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the 25 days of christmas : [day 11] : voice overs

December 11, 2010

This weekend, if you are looking to do something equally fun and Christmasy that is not baking/decorating/shopping, try this game:

1. Round up a gaggle of friends. This game is remarkably more fun when playing with other people. (However, if you are all by your lonesome, it is undeniably entertaining solo as well.)

2. Turn on Lifetime, Hallmark, ABC Family, or any other TV channel playing back-to-back Christmas movies. The cheesier, the better. (Good clues: look for the words “heart” “gift” and/or “wish” in the title.) Another rule of thumb? If you’ve heard of/seen more than half of the cast before, that’s not a good sign. Search for obscurity here. And try to pick a movie you’ve never seen before, as the classics are harder to work with.

3. Put the movie on mute. It will seem contrary to the cause, but it’s actually essential.

4. Take a moment and watch what transpires before jumping in. Observe. Don’t hate. Appreciate.

5. Then…when you’re ready…start piping in your own lines. Really go for broke here. This is the time to suspend one type of reality in favor of another – as in, don’t try to come up with the lines the characters are actually saying, go for the lines they look like they should be saying.

Practice Example:

Now, I’m not going to be the teacher who uses an example and leaves you with a void. That always happened to me; after the example it would take me forever to stop thinking of the example and come up with original material. But should you need direction, I would say the awkward and seemingly reluctant half-embrace, the amount of leftover fake snow on junior’s head, the lurker in the background, and the variety of facial expressions are all good starting places.

Please note that this game is not just for Christmas; you can play it year round with most of the movies on the aforementioned channels. But Christmas movies really do ensure the purest and best raw material. It’s true.

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