Richardson's Stand-Up Comedy Workshops course description for:
Professional Stage Movement: setting a bit
Lessons 26-29 of 35 Lessons:
Dates and times to be arranged, 8-12 hours
Page 1 of 2
Alfred Hitchcock in
a gag publicity shot
For one of his many directorial masterpieces
Which were very deliberately staged for intended effects:
"The Birds" (1963)
the Joke for your
Serious Speech and/or Stand-Up Comedy Act:
Can be taught live, over the Internet through webcams
Or live, in-person at your location.
Includes 20-page Workbook.
This 8-12 hour training includes Package of Materials:
1) Hand-outs which outline basic concepts
2) Recommended movies classics which provide good examples of proper Stage Mechanics
Package is sent out
same day you order.
Exercise: write down as many movement techniques as you can see Hitchcock
directing in the above photo.
•Then, read the course outline on this page, and watch
my two video clips.
Hint: the answer might be on the video clips.
So, it only counts if you write down what you see before watching the video,
My two videos at 6:14 + 35:39 = a 42-minute video preview which cover less
than the first hour of my 8-12 hour Workshop.
After you watch both videos, read what you had written down beforehand:
•What additional techniques do you now see?
This is just a still image in an implied sequence of movements.
What might Hitch's or the bird's or the
•previous and next movements be?
Tip: you can repeat this exercise with any photo, painting, sculpture, etc.
Great for getting movement ideas to use in your stand-up comedy act or business
After you have both read this Page 1 Course Description and watched both video
then go on to Page
2 Bonus: extra page of photos, descriptions of movement techniques, exercises
and an example of a top comics using professional stage movement in his act to
extend audience laughter at his jokes.
Between Speakers and Comics
take advantage of stage conventions to control audience emotions
- Both the serious
and funny parts of your speech need to
be tightly blocked, just like a top-flight comedy
routine, play, movie or TV show.
- Once you
set all your lines for a particular bit, you must also set all that bit's
Usually a neutral figure
is used for your narrative/central/main character vs. unique postures
that might be employed to bring out your eccentric minor characters behaviors.
Posture that reveals character:
•Think of the mask worn by most conservative ventriloquists vs. the masks
worn by their oddball dummy characters who can say almost anything, and get
away with it.
•But sometimes your lead character is also eccentric.
•Depends on the main storyline, whether stated or implied.
Marlon Brando's posture is angled in this photo as his character of the motorcycle
gang leader is hardly neutral, Anita Ekburg assumes a star pose, Sugar Ray
Leonard is hunched in anticipation of the next round.
However, Angelo Dundee and Marcello Mastroianni are in neutral figure, underscoring
their conservative fight coach and sophisticated journalist characters:
Technical and psychological reasons for choosing specific body positions will be explored at length in the video clips:
8 Body Positions:
The 9 stage areas & 3 planes of the stage:
9 stage areas & 3 planes of the stage:
Each plane has three areas. Upstage: UR, UC, UL; Center: R, C, L; Downstage DR,
plane has relative strength. Upstage plane: weak, center stage plane: neutral & downstage
Each of the 9 areas has an emotional connotation which is exploitated by both
stage, film and TV directors.
You can use these same area values to increase the audience's response to your
•by lengthening their laughter and applause:
Dramatic turn (pictured below) vs. natural turn (not pictured here
but covered during the Workshop in a later Lesson).
Crosses and turns:
to move across the stage without changing your character:
"found" performance environment to sell your character, ideas and jokes
What you will learn well beyond today's preview of my Professional Stage Movement Workshop:
you make creates a picture
furniture, standing, sitting, handling props, cuing yourself
- Exercises: breaking
down simple acting problems like eating, falling asleep, reading, etc.,
to consciously reveal your character and get extra laughs
- Horizontal vs.
vertical vs. diagonal movement, moving with and against the reading vector
Building to an
emotional effect so you get really big laughs
weak characters are first revealed through movement
- Number of movements
- Finding physical
as well as vocal levels
- The different effects inherent in straight vs.
curved lines, short vs. long crosses, short vs. long steps, broken vs.
- Using these effects to re-enforce or undercut each other in order to
get a guaranteed Big Laugh!
for getting your act together:
- Master vs. Servant,
Auto Mechanic vs. Customer, Bank Officer vs. Loan Applicant, Guard vs.
Prisoner, Doctor vs. Patient, Teacher vs. Student, Employer vs. Employee,
Story to illustrate Mood Value of Stage Areas
- Compared to
scenes from famous movies we will watch together so I can point out tips
- Then, you
will be able to logically determine how the character in the Example
Story should move to create the desired effect
Hints on how
to become a "Nevada Smith" (see the 1966 movie) kinda
speaker or comic
- How to get a
laugh before you say anything
Movements expressing style
- Use the Stage
Mechanics Check List to verify that you are consciously employing these
- Use your eyes
for effect: make the audience look where you want,
feel what you feel, etc.
- Clarity: how
to make sure everyone "gets it" by "telegraphing" when they are to laugh
- Why real props
work better than pantomime
- Why you cannot
succeed if you start work on your Stage Mechanics the night before your
first live performance:
you will get mentally exhausted before you can "set" the
- Leave introductions
what you are doing should be clear even to a deaf person or to someone
who does not speak English
to memorize your movements vs. when/how to memorize your spoken
- Combining types
angular, curved, abrupt, flowing
- General types
X movement vs. Y movement, when to do one or the other . .
. and when to do combinations of both
- Matching movement
style to background music, period mood pieces, etc.
- How to teach
or be taught a complex movement pattern very
getting the animal out so more people identify with your physical actions
- What everyone
in the audience knows about sex and violence and why they can judge you
by your performance:
was it real or fake?
approach to blocking out your speech or comedy act
Notation System which make it clear when and why you are to perform
a given movement
before, during or after your spoken line
- Shorthand for
writing down all Stage Mechanics principles you are using on your speech/comedy
so you can refer to them during rehearsal
and even years later when
you want to bring back an old routine
Why "Stage Mechanics" training can be either private or semi-private:
I will be guiding you through several drills
which are followed-up by my directing you to successful completion of specific exercises.
Eight hours of this work can be done one-on-one since only one
character is on stage at a time.
12 or more hours, depending number enrolled, from 2-to-20:
However there are a few more exercises which require at least two characters
and the final exercises require at least four characters.
benefit from watching fellow attendees attempt all the exercises.
to calculate hours needed,
I must to know the total number of participants
which can comfortably range from one to twenty attendees.
rate for each attendee
can then be determined according to my appointment
Consulting fee: $200/hour
All fees are to be paid:
1) in United States Dollars
2) at least two weeks in advance of the training date(s).
More than one person attending = an additional $100/hour per additional person; i.e., two people would be $300/hour, three people $400/hour, four people $500/hour, etc.
Note: on the Registration form, I
have used the four persons semi-private, 12-hour training as an example of
how I calculate time needed and fees per person.
When you go to the Stage Movement: Registration
form, be certain to take advantage of the 30% Web Discount Price!
8-hour package at
$200/hour = $1,600 x . 7 = 30%
web discount price of $1,120,
plus Shipping course materials USPS Priority Mail at $5.60 (includes tax for
Four (4) students, semi-private 12-hour package at
$500/hour = $6,000 x
. 7 =
web discount price of $4,200/4 = $1,050
Shipping course materials USPS Priority Mail at $5.60 (includes tax for California
Bonus: extra page of photos
After you have read
this web page and watched both video clips,
•please go to the next page where
I break down more photos in greater detail:
"Professional Stage Movement:
setting a bit" continued.