“It’s not a toomah!”
“Coffee’s for closers.”
“Is it safe?”
“May the Force be with you.”
“Big gulps, huh?”
When you read those words, I know you heard the actor’s voice in your mind. Not just the timbre, but the emotion.
A few simple words can sum up a scene, a character, a play, or sometimes, a whole TV series. And as Schwarzenegger proved, you don’t even have to speak a language fluently to make a lasting impact.
While we don’t recommend you rely on catchphrases as a crutch, they can often be useful in defining your character.
The next time you blurt out something on stage, take note of what you said and how you said it.
A word, a phrase, or even a sound (like Annie Hall’s “La-dee-da”) are so much more powerful when accompanied by emotion.
You can explore and heighten whatever you said, or simply repeat it.
Improv Side Note: Jack Nicholson’s “Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!” from The Shining and Robert de Niro’s “You talkin’ to me?” from Taxi Driver were improvised. Now try to imagine their characters without them. Impossible!