Exploring MoCap with Pascal Langdale

At the end of February, I had the privilege of taking a MoCap class through The MoCap Vaults, with Pascal Langdale.

I haven’t done any sort of theatre in the last few years, so it was definitely different than what I’m used to—standing in a booth behind a microphone.

mic radio GIF by Clara MacDonell

For a moment I became self aware of my own body and my movements. I started to question how I walked, how I stood, what gestures I commonly associated with what emotions. These were things I hadn’t ever thought about. I think about them while I’m writing characters, but usually, as a voice actress I think more about how my character feels, what they are thinking and what they sound like. It’s less outwardly, and more internal.

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Pascal had everyone in the class do mask work. When I put the mask on, to be honest, I couldn’t stop from giggling. I wore my hair out and released getting a mask over my head would be a little challenging. I’ll try to remember to do a ponytail or something for next time. While wearing the mask that self awareness grew, but I didn’t feel self-conscious or awkward. Instead I felt free…and less restricted. I didn’t care how silly I looked. I just cared about being authentic to my portrayal of movement. I wanted to be in that character, for that moment.

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After the masks came off for our other exercises, I felt comfortable. I got to play characters of all types, and it never occurred to me that I couldn’t because I was a 5”1, female with a young voice. During one of our earlier exercises, before putting on the masks, Pascal had us create hero poses. While assessing mine he said, “You are big, you are strong, and you are confident. You have mission and purpose,” and it resonated with me throughout the remainder of the class.I’ve always been so used to being little, that I’d never thought of myself as being big…or at least playing a big character.

Then Pascal had me play a dragon.

elder scrolls dragon GIF by Bethesda
I’ve never been a dragon before. I tried to think of how they moved, how they slithered about, how heavy they were and how to sound like I was actually breathing fire from my lungs.
My knees were pretty dusty afterwards, but there was something really fun about playing a giant, that walks around on all fours and has these massive wings.
My voice carried out, in a way that only my body and movements could help me create. It was such an amazing experience.
There is definitely nothing like trying to breath fire.
game of thrones dragon GIF
MoCap is such a cool stream of acting because, like Voice Over you can become anything, but it’s the physicality of it, that makes it interesting. You have the freedom to really transform into something new. Characters that are human or aliens or dragons, male or female, young or old…and it’s the actor’s ability to create something believable in this playful space that is truly fascinating.
I had such a wonderful experience in this class, working through scenes with everyone and doing these exercises. It was truly amazing. I hope I get to explore this medium more in the near future.
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