Warm-Up Exercises

By AM Staff

  • Warm-up Exercises:

    They Help Create a Believable “Reality”

    (by James Alburger)


    As voice-actors, our job is to create compelling characters in interesting relationships. In order to achieve this, we must understand our character and the “reality” in which our character lives. But that’s only the beginning! Each character in a script has physical energy that underscores the words and vocal performance.

  • We must also find that energy within ourselves and release it through our body during our performance. The starting point for all physicalization is a relaxed mind and body.

    Once the body and mind are settled, the appropriate tension and energy for a performance can be brought in to create the reality of the character. Here are some warm-up exercises to help you do that.

    The Yawn-Sigh:
    This is one of my favorite exercises for relaxing the throat, jaw, face, and body. Open your mouth wide and take a deep breath as you yawn. Stretch the muscles of your mouth and face on the inhale. You can also tighten your shoulders and arms. When releasing the yawn, let the air out slowly as you vocalize a low-pitch sigh. Release any tension in your face, shoulders, and arms as you exhale. Take your time with this, and you’ll probably find yourself yawn-sighing three or four times.

  • The Face Stretch:
    This exercise will loosen up your face to allow for better facial expression during your performance. Start by opening your mouth as far as possible, stretching your lips, cheeks, and jaw. Next, clench your teeth tightly and scrunch up your face, cheeks, lips, eyes, and forehead as tightly as possible. You can also include your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and as much of your body as you like. Hold this for a count of 10 – then quickly and completely release the tension in your body. Doing this a few times will create a very relaxed feeling of mind and body.

    The Tongue Stretch:
    You might want to do this one in private, or make sure no one is watching you. If your script is full of tricky words or complex phrases, they will be easier to articulate if your tongue is relaxed. For this exercise, all you need to do is stick out your tongue and try to touch the bottom of your chin. Then stretch your tongue up to touch the tip of your nose. You get bonus points if you can actually do it.

  • The Neck Stretch (or Head Roll):
    This is an excellent warm-up for relaxing your neck. Begin by sitting straight in a chair. Pretend a string is attached to the top of your head, and allow it to lift your head away from your shoulders. With your head now slightly raised, slowly tip forward as though looking at your shoes. Keep your body straight, but allow yourself to feel the stretch along your spine, upper back, shoulders, and neck. Now slowly rotate your head to the left, allowing the right side of your neck to stretch. Continue rotating your head to the back and then to the right. If you feel any pain at any time, stop immediately – you may have an injury that needs to be checked by your doctor.

    The Shake-out:
    This one will help relax your entire body and release inhibitions. You’ve probably seen dancers shake their arms wildly at their sides just before beginning a dance routine. The wild shaking gets their muscles warmed up and blood flowing. Stand quietly with arms at your sides. Begin by rapidly shaking your hands, and allow the shaking to gradually move up your arms to your shoulders. After only a few seconds, you’ll begin to feel invigorated. You can involve as much of your body in the physical shaking as you like. The purpose here is to release any tension in the body, relax the muscles, and get the blood flowing.

    Now that your body is relaxed and warmed up, you can apply the appropriate body posture, facial expression, and physical energy needed for your character. You’ll find it much easier to create a believable character when you start from a state of relaxation than if you tried to just go right into it without preparing yourself. Just as an Olympic athlete warms up before an event, we as voice-actors, we should warm up our instrument (our body and voice) before we begin our performance.

    Find more acting articles by Alburger at www.voiceacting.com



  • You Might Also Like:
    The Knock-on-the-Door Exercise


     

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • 4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter 

    4 Things to Remember When Writing Your Cover Letter  Keep it short, sweet and to the point. (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) You probably already know what marketing materials you…

    Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It!

    Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It! Casting directors don’t even give us the courtesy of a little feedback on our self-tapes (The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio |…

    What is Taft-Hartley? 

    What is Taft-Hartley?  Let’s explore the law, and the report, that gets actors in the door of America’s largest actor union (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) A Taft-Hartley is the…

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence 

    Stella Adler, On the Importance of Confidence  “No actor is a success unless he feels inside himself…that he is good.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) “No actor is a success unless he feels inside…

    The Acting World Goes Virtual 

    The Acting World Goes Virtual  And that’s a good thing!  (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Beci Harmony | Unsplash) As the old saying goes, “The only constant is change.” But in this new Covid-19…

  • Ad

  • Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate 

    Actors Losing Health Insurance at an Alarming Rate  Covid-19 is forcing changes that put new constraints on the accessibility of health insurance (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Bermix Studio | Unsplash) Covid-19 has dramatically…

    10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020

    10 Actors We Loved and Lost in 2020 Here’s a partial list of some of the actors we will miss (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo source: Jamie Street/Unsplash) No doubt, 2020 was a rough…

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join? 

    What is a SAG-AFTRA Must-Join?  Let’s explore this SAG-AFTRA status… (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Eunice Lituanas | Unsplash) A “Must-Join” is the label placed on actors who have surpassed the grace period (usually…

  • Ad

  • Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process” 

    Bill Nighy: “I still don’t have a process”  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Bill Nighy) “I’m old enough to say that I’ve never knowingly been in character in my life.” Bill Nighy, the English…

    Create Your Own Opportunities!

    Create Your Own Opportunities!  What’s your excuse for not producing your own projects and casting yourself?  (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Gianandrea Villa/Unsplash) The advent of things like social media and the internet allows…

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.”

    Viola Davis: “I write a bio of the character.” Viola Davis describes her character-building and collaboration process (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Viola Davis) “I read the script over and over and over again….

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor? 

    Do You Have an Acting Mentor?  How having a mentor can help you save time, money and your sanity (by Jim Webb) (Photo: neONBRAND/unsplash) You already know that taking acting classes can help…

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors

    Good News & Bad News for Background Actors  There are lucrative opportunities for those fortunate enough to find them  (arranged by Carmichael Phillips)  (Photo: Sigmund/Unsplash) There has been lots of bad news for…

  • Ad

  • The 3 Main Types of Commercials 

    The 3 Main Types of Commercials  Commercial actors can benefit from understanding the distinctions (by Javier Guerra) A commercial is a commercial is a commercial. They’re all the same, right? Except, they are…

    Ed Harris: “Acting is a lifelong situation.” 

    Ed Harris:  “Acting is a lifelong situation.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Ed Harris in Westworld) “Acting is a lifelong situation…’til you drop dead.” Ed Harris is one of the most successful character actors…

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!

    The Easiest Way to Improve Your Acting Life? Go to Sleep!  The subtle ways that sleep impacts your performance (by Todd Bruce) (Photo: Damir Spanic/Unsplash) Not getting enough sleep at night? Do you…

  • Ad

  • The Self-Tape Request from Hell!

    The Self-Tape Request from Hell! Sometimes casting directors ask for far too much! (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Usman Yousaf/Unsplash) Forgive me for saying this, but this self-taping thing has gone too far!…

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass

    10 Reasons Why Being a Modern Actor is Bad Ass There simply has never been a better time to be an actor (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Roy Alanwar/Unsplash) Aren’t you glad to be…

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less

    How to Sell Yourself in 10 Seconds or Less Quick! Sell your acting career in 10 seconds or less! (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: August de Richelieu/Unsplash) Quick! Sell your acting career in 10…

    What is a Right-to-Work State?

    What is a Right-to-Work State?  There are currently 27 Right-to-Work states in the United States (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Joey Csunyo/Unsplash) A right-to-work state is a state that forbids union security agreements. That…

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up

    7 Words That Can Trip an Actor Up  Confusing, isn’t it? (by Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash) As if the acting business was not perplexing enough, there’s always something else to confuse the…

  • Ad

  • Edie Falco: “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”

    Edie Falco:  “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.” (arranged by Carmichael Phillips) (Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie) “Just make sure you’re always working on something. Representation or not.”…

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room

    The Virtual Audition Waiting Room “It’s now your turn to audition, please enter Studio B.” (by The Anonymous Actor) (Photo: Vladimir Fedotov/Unsplash) The global pandemic has forced us all to reevaluate the way…

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life!

    The Pandemic Ruined My Actor Life! But here’s to hoping things get back to normal (by The Anonymous Actor)  (Photo: Cristian Newman/Unsplash) My Last Normal Day…  I can’t remember the exact date. To…

  • Ad

  • The Actor’s Job Description

    The Actor’s Job Description  Help wanted. Apply now! (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Yogendra Singh/Unsplash) Help wanted: ACTORS Employer: The Entertainment Industry Salary: $52,000 annually, on average Bonuses: Possibly Millions Benefits: Health and Retirement…

    The Power of Positive Thinking

    The Power of Positive Thinking  Pledge to never allow another negative thought to enter your mind (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Dingzeyu Li/Unsplash) Isn’t it amazing how much our brains can influence us with…

    Deadlines Are DEAD-lines

    Deadlines Are DEAD-lines  Going past deadlines may not get you shot, but they can certainly kill opportunities (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash) Once upon a time, prisons didn’t have high walls with…

    Every Take Should Be Different, Every Performance Should Be Different

    Every Take Should Be Different, Every Performance Should Be Different Always keep this rule in mind (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Rene Ranisch/Unsplash) Here’s an easy way to know whether you are truly acting…

    Actor Stories: Michael Clarke Duncan Lied on His Résumé to Get His Big Break at Age 42!

    Actor Stories:  Michael Clarke Duncan Lied on His Résumé to Get His Big Break at Age 42!  He left behind an incredible legacy, and an unbelievable actor story (by Carmichael Phillips) (Michael Clarke…

    Get to Know Zoom

    Get to Know Zoom Zoom auditions offer the acting world a lifeline during this ongoing, global pandemic (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Visuals/Unsplash) You ever get a song stuck in your head that you…

    Michael B. Jordan: “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.”

    Michael B. Jordan: “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.” (arranged by AM Staff) (Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station) “After all my auditions, I started throwing my sides away.”…

    The Latino Actor: An Uphill Battle for Representation and Inclusion

    The Latino Actor:  An Uphill Battle for Representation and Inclusion (by Javier Guerra) (Photo: Craig Adderley/Pexels) Of all the underrepresented minority groups in Hollywood, the Hispanic and Latino actor probably faces the steepest…

    Load More