Sunday, January 30, 2011

Exercise #4 - Gesture

Exercise #4: Gesture
"...but when we have private feelings and thoughts, or when we think that we are hiding our reactions, little gestures often reveal our true selves.  Try to capture some of these gestures on the page," (pg. 18)

Yesterday I went to see "The King's Speech" to work toward completion of my quest to see all Oscar "best picture" nominees prior to the upcoming awards on February 27th (I've seen 8 out of 10 so far - getting closer!)  As I think about Moore's challenge of capturing gestures on the page, I'm wondering about the power of reading to support writing, and how a close reading of screen plays in particular might support this task.  I can't imagine the magnitude of description that exists in this particular screen play, given that the film itself was completely driven by dialogue coupled with gestures.  Colin Firth's facial features and gestures made the audience believe that he truly was King George VI, beginning his reign while struggling with a hopeless stammer, a speech impediment that had cast a dark shadow on his entire life since early childhood.  Compelling and believable gestures = commendable acting = credible film-making.  But gestures exist as words on a page before an actor gives life to them.

This week I'm going to try to commit to some people watching in order to observe and collect the nuances of gesture at work in everyday life.  Those small details that can speak louder than words or dialogue on a page.  The habitual running fingers through hair, nail biting, deep sighing, changes in expression, cadence of movement, and so on that typically goes unnoticed.  Perhaps in a small gesture a character will reveal herself?

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