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The art of recreating sound. I bet you didn’t think it was an art-form in the first place did ya? But yes, Foley Artist are responsible for sounds you hear in just about every single film. The opening door, the can opener, and even the wind. They work hard to create ambient sounds, which are the background noises we seldom pay attention to in real life, but create a dramatic difference in a film setting.
Foley is a great way to teach an actor (or anyone for that matter) how to be aware of their surrounding, thus picking up sounds that may have gotten little attention and then adding them to a scene to make it that much better. This goes back to the Suzuki method of focus and determination. As a foley artist it is your job to think outside the box and use objects in a different way to recreate a rather strange sound. Once you find that perfect object you will be able to manipulate it in order to create a different effect. In Suzuki you manipulate your body into thinking that what you are feeling is not pain. On a foley stage you are manipulating objects to create sounds that make others believe they are hearing something else.
It’s all mind over matter. That is what we will try to learn in the next few weeks through Suzuki. Going into this practice demands patience, endurance, and the ability to tell yourself that what you are feeling is not pain, but a challenge. With Suzuki it does not matter if you are athletic or if you have never lifted a thing in your life, what is important is your awareness of your body’s movements and how (no matter what) you can control those movements. We began by learning how to stomp. Our stomps were not to show how much power we were able to put into them, but rather if we were able to be consistent with the force behind the stomp. With Suzuki it is ideal that you become aware of your body and its presence with the things around you. This includes everything. The floor, the walls, the air. Upon first noticing all my surroundings I became claustrophobic. I could feel myself enclosed by the air I breathed, and the floor was too close for comfort. But with a little concetration I was able to use these things to my advantage. I allowed myself to focus and used the floor and air around me (along with my body) to create a peaceful environment where I could focus on the task at had which was to be consistent. These exercises were not meant to create a winner, nor should they be used to put some above others physically. Suzuki should be used to create and contain a connection between mind, body, and soul.
Last week we were introduced into the world of Viola Spolin, who is known as the Godmother of Improv. Spolin brought theater games into a new perspective and allowed me to think about them, and theater as a whole, in a new light. Through her non-competitive and fearless approach of performing I became aware of the intuition (something I thought I understood) one can gain from forgetting about being the best, and instead start giving it your best. Having this within out reach, I believe, we will be able to reach new broaden our abilities, and acquire an acceptance for our work. As actors, our jobs are to produce an effect(efficacy), and a mass effect can only be accomplished when everyone is working to make each other stand out, make everyone look good. Which is a great skill to have both in theater and in life. Upon doing research I came upon some influences Viola Spolin has had on other. One particular website (http://blog.montrealimprov.com/post/132437186/improvisation-for-the-theatre-by-viola-spolin) was able to give them the ability to solve their own problems in a very different aspect. When we finally learn to be independent and be able to go to ourselves for advice and acceptance, we have definitely reached a new mile stone in trying to be our best instead of being the best.