Big Toe Big Toe

So this past weekend I took a movement and posture workshop.  Actually here’s some back-story.

When I was a young girl, I used to walk to school every day.  Back then we didn’t have iPods or mp3s to listen to (duh.  My little sister’s generation is so spoiled) so instead of bobbing to Radiohead, I used my imagination to entertain me during my 20 minute walk to elementary school.  I actually remember this vividly and I honestly believe this is why I walk the way I do today.  Anyways, on the sidewalk there are cracks that separate each block of sidewalk (cement? cinderblock?)  And I would imagine some punishable death if my feet were to touch the cracks.  So to avoid the cracks, I would either stretch my leg out to cross over them, or tiptoe around them, in either case, I would always land on my toes. Thus, to this day at 25 years old, I still walk on my toes.  I have been told that I have a bouncy walk.  Actually when I was a teen and was still walking to school, ppl would come up to me and actually ask if I ever got sad on account of my walk being to so peppy/happy.  Ugh.  I am human ppl.

Anyways, back to the workshop.  So I’ve always known that I walked weird.  I’ve had friends literally try to teach me to walk heal toe heal toe but that concept never got to me.  How much weight/time do you put on your heal vs. toe?  Anyways, the teacher for this workshop really stressed how important feet were.  You must ground your feet and have a strong core.  When sitting down to have a good posture, we must sit on our sitting bones, legs apart hip-wise, feet directly under our knees and toes pointing straight forward.  Now, I couldn’t get my feet directly under my knees with my toes pointed forward.  They would automatically (habitually) angle outward.  The teacher said if I kept this up, I would grow up to waddle instead of walk.  She told me that I must be cognizant of where my big toe was and to commit my mind to point it forward and train my leg muscles to support this stance (god, I’ve just become aware of how I was slouching).  The thing is, I never thought about how I was sitting, I never realized that I was slouching, with my back curved over my desk until that workshop.

What’s the point?  Linda’s (teacher’s name) workshop is really beneficial for actors.  I’ve always heard that we must own the room in an audition.  We must make an impression.  My acting teacher has been on my back about my posture.  I tend to lean back and I come off as casual thus not owning the room but fading into the wall.  Not memorable.

How this affects me: I stand and sit taller now.  I do feel a different energy when I’m standing tall vs. crouching or leaning because my body is tricking my mind into being confident.  Hell, if my mind is a wreck, at least my body isn’t and no one can tell (unless I start talking).  I need that steady stance to steady my mind in an audition or when meeting people.

How this really effects me: instead of thinking about the intangible concept of heal toe heal toe, I now think big toe big toe, making a conscious effort to point it forward (instead of outward) and really walking big as I own the room :]



The Power of Vulnerability

So lately I’ve been on a TED binge.  TED is a global set of conferences that defines its mission as “ideas worth spreading.”  There’s a bunch of free lectures online from the conferences.  The lectures cover a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture.  I saw a lecture about love and the brain, another one about a headset that allows you to move virtual things by thinking about it, even one about this guy who designs book covers including the Jurassic Park one.

Anyways, the video above is a lecture by Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher, talking about “the power of vulnerability”.  I’ve included this video because I feel what she has to say makes a lot of sense to being a great actor.  I feel to be a great actor, one must be able to embrace vulnerability.  Be willing to let go of what society or others think you’re supposed to be and just be.  Be self-aware, be empathetic and connect with others.

I’ve heard a lot of casting directors and industry experts say that you must be your authentic self because what else would make you stand out from the other bajillion actors?  They always say to “play your look and be yourself”.  Also, actors must live truthfully in imaginary circumstances.  So if you’re not your true self in real circumstances, how can you expect to be real in imaginary ones?  And finally, the very meaning of empathy, “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another,” is a core requirement to even begin to act and portray such identifications.

All in all, Brene Brown is the shit.