ACTING WARM-UPS TO DO BEFORE AN AUDITION- By Suzy S
Being in the entertainment industry is not too different from being in the sports world. As well as natural talent and interest, a major overlap with both industries is the time spent working on your craft. Regular practice can be quite annoying, but come race or audition day, our minds and bodies still need to be prepared for what is about to happen. Just as we see athletes stretching and warming up before a performance, it’s completely necessary that actors warm up before they audition. The good thing about warm up games is that they help you to get into a relaxed, focused space, where you feel ready to go out and really nail that performance!
To begin, our bodies need to be nice and loose and limber. This is a quick checklist to run through:
- Gently roll your neck backward, forward, and then around (clockwise and anti-clockwise)
- Roll both shoulders forward and backward to release any nervous energy
- Extend your arms and begin to open up your chest. Remember to breathe deeply from your diaphragm
- With arms extended, twist your waist side to side
- Do a forward bend, dropping your head as far as it can go. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds
- Finally, shake out your entire body starting from your hands.
Now that you’ve warmed up your body, you can get more playful with these acting warm up games.
Game 1: Energy Ball (for the nerves)
Stand in front of a wall and imagine that you’re gathering your energy in an invisible ball. Really start to feel it vibrating while holding it with both hands in front of you. When it starts to feel a little too intense, throw it against the wall. Feel it bounce back by leaning your body to receive and through it back to the wall. This is a great exercise to help you to focus your energy and get your body moving.
Game 2: Small Face, Big Face (for great expressions)
It’s very important to stretch your face out because micro-muscle facial control plays a huge part in your ability to express yourself as an actor.Start by scrunching up your face like you’ve just eaten something really sour. Get your face as small as you can get it and hold that face for about ten seconds. Now stretch your face with the widest, most surprised smile that you have ever made. Now hold that face for ten seconds and repeat the whole exercise a few times.
Game 3: O E (for a strong voice)
Even though it’s not a boring exercise, start this game off with a good yawn (if you can). Really, have a few wide yawns to open up your mouth and throat. Then start by slowly making exaggerated ‘O’ and ‘E’ sounds. As you repeat the letters, begin to speed up to the point where you run out of breath.
Game 4: Good Buddha (for a flexible tongue)
Tongue twisters are probably one of the best and most efficient exercises for the entire mouth. You can use the more well known ones such as “Unique New York” or “She sells seashells by the seashore”, but a very good one for the palette as well as the upper and lower parts of the tongue is “Gooda, Gooda. Buddha, Buddha.” Repeat and quickly speed it up. Feel free to also try this in different tones so that you can work on your range.
Game 5: Theme Song (for the right mood)
Music is a wonderful and inspiring tool to help you to get into the mood of your characters. Based on your understanding of your character, take some time to pick out a theme song for him/her. Answer this question: If your character were a piece of music, what would they sound like? Now process this idea around whether he or she would be modern, instrumental, slow etc. Once you have picked a song, plug it into your phone or iPod and make sure that you listen to it while rehearsing, warming up and just before you sign into your audition.