*PROFESSIONAL Actors warm up before they go on
You are about to enter another world. Are you prepared? You better be because it’s different from the one you just came from.
You will spend a short period of time (45 minutes, an hour, and hour and a half) communicating to a group of people who will be listening to you, hopefully to your every word. That is what you want, isn’t it. So are you prepared? I don’t mean the script being down pat, and that you took a drink of water. I mean physically, mentally and vocally. We’ll deal with emotional and mental preparation at a later date.
How can I prepare you ask?
I PRESENT TO YOU THE WARM UP I USE FOR MY ACTORS. THERE IS MORE I WOULD INCLUDE FOR PUBLIC SPEAKERS AND WILL DEAL WITH IN A LATER BLOG. THIS GENERALLY TAKES ABOUT 10 TO 12 MINUTES TO RUN THROUGH. CHOOSE THE ONES THAT WORK FOR YOU AND BRING IT DOWN THE 4 MINUTES. DO IT BEFORE YOU GO ON.
ACTORS ALWYAS WARM UP BEFORE THEY GO ON
Actors always warm up before they go on stage or in front of the camera, just like athletes do. After all they are leaving one way of being and entering a more focused, heightened and dramatic way. This requires preparation.
And it’s always good to take time out to move from one place, center, thought process to another. It’s also always good to get those muscle needed to work awake and ready to go.
Here is the warm up my acting classes does every week. It is a compilation of warm ups I’ve gather from various teachers and acting classes.
ACTOR’S WARM UP
Take Deep breath in all 4 areas (lungs, diaphram, lower abdomen and back) IN THROUGH YOUR NOSE AND OUT THROUGH YOUR MOUTH
ONCE AGAIN – Same thing but now include a dedication to TAKE THE MASK YOU WEAR IN EVERY DAY LIFE, OFF – ALLOWING YOU TO BE VULNERABLE.
ONCE AGAIN – Same thing but now be aware of the energy (electricity) running through your body and where you stop the flow, where you short circuit it. It needs to ALWAYS BE GOING OUT.
NOW LISTEN TO YOUR BODY FOR THE REST OF THE WARM UP. Stay out of your head and listen to the subtle signals of tightness, knots, TENSION, pressure, etc. in your body. and BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE
Chin on chest, breathe in thro your nose as head goes back and you fill the room as if you were a balloon pushing against the walls, ceiling and floor- breathe out thro mouth as balloon collapses and head comes down chin to chest
Now…..Same thing covering, owning all of the NE of Portland –
Again …same thing, covering, making yours, embracing all of Portland
IT’S ABOUT ENERGY FILLING A LARGE SPACE AND ALWAYS GOING OUT.
Chin on chest, circle head all the way around a couple of times SLOWLY and now other way a couple of times while FEELING for any knots you may have in your shoulder, neck and between shoulders.
NEXT bring your shoulders up to your ears and hold it. Your arms, hands etc are not stiff or tight and you are breathing through this exercise. Keep inching them higher and higher continuing to breathe and then hold them for 12 seconds. Let go and let go again.
SHAKE THE WHOLE BODY OUT – DO A KRAMER (You know when Kramer comes into Seinfeld’s apartment he comes in moving every part of his body).
CHEW WH ILE counting (pretend to chew gum as you count) to 20 opening your mouth wide – careful not to go back and forth, just up and down.
To check tension in your jaw, let go of your jaw and try to bring it up just with your hand. If tension exists tell yourself to relax, massage temples and try again. If tension still exists just accept it and know that’s what you’re working with.
BREATHE - THE COUNT OF FOUR- IN THROUGH YOUR NOSE, HOLD ON EIGHT AND OUT THROUGH YOUR MOUTH ON SEVEN. DO THIS THREE TIMES BUT FIRST go somewhere that makes you feel relaxed but alert- in thro nose, out thro mouth
NEXT YAWN and at the top of the yawn say AW from your belly with an open throat
Tighten toes, (keep breathing), next include claves, then inner and outer thighs, buttocks (holding a dime), (keep breathing and then include) lower abdomen, EVERTHING FROM WAIST DOWN IS TIGHT- TIGHTEN MORE and breathe. EVERYTHING FROM THE WAIST UP IS LOOSE
Now include rest of body by tightening chest, back, neck and shoulders. Breathe into the knots and squeeze them out. Tighten upper arms, lower arms BREATHE, neck, face, eyebrows, nose, mouth, scalp, hair and SQUEEZE the people, the day OUT like steam coming out of your pours. Do this for 15 seconds
LET GO and hang like a rag doll. Let go more
Come up one vertebrae after another and SHAKE IT OUT.
BREATHE AND FOCUS ON YOUR TOPIC, YOUR MANTRA
Barbara Kite is a professional acting coach and executive speaking coach based in Portland Oregon www.barbarakite.com