Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Practice Video For Acting Class

Spoilers ahead...

All I'm actually doing in this video is using techniques from Stephen Book - a series of emotion arcs and a few emotion switches - but I was pretty happy with the effect. Emotion switches are self-explanatory; an emotion arc is a progression from a low-intensity version of an emotion to a high-intensity version. For instance, I did a happy arc in the rant about chaos, then switched to a low level of anger and ramped up an anger arc at the very end.

When I did the scene in class, it went well. One of the people watching told me I scared them. I liked that, because I'd set out to scare people. The switch from happy to angry, and just being happy about the ubiquity of chaos in the first place, makes it a threatening scene.

It kind of validates all that 37 Signals stuff about embracing constraints; I chose to arc happy during the rant on chaos not because of anything in the script, but because I had already decided to focus on emotion arcs, and happy was the only arc that was interesting and challenging from a technical point of view. It's easy to arc fear if you're discussing ever-present danger. There was some support for the happy arc in another technique from Stephen Book, a script analysis technique, but it was essentially all about the constraints I'd chosen and the technical challenge I found within those constraints.