Watch the hands when acting – Again, there aren’t many actors out there (if any), who haven’t been told to watch their gestures. Overuse of the hands is a sign that what you’re saying isn’t ingrained in your body; you don’t believe it. Let it come from somewhere else in your body, not your arms. Go back to the text; truly understand where this is coming from and why you are saying it. When you have your objective in mind, it will come from a deeper place. A good exercise is pinpointing exactly from which part of the body a thought is growing from. Here are four strong choices:
The head. This thought is intellectual. It is based on fact, perhaps scientifically proven or supported by evidence. It is rational and has a clear structure and solution. This brings about a methodical, grounded nature.
The heart. Usually it’s feelings of love. But also feelings of longing or heart-ache. These thoughts are passionate and often irrational. It can send you into a pool of sorrow of have you leaping with joy.
The gut. The strongest of all emotions come from the gut. It can bring about extraordinary feelings of determination, ambition and willpower. It can also stem jealousy, greed and violence.
The groin. It’s incredible how many thoughts are based on sex. Many writers and directors will argue that everything is. Desire, lust along with desperation and impotence can come from the groin. It can override all other motions in a flash and die just as quickly.
Go through your text and be precise where each thought is coming from. Change it up – you may find something far more intriguing and much more confronting.
Exercise to stop Over Gesturing
Try reading your monologue sitting on your hands. It will feel strange, but it will force you to connect with the words. Use the words to paint the picture of the story, not your hands.