I had a class with Pad Connelly, and during a class warmup he made a very good point, which probably gets to the root of the problem I have with warm ups in general.
He advised everyone during a mildly complicated pass-the-name exercise to speak and act with total conviction, even if we weren’t entirely sure we were acting correctly.
His inference: The point of a warmup is to get you into a higher-energy place for scenework, and too often people see a warmup as That Thing We Always Do Before We Get To The Real Shit… in turn missing the point of the warmup, which is to get you in a higher-energy place to maximize your time and energy doing ‘The Real Shit’. So really, the purpose of the warmup is not to effectively execute the warmup. The purpose is to get you actively ready to do what you’re about to do.
Pad made a great point. An effective warmup ultimately comes down to whether people engage those warmups with commitment. Often the reason players aren’t ready to go after a warmup isn’t necessarily because the warmup sucked, but people’s commitment to the warmup sucked, or their commitment in general sucks. That’s not necessarily going to change if you do a better warmup. Often, the warmup doesn’t need to get better. The attitude and approach needs to get better.
In general, I still stand by Elia Mrak’s POV and the SAID principle when it comes to warmups. I think the best warmups are those directly relevant to what you’re actually going to do in a scene.
That said, I’ve found there’s hardly ever any need to argue about it. I have no problem doing the warmups which classes, coaches and teams rather we do instead. If it gets everyone going and feeling good, then great. I tend to slide into go-time pretty easily, so I’m fine with doing a silly pass the whatever game with commitment.
Still, people follow their curiosity, and if a scene-based warmup gets people more into the mode of doing scenes (since after all you’re warming up by doing actual scenes), then it may be better for a group than the typical warmups… especially if the group tends to struggle out of the usual warmups.
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