body language we can tap into those fears.
Another exercise I use when training actors is to have the group stand in a big circle, the instructor pull one actor aside and gives them one adjective to try and portray (Devious, evil, crazy, psychotic, deadly, aggressive, feral) then the actor walk around the inside of the circle and the people on the outside each take one guess at the adjective they are trying to portray. This is a great exercise for sharpening up physicality. It does wonders for the actor to get feed back on their movements.
great post,
Allen Hopps

02-19-2009, 02:59 PM
Movement i believe is one of the biggest things that is overlooked. Not everyone is taught how to move and not everyone considers movement when creating a character and also not everyone is comfortable with every sort of movement. For me movement is everyhting, movement is my whole character and if you have ever seen me act you understand why.

Actors should be taught first thing before they start acting to start with a warmup it doesnt even have to be anyhting big it just needs to be something small to warm up your muscles and get your body prepped for movement that night. For me i listen to a bit of music and stretch a bit to get pumped and get the blood flowing and to loosten up my body for a very different type of moving than just everyday motion.

With creating a character or bringing one to life i like to study movies, pictures, and music videos especially. I like drawing inspiration for movement from watching dancers most of all though. Dancers offer such a wide range of movement styles, motion and flexibility i think they are fantastic to emulate in acting.


Jim Warfield
03-11-2009, 10:48 PM
A group came through my house there were 9 in the group all couples except for the one "odd-woman out". Of course I teased and picked on her some because of this but at the tour's conclusion it was maybe 2am, a nice summer night found us all standing in a informal circle in the parking lot, joking and talking about various things.
The "Odd-Woman" was standing directly across from me in this circle when she asked me if I ever get lonely living in that big old house, all by myself?
I let the smile slide from my face and looked across the circle at her and with a voice full of all the world's despair I said, "Oh God YES! I really need someone to sleep with me tonight!"
As I slowly walked towards her , she hesitated not more than a second or two as she broke and ran and kept on running for about 140 feet!
She wasn't smiling or laughing about it, she was seriously scared, even right there infront of all those other people that she had come here with!?
Just a tone of the voice, a word choice, a certain physical move and there you have it!
Unforgettable fear!!