Warm-Up Exercises

By AM Staff

  • Warm-up Exercises
    Help create a Believable “Reality.”

    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 you 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

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • 5 Basic Facts About Viola Davis 

    5 Basic Facts About Viola Davis  Davis is the first black actor to achieve the Triple Crown in Acting (by Jim Webb)  (Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder) Viola Davis…

    7 Self-Tape Instructions Actors Often Ignore

    7 Self-Tape Instructions Actors Often Ignore Treat your self-tape like you’re baking a cake. Follow ALL directions and you’ll get a sweet result. (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Luis Quintero/Pexels) Self-taping was already the…

    5 Facts About Denzel Washington

    5 Facts About Denzel Washington The greatest African American male actor in the history of American cinema? (by Jim Webb) Is Denzel Washington the greatest African American male actor in the history of…

    What is the “Pick-an-Eye Technique”?

    What is the “Pick-an-Eye Technique”? An unofficial name for a brilliant acting technique (by Jim Webb) You probably already know who Michael Caine is from all his many roles in films like The…

    3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

    3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé Misdemeanors aren’t felonious, but they can still be problematic (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Niu Niu/Unsplash) When it comes to an actor’s résumé, there are differing…

  • Ad

  • 5 Basic Facts About Robert De Niro

    5 Basic Facts About Robert De Niro One of the most storied careers the entertainment industry has ever seen (by Jim Webb) His legendary roles, in various iconic films, have established Robert De…

    Netflix and Quarantine…and Watch Some Great Acting!

    Netflix and Quarantine…and Watch Some Great Acting! You can see lots of great, original movies, featuring some stellar acting performances, on Netflix (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Freestocks/Unsplash) So, this Coronavirus pandemic has you…

    7 Basic Facts About Meryl Streep

    7 Basic Facts About Meryl Streep Here are 7 basic facts about the “greatest actress of her generation”: Meryl Streep (by Jim Webb) Meryl Streep is considered by many to be one of…

  • Ad

  • Actor Stories: Geoffrey Owens’ Rise and Fall…and Rise Again!

    Actor Stories: Geoffrey Owens’ Rise and Fall…and Rise Again! Owens’ newfound fame has given his career a renaissance (by Jim Webb) “I’m Geoffrey Owens and I am an actor!” That was the bold…

    Actors Who Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

    Actors Who Have Tested Positive for the Coronavirus The acting community has not been spared from the destruction (by Jim Webb) Covid-19 is ravaging our public health system and the global economy. It…

    Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood

    Actor Stories: Molly Shannon’s 10-Year-Struggle to Beat the Odds in Hollywood How many years are you willing to dedicate to your dream of becoming a professional, working actor? (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) How…

    Keep Your Actor Body!

    Keep Your Actor Body! Cut Down on Sugar to Stay in Shape During Quarantine (Todd Bruce) Coronavirus has robbed us of something many of us hold dear: our weekly or monthly trips to…

    Quarantine and Build

    Quarantine and Build…Your Acting Career! 5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Acting Career While Under Quarantine (by Jim Webb) (Photo: Ani Kolleshi vu Dazveny /Unsplash) “It was the worst of times….

  • Ad

  • Don’t Do These 7 Things When Choosing a Monologue

    Don’t Do These 7 Things When Choosing a Monologue Here are some things you should absolutely avoid when choosing your next monologue (by Jim Webb) Are you looking for a new monologue? Don’t…

    The Push Strategy vs. The Pull Strategy

    The Push Strategy vs. The Pull Strategy What if you, as an actor, didn’t wait for the market to demand your acting services? (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Merakist/Unsplash) “My career began the day…

    7 Basic Facts about Stella Adler

    7 Basic Facts About Stella Adler Stella Adler left behind a powerful legacy, inspiring a who’s who of iconic actors (by Carmichael Phillips) Stella Adler (February 10, 1901- December 21, 1992) may have…

  • Ad

  • “Tenacity is almost more important than talent” (Mark Hamill)

    “Tenacity is almost more important than talent” (Mark Hamill) (Arranged by AM staff) Actor Mark Hamill has a face most Star Wars fans would instantly recognize, even though he does some of his…

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect.

    Don’t Panic! It’s Just a Redirect. 5 Things You Can Do to Reduce the Fear of the Dreaded Redirect (By Jim Webb) Human beings didn’t always dominate the Earth. Once upon a time,…

    Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting

    Actor Stories: How Rashida Jones Almost Gave Up on Acting ‘It felt like a waste of time to keep doing this over and over again’ (by Carmichael Phillips) Ok, fine! Rashida Jones’ entertainment…

    “Don’t be a one-trick pony” (Christian Bale)

    “Go for new tricks. Don’t be a one-trick pony” (Christian Bale) (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) In an interview with the Oral History of Hollywood, actor Christian Bale had an interesting take on the…

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors

    5 Great New Year’s Resolutions for Actors Here are some great New Year’s resolutions you should strive for, if you haven’t already (by James Webb) We are a few weeks into the new…

  • Ad

  • 10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked

    10 Reasons You Didn’t Book the Role You Should Have Booked There are countless potential reasons why you didn’t book the role you thought surely you were going to book. Let’s just start…

    “Listen and React” (Michael Caine)

    Michael Caine’s Greatest Advice to Film Actors: Listen and React “Listening is really what acting is all about, for movies. It’s not like the theatre. It’s an entirely different situation.” “When I was…

    What is the “Repetition Exercise”?

    What is the “Repetition Exercise”? There are several objectives that the Repetition Exercise seeks to achieve. Chief among these is to increase the actor’s reliance on their instincts. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) The “Repetition…

  • Ad

  • “Education is so essential” (Jake Gyllenhaal)

    Education is Essential “Education is so essential, because there’s no way of knowing what good material is, or knowing if a story is original, or knowing what makes a story original, or know…

    5 Basic Facts About Sanford Meisner

    5 Basic Facts About Sanford Meisner Though he died in 1997, his work continues to live on… (by Carmichael Phillips) Sanford Meisner (August 31, 1905 – February 2, 1997) had a profound impact…

    That Time I Crashed an Audition, and Lived to Tell About It!

    That Time I Crashed an Audition, and Lived to Tell About It! Don’t try this at home, kids! (The Anonymous Actor) Don’t try this at home, kids. This maneuver is only for the…

    “Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?” (Don Cheadle)

    “Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?” (Don Cheadle) (Arranged by Carmichael Phillips) You probably know Don Cheadle from his starring role…

    Before You Blame Your Agent….

    Before You Blame Your Agent… Because, it’s not always your agent’s fault (By Jim Webb) You’re not getting enough auditions. Your friends are auditioning like crazy, while you rarely get any. The knee-jerk…

    “To be an interesting actor, you must be authentic” (Sanford Meisner)

    “To be an interesting actor – hell, to be an interesting human being – you must be authentic and for you to be authentic you must embrace who you really are, warts and…

    3 Important Questions to Answer Before Your Next Headshot Photoshoot

    3 Important Questions to Answer Before Your Next Headshot Photoshoot Remember, the goal of a headshot is not just to produce a pretty looking headshot (by Jim Webb) Before you go out and…

    The Callback Checklist

    The Callback Checklist Check these items off your list before you go in for your next callback (by Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Emma Matthews/Unsplash) Are you ready for your next callback? Check these items…

    Load More