• Charles Breach

Term 2 - Week 12 - Character Performance

Last week we were briefed on the character performance project. This used to be titled the lip sync project, but this gives the wrong impression of what is required for submission, where lip syncing is required, it is the character's overall performance that will be marked. There will be two character's, one performing the sound clip, and another listening to the character talk, however BOTH of these character's performance is important. Although the listening character's performance sounded simple at first, they have to portray the genuine action of listening, which is more complex than just sitting there staring, and may have more secondary actions than are originally expected, from blinking, to nodding, maybe even jumping back in reaction to the talker's verbal force and actions.

In our acting session with Sarah Perry, we went over a couple of the basics that we had established last year, Namely Stanislavski, and Laban's methods for creating believable action. We went into detail about different kinds of movements, resultant perhaps of a character's mannerisms, specifically use of space, and kinespheres. These are split into 3 groups of movement: near reach, mid reach, and far reach. We went through some exercises (after the ever important zip, zap, boing game) that would have use try the different kinds of movement, keeping our limbs and movement within the bounds of each kind of movement. We discussed how moving in that specific way made us feel, for example how near movement felt shy, timid, perhaps reluctant. Although people may naturally move these specific ways (and this could imply that someone is inherently a certain way), these different movements imply a certain mood about a character. The different kind of movements can be coupled with a characters relationship with space: personal, social, or general space, a character that keeps to themself, interacts with others, or interacts/interests themself with the environment. The kinds of movement, and uses of space go hand in hand. A character that is personal is likely to have a near reach, although that doesn't necessarily have to be the case, as reach can be intrinsic to a character, but they could be social. These different aspects can be used to imply and match a characters personality, as well as perhaps defy it- a big strong far reach character acting within a personal space would challenge their natural traits, and raise questions, why is the character acting like this? This then becomes a powerful story telling device, that can allude to a happening before the individual reveals it.

We got into groups of 3 near the end of the session, and using one of the given sound clips, would act out and film a sequence, using what we learned within the session to try and create a believable scene. Our group went with the 'too much to do' clip.

I filmed my two group mates act out the clip, and helped provide suggestions for making it more believable. I personally liked the movement the right actor had within the first two attempts. The movement had a far reach, and felt appropriate for the voice, which was agitated, and the following attempts weren't as dynamic, which didn't convey how the character sounded like they felt. The actor on the receiving end of the dialogue became more dynamic and reactive in the later attempts, like they weren't just listening to the dialogue, but emoting as a result of the dialogue, and the other actors movement, specifically in a near reach space, that was quite timid in the face of the other actors outward movement. I think the two examples of each actors action that I provided could be coupled to create an overall more interesting and accurate representation of the dialogue.

I ended up choosing a different clip to what we practised in the session, which I personally just didn't find that interesting, the character being quite monotone, and although I see where there could be some comedic value in the characters actions, I thought the 'Fire magic' clip had a very eccentric sound, that could allow for an interesting progression through a wide variety of the different movement types. I recorded myself acting out what the talking character might look like. I saw in my mind the character starting within a small space, and slowly becoming more active and wide reached, until the peak of the audio where the character would be extremely outward and dynamic.

I went through and looked at each recording as I acted them out, considering how I would improve to see how I envisioned the character moving. In acting out what I wanted the character to do, I learned what would seem more or less natural for my character to be doing, which I find a little hard to describe, but in the later recordings I see movement which looks less awkward, like i'm going from one action to the next, but instead seeing it flow like the character's own vocal progression. This definitely isn't the final reference I will be creating for my character's movement, but it taught me a lot about how to make the character seem natural. I created a very rough test of this character movement digitally, picking out the key movements from my recordings, and changing some to how I saw the action in my head (which I found tough to convey in my own recordings) but applying the same kinds of movement to these changes. I really enjoy how I made the character move within the last two key poses of the rough sequence, the character proportions and shape seeming quite natural.

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