146. Reflections Without Criticism with Gary Tacon

October 19, 2022 00:55:08
146. Reflections Without Criticism with Gary Tacon
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
146. Reflections Without Criticism with Gary Tacon

Oct 19 2022 | 00:55:08


Show Notes

One mark of a master is that other masters look to them for expertise and support.  In this episode, I talk to movement analyst, Gary Tacon, about how Martin Scorcese looked to him when he needed Robert De Niro, Al Pachino, and Joe Peschi to look 40 years younger on camera for The Irishman. We discuss how he came to be a movement analyst, how he operates on set, we dig in on one of Gary’s most valuable tools and techniques: the body tuning cushion.  You don’t want to miss this episode because it also includes some listener participation that will have you standing taller, looking younger, and feeling freer in your body. Enjoy this conversation with Gary Tacon.



Buy the Body Tuning Cushion 

Find Gary’s stunt/film work on IMDb 

Listen to Ep. #78 with the In The Heights Choreography Team! 

Listen to Ep. #136 with Jamal Sims

Listen to Ep. #125 with Mandy Moore

For more DANA

For coaching with me, join the WTMM COMMUNITY 

To donate to WTMM through our Fiscal Sponsor, THE DANCE RESOURCE CENTER


Watch and Subscribe on YOUTUBE 

Stay connected with us on IG and TikTok

View Full Episode Transcript

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to Words That Move Me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host Dana Wilson, and I move people. I am all about the tools and techniques that empower tomorrow's leaders to make the work of their dreams and live a full life while doing it. So whether you're new to the game or transitioning to your next echelon of greatness, you're in the right place. Hello. Hello my friends. Welcome to Words That Move Me. I am Dana. I am stoked that you are here and I am genuinely honored to introduce you to this week's guest who you probably do not know because he isn't a working dancer or choreographer. Gary, take on is a stuntman, a yoga instructor, a movement analyst to the stars. Yes, we are going to talk a lot about that. Speaker 0 00:01:01 And he is also an inventor. In fact, he is the inventor of one of my favorite products ever of all time period, The end, Totally like <laugh> in life. Um, I'm not gonna say too much about it right now, but I will tell you that Gary was kind enough to offer a very special discount to words that move me listeners. So you will 100% want to stay tuned for that discount code, um, and all of the awesome, incredible things he has to say. But first, let's do wins. Today I am celebrating. It's a pretty big win. You know, sometimes I celebrate like a great meal or discovering my taste and interior decorating like the <laugh>. Those are wins. But, uh, today I'm celebrating a huge win. Today I'm celebrating a nomination for a world choreography award. What the heck? How freaking cool is that? Christopher Scott and his associates, Ebony Williams, a Emilio desal, Eddie Torres Jr. Speaker 0 00:02:06 And yours truly are nominated for best choreography and emotion picture for In the Heights. And we are in some truly great company. I am tickled Pink <laugh> Mandy Moore and Jillian Meyers with their associate choreographer, Jeffrey Mortenson are nominated for Zoe's Extraordinary Christmas. Ashley Wallen is nominated for Cinderella. Jamal Sims fellow podcast guest and his associate Kai Martinez are nominated for in Canto. And Justin Peck is nominated for Westside Story. I am so very, very proud to be nominated for our work. And so very excited to be able to point you to a really fabulous podcast episode. Um, the In the Heights choreography team joined me here on the podcast. That was in episode 78. And I will link to it in the show notes. But if you want like a deeper dive into our process and our experience working on the movie, if you want to kind of peek behind the curtain a little bit, that episode is so great. Uh, so please do check that out and join me in celebrating all of the nominees for World Choreography Awards this year. So, very cool. All right, that's me. That's what's going well in my world. Now you go Speaker 1 00:03:26 Hit me. Speaker 0 00:03:41 All right, my friend. Congratulations. I am proud of you. Keep crushing, keep winning. Now, let's get into it. Gary, take on is such a fascinating guy and I cannot wait for you to hear what he has to say. We talk a lot. Uh, we talk about his work with Martin Scorsese, No big deal. We talk about experiencing alignment that can almost literally d age you <laugh> We talk about his invention. The body tuning cushion that I have now had one, I I've had my cushion for years now, multiple years, and I literally use it every single day. I use it every single day. I bought one for my mom when she was experiencing back and hip leg pain. I got one for Jillian Meyers for her long days on Zoe's extraordinary playlist. And I would buy one for every single one of you. But I am not that kind of mega cash daddy yet <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:04:45 Uh, so I'm super grateful that Gary is offering all of you words that move me listeners. And awesome discount on the body tuning cushion. You can take my word on it right now that it is literally the greatest thing I've ever purchased. And you can go right now and grab one. Or you can listen to the episode and take it from Robert Janeiro so you can just, you know, totally up to you. Uh, visit the body tuning cushion.com and use W T M M as a discount code at checkout. Thank you for doing that. And you're welcome in advance because it is incredible. But I want you to hear all about why it is incredible. So get into this conversation with the one and only Gary, Take on. Gary, take on. Welcome to the podcast. Speaker 2 00:05:42 Thank you. Speaker 0 00:05:43 How are you doing? I'm doing well and I'm, I am, I'm already sweating number one cuz it's a very hot day in Los Angeles. But number two, I am excited to talk to you because I love to geek out about the human bodies, bodies <laugh> the human body. It's many wonders and people who know how to care for them. Um, people who know how to communicate, uh, how to help improve them, and how to get a desired result out of a human body. I think you're a specialist in this department. Um, and you're also a multihyphenate. I really love having, uh, having multi types on the podcast. Sometimes I call them slashers. Um, you are a stuntman slash movement coach slash movement analyst slash yoga instructor slash designer slash slash What am I missing? What, what other hats do you wear? Speaker 2 00:06:37 I'm a husband, father. Speaker 0 00:06:39 There we go. Speaker 2 00:06:40 That's sort of central to the whole program. Yeah, I think you covered it pretty well there, right? I'm an inventor. Speaker 0 00:06:47 Yes, you are. Do you have a patent on the, on the body tuning cushion? Yeah. Killer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. We're gonna get there. Um, so it's tradition on the podcast. I know I kind of rattled off the bullets, the, the slashes. Um, but it is tradition on the podcast that my guests introduce themself themselves, themself themselves. Uh, so if there's anything else you would like us to know about you, please take the floor. How do you like to introduce yourself? Speaker 2 00:07:17 Well, I, I think, um, I think we just covered it right there. I mean, it depends who you're, you're speaking with. I, I, uh, I typically don't go right into being a stunt performer, <laugh>. Um, Speaker 0 00:07:32 You don't lead with that. Speaker 2 00:07:34 <laugh> don't, I don't lead with that really. Um, most of the social outings have to do with, um, children, you know, <laugh> Speaker 0 00:07:43 Mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:07:44 <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> for the past 20 years at least. And, um, but, um, I'm a yoga instructor. Been an athlete my whole life. I, uh, was always interested in yoga the first time I ever saw somebody doing a headstand. And way before there were, there was yoga clothing, Speaker 0 00:08:05 <laugh>, <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:08:06 And even yoga mats. You know, I, I used to, I used to do as many movements as I could just by myself, just through my own investigations and, uh, as a child. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I actually was a ballet dancer for a while. And when I left ballet school after a bad ankle injury, I went right into the yoga studio. Speaker 0 00:08:30 There Speaker 2 00:08:30 You go. Cause that was, that was a way to help me recover. And I felt so at home there. Speaker 0 00:08:36 Hmm. Speaker 2 00:08:37 So I went ahead and stuck with it and got a certification and, uh, never really had an ambition to be a teacher, but the woman I studied with, her name was Tao PORs Lynch. She just died two years ago at 104 years old and was still teaching up until the time she died. Speaker 0 00:08:57 Well, what a testament. Speaker 2 00:09:00 Yeah. She, she, she was very enthusiastic about my, uh, practice and just said, You've gotta teach. So I said, Okay, twist my arm. And so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, before I knew it, she, uh, she conducted this, um, this series of sessions and I got, I got certified. So that was, that was a wonderful thing to Yeah. Accomplish, you know, without really, um, being specifically interested in, in and becoming a yoga instructor mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But it was just the beginning of a whole different, um, perspective from the interior mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, meaning that every yoga movement that there is is already in us. So it's just a matter of, uh, being interested enough to discover it. Speaker 0 00:09:49 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:09:50 And that's, that's an interior process. Ooh. It's not about wrapping your foot around your neck as much as finding a way that's, that you can coordinate your mind and your body that's, that's suitable enough that it, it can be gentle. Mm-hmm. And, um, and comfortable always and, um, inspiring. It's, it's one of those self informing practices that exist. It sort of comes <laugh> Yes. With the package when you're conceived Speaker 0 00:10:24 <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:10:25 And, um, so I just feel blessed that I was able to stumble upon it early in my life. And, uh, that that really enhanced my natural athleticism I was in. I was naturally, uh, a really, um, excited athlete as a kid. The stunt work then followed, and then the movement analyzing followed, and that the creation of the body tuning cushion followed because of, uh, a wish that arose to share with people my joy in movement, basically. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what can we do that allows people to not feel criticized about their limitations, but be inspired to explore options of, uh, movements and, and just possibilities in general about, you know, leaning toward, um, leaning toward joy. Speaker 0 00:11:23 What a wonderful introduction, Gary. I, I am inspired by it and by the placement that you have at this, um, impasse between mind and body. And I really am so fascinated by that place, because there are moments for me where joy and creativity are unlocked by one or the other that allows me access to the other, for example. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I have, I have experienced blocks, creative blocks, emotional blocks that get untangled or shaken loose by me jumping into action by me actually moving myself, rattling myself, and then the, the, the mind follows. Right. The mind follows me into motion or into action. And sometimes it's vice versa. Sometimes I have a physical block that is solved or aided along by a thought, a change of perspective, something like that. So I really love this, this intersection of mind and body. It sounds like you've become such a great traffic cop of that intersection. Speaker 0 00:12:29 Like you understand the flow of traffic between those two. So I'm, so I think maybe we'll start with, the way I became aware of you was after I watched the film, The Irishman, um, which took about a week, uh, because it's long <laugh>. And, uh, actually I did watch it all in one night, but it was, it was, it was a doozy. I was very invested, not particularly because of the story, although I do love organizing. I love a union. But I remember being taken at the range of life that this movie covered and my knowledge that these actors, Robert De Niro, Pacino, Joe Peche, are in their seventies, seventies, sixties, all of all three of Speaker 2 00:13:19 Them. No, they were, when we shot it, they were all in their mid to late seventies. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:13:24 And they're portraying 30 year olds at some, at some points of the film. Right. So I, I was wrapped by that alone. And their physicality was, was striking so believable. And because of my experience onset, I know <laugh> the kind of repetition that's required, the kind of endurance of a shoot day. This isn't just a 70 something looking 30 for one take. They had to do that take probably 14, 15. I don't know what kind of director's Scorsese is, but like, multiple takes is a real thing. Long days are a real thing for a young person that is challenging. I was so impressed at what these actors were capable of. And I, by halfway through, I was like, someone helped. There must have been a movement coach. There must have been someone helping, helping on the movement front. Uh, so I watched the credits all the way through and I found you, um, under Movement Analyst. Will you talk a little bit about how you came to be on that project and how you earned that title and what it means to you? That's a lot as a tall order. Sorry. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:14:31 Well, having been, um, familiar with the atmosphere of a movie set for a long time, uh, and having studied acting and, um, and as a stunt performer, there's, uh, a whole different level of regard that you have for these lead actors. You know, it's not just a, a, a celebrity, uh, uh, thing. It's, um, it's different. Mm-hmm. Speaker 0 00:15:06 <affirmative>. Speaker 2 00:15:07 So, uh, when they were trying to figure out what they were gonna do about this narrative where the characters have to d age up to 50 years, Scorsese was being driven crazy because what do you Speaker 0 00:15:22 Know? Do we hire actors? Do we Speaker 2 00:15:24 Have cut off their head? And, and, and, you know, put on, put on a younger face, I mean, and digitize all Speaker 0 00:15:31 Full budget with CG Speaker 2 00:15:33 <laugh>. Yeah. So I got a phone call anyway from, uh, the executive producer who I, I happen to know, and he said, You, I'm, I'm, we're starting this big project. I, I knew nothing about it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, um, you know, this direct director is losing his mind because of this situation that they're in. And, um, and these actors, you know, they're old, they're old guys. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they're, uh, they're in their seventies and, uh, they gotta make 'em look young and do you think you can help them? And I said on the phone, if they let me in, you know, cause I've, I've had a lot of experience, you know, helping people who are, um, have have physical limitations or when they get older, you know. So, um, he said, Okay, good. I said, Well, who are they? Who, who you know, who Speaker 0 00:16:27 Are, who are you talking here? Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:16:29 He said, Well, it's, um, yeah, it's Robert De Niro and Pacino <laugh>, Speaker 0 00:16:34 Shit, shit. Speaker 2 00:16:35 I said, Okay, <laugh>. Right. Speaker 0 00:16:39 What do you, Speaker 2 00:16:41 So the very next day they set up, the very next day I had to go to, uh, this is a good story. I had to go to, uh, Astoria Studios and Meet De Niro mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, so I went to the production office. They were in pre-production. I went to the production office, they said, Yeah, uh, room 27, date down the hall and to the left. So I went down there, an old dusty room in this old movie studio mm-hmm. <affirmative>, nothing was in the room, just an old desk. And, um, so I walked in there, closed the door, and, um, at exactly one 30, he opened the door and he took one look at me from the door, and he went and I said, Awakenings Penny's movie. Speaker 0 00:17:23 Ah, you knew each Speaker 2 00:17:24 Other. I took you down. I took you down when you were trying to leave the hospital, and I worked on you on the afternoons in your, during lunch. Speaker 0 00:17:31 Incredible. Speaker 2 00:17:33 He looked at me and he goes, you know, and I walked over to him and he gave me that hug with that smile. Very, very affectionate and warm and just, you know, And then he said, uh, Speaker 0 00:17:46 That was such a good de Niro impression, by the way, way, I'm mad that people can't see your face. That was perfect. Well, well, he's just, Speaker 2 00:17:55 He's, he's a sweethearted. So, so he immediately said to me, So, so how, so, you know, Uhhuh, this is, this is, this is how he, he is a lot of the time, you know, so, Speaker 0 00:18:08 Okay, he's in disbelief. He's in, he's in this moment Speaker 2 00:18:11 Of like, No, he's attempting to articulate what, you know, how are we gonna do this? And what are you gonna do to me and all that. So anyway, I just, I stopped him and I said, Your character has to d age up to 50 years. They're gonna CGI your face and I'm going to try and help you with your spine. And he goes, You know, old dog, no new tricks, you know? So I said, Well, I, I don't have any tricks, but I do have this. And so I brought my cushion that I had invented with me in a carpet bag. I pulled it out, and there it is. Speaker 0 00:18:49 I have worn, I Speaker 2 00:18:50 Laid it on, I laid it on, I laid it on the ground, and I, I knew that this was my, this was my, this was my real audition right here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I got on the ground, I demonstrated the cushion, I gave myself a little tutorial in as simple terms as possible so he could see what the effect was. And then I got up and I stood, and I said, And as soon as you stand up, you recreate the condition that you experienced when you were horizontal on the ground when you're vertical. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you can see right away that without slouching, you know, we could probably, you know, shave a couple of years off of your, uh, program. Speaker 0 00:19:23 Absolutely. Speaker 2 00:19:24 And he, and he looks at me, he looks at the cushion, he looks at me, he says, Oh, let me try that. And so I said, No, no, it's dirty here. He said, Nah, nah. So anyway, Speaker 0 00:19:32 <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:19:33 I was, uh, I was promoting it as a five minute activity Speaker 0 00:19:39 In Speaker 2 00:19:39 His trailer, you know, Uhhuh, that he could just keep the cushion there and Speaker 0 00:19:42 Do that five minutes a day. That's the, that's the red. Speaker 2 00:19:44 Five minutes, five minutes in the morning, you know. And, uh, so he gets on the cushion and I take 'em through the entire thing. He's on the cushion for 20 minutes. Speaker 0 00:19:53 Yes, I have been. Speaker 2 00:19:55 And by the time I get him up and I pull him up off the ground slowly, you know, and I keep telling him, Drop your head back. Drop your head back, Drop your, He couldn't do it. He get Cuban, drop your head back. Finally he did it. And I lifted him up and I got him to his feet. And I said, Now go ahead and recreate the condition that you experienced when you were horizontal, now that you're vertical. So he immediately stood up, took his arms out to the side, looked up at the ceiling, brought his hands all the way up, touched him, and then brought his arms all the way back down again. And I said, Now, don't fucking fidget. Speaker 0 00:20:32 Ah, Speaker 2 00:20:33 Don't fidget. And, and he told me later that that was, that was sort of key to the whole thing, Uhhuh, because all of a sudden he was able to just experience himself in this completely awkward, um, brand new condition. He said, How do I look? He said, uh, different Speaker 0 00:20:54 <laugh>. Great answer. Speaker 2 00:20:56 He stuck his hand out and said, I guess I see you on set. You know, And that was it. That was my, What Speaker 0 00:21:03 A great story. That's so wonderful. Um, I, I'll be honest, I have heard that story before because after I, I learned of you, I did a, a good Google search. I found that you have created the body tuning cushion, which is what we're talking about right now. And I learned that you were on a podcast talking about it. So I listened to this podcast, You tell this story, and I am thinking, holy freaking smokes. What, what a guy, what a talented person who has intuition and follow through. Because it's one thing to understand the body and understand yoga and understand gravity and it's effect on the body. But it's another thing to hit the drawing board, design a thing, go through how many iterations I can only imagine, and actually put something into production. Um, so I'm, as soon as I learned of the body tuning ko, wow, it's hard for me to say, cuz I call it the pink one. Speaker 0 00:21:59 <laugh>. As soon as I learned about this, this cushion, I bought one and I laid down on it. I did the thing with my arms. I stayed there at least five minutes a day. But I, I do, uh, I work out almost every single day, and I spend part of my cool down on it. After I've done all my stretches, I lay right there and oof, I can <laugh> easily exceed. Five minutes is so relaxing. Um, but I think cushion aside your ability to discuss physicality with people who aren't used to discussing physicality in a comfortable, normal, uh, kind of disarming type of way, um, it's a special thing. And I know especially for actors, physicality and movement can be Mm. Speaker 2 00:22:45 Everything, Speaker 0 00:22:47 You, you alluded to it before. It is, it's, it's a huge part of their practice. But it's not welcome. Not, not every actor is as willing to talk body and work on body. I think one of the reasons I enjoy movement coaching, uh, I almost said more than, but differently than choreography, is I, I think a lot of people have a stigma that choreographers are mean and demanding, and that dance is hard and you're gonna feel terrible when you try it. And, and, and, and, um, but every time I've approached dance with an actor whose desires are to, to have a different relationship with their body, not necessarily to be able to dance or hit the eight counts or do the big finale number, if the goal is to understand your body, then there's a willingness that I, I see way less often when people approach it. Speaker 0 00:23:45 Like, let's learn dance steps. So when I, when I kind of explain to people the difference between a choreographer and a movement coach, I usually start there, a movement. Coach's work doesn't have much to do with eight counts or choreography that needs to be repeated. Um, but I guess I'm kind of curious if what you encountered on set for that project and many others. This isn't your only, obviously not the only film that you've worked on, but I'm wondering if you ever felt that the work you do got to a place of it being choreographed and how do you keep it from being about the position and more about like a fluid being in your body? Cuz it isn't, it isn't a rigid thing that you're talking, this isn't a posture, it's a mindfulness and a presence. And yes, I mean, the cushion helps you understand an alignment. But now I've been talking for seven minutes and asked six questions. I don't know where you're gonna start, but <laugh>, I mean, I'm just wondering what is the difference between what you do and what a choreographer does? Speaker 2 00:24:53 Well, in this instance, speaking about this particular picture, um, Speaker 2 00:24:59 My job really was, uh, not to change them as much as enhance their natural movement with, um, some youthful enthusiasm <laugh>. So to inspire them to have a, uh, an experience that is more, um, youthful viscerally. I would put them on the cushion first thing in the morning and stretch them out so that they all of a sudden had this new, uh, musculoskeletal experience that they could at least instinctively refer to as an option during this, the rest of the shooting day. So this is, you know, 6:00 AM for the most part. And then I would be on set on the other side of the camera and, and be able to remind them with various hand signals and, uh, Speaker 2 00:25:47 Among other things. And, and they were so receptive and they so enjoyed this uplifted sensation they had of themselves as opposed to this slouch condition that they spend their lives in. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that they were delighted to, um, attend to all of the suggestions. And I would, I would put the suggestions everywhere. You know, I would put myself in their eye line so that, you know, all I would have to do is turn around and touch a certain point on my back that we all identified as a central place for the attention to go to, to prevent, um, themselves from slouching and going back into whatever their 70 year old mode was, Right. When their character's actually supposed to appear as a 38 year old, or a 42 year old, or a 48 year old, or even a 55 year old is still different than a 77 year old. So, um, I don't know which of the six questions I'm answering, but, but I'm responding to, um, the difference between what I did and what a choreograph choreographer does is, uh, enormous in a way. They're not really related at all because they're not moving the way I want them to move. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they're moving the way Mr. Scorsese needs for them to move. That's to make this particular, the context of the narrative believable. Speaker 0 00:27:13 That's Speaker 2 00:27:13 It. So, so that's, that's an invitation for me to actually remove myself. All I have to do is, is see it from Marty's eyes and, uh, know what, know what the range of acceptability is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, my responsibility was the frame and how it's gonna look on the frame. And if they're dragging slowly or if they're moving quickly, that's, that's, that's my responsibility. So it was tricky, you know, because you have to be very spare in your reflections Right. That you pass on, especially to these people. <laugh>. Yes. And, um, it, it was just, you know, you asked me how it was, It was unbeliev, it was incredible. For six months, they never rejected a single reflection that I offered. None of them. All they did was welcome them. They applied them as best they could mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, at the beginning they'd come back and say, How was that <laugh>? And say, home run, you know, was, uh, it was just, uh, an incredible experience and a wonderful way to sort of end a, uh, a stunt career in a way. A movement Speaker 0 00:28:22 Career. It sounds like a very gentle way to go about doing Speaker 2 00:28:25 That action. Well, well, it's, it was, it was, it was, you know, it was a complete blessing. At one point I asked Marty, uh, Why didn't you get an orthopedist to do this? What am doing working with you guys in this Good question. In this capacity. And he was, What'd he an unbelievable sweetheart? He said, he said, Why you? Well, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's Speaker 0 00:28:46 Jazz Hands up at this guy. I'm trying to explain Speaker 2 00:28:49 <laugh>. That's, that's how I, that's how I took it. Ah. And, uh, and it was, you know, there forces are at work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, I mean, I'm not even formally trained in these things. I'm, well, you know, I'm, I'm, Speaker 0 00:29:02 I'm your whole life is training in, in some ways. Well, Speaker 2 00:29:04 That's, that's sort of it, you know? Yeah. And tricking, tricking the camera is also, you know, up my alley. You know, stunt work is not, uh, daredevil work. It's, um, it's just very precise athletic work in a, in a very, uh, specific space. Wow. So you have to be able to do those things. And that's, I mean, that's an important thing to convey because a lot of people think that, Oh, you're a stunt man, you're a daredevil. You know, you do rough and tumble. No, you, you make friends with the set designer and you make sure that, you know, there's an inch thick foam coating going down the stairs, that you're gonna roll backwards down, you know, <laugh>. And, uh, so Speaker 0 00:29:47 Un until you said that just now, I never fully understood how important perspective is to a stuntman and how understanding you must be of three dimensional space and your space relative to the camera. Um, and how that he helps with the work that you're doing now. Cuz height is an illusion, right. Where you can play with scale, move them forward or backward in the frame, like you can, your understanding from that part of your life must have helped you a lot in this Speaker 2 00:30:17 Regard. Oh, a absolutely. You know, the camera, the camera doesn't register mm-hmm. <affirmative> depth perception, It has no depth perception. So, you know, that's, uh, one thing, one element about it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But, uh, and you just have to know where the frame is and how you have to put a, a very specific, uh, quality of movement right there. Speaker 0 00:30:41 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I have a question about, and I love, uh, here's my question. I'm working on using less words to say more, and that speaks directly to something you just mentioned about using cues, physical cues. You didn't have to say words, you had to be seen by your actor. You had to be in their eye line and do a gesture that reminded them, some nonverbal cue that reminded them of the tool that you gave them or the training that you gave them, or the idea that you had already planted. Were there any other things that you felt, in addition to these visual, physical cues, any other things that helped give you, um, helped you get your work done on the day? Cuz those are, it's, it's, it's tough. And you're not a traditional person on set, on every set. There's a, you know, there's a gaffer, there's a first ad. People know to look to those people. But there, I don't know if there's ever been a quote movement analyst. So how did you insert yourself into the conversation? Um, how, or how else did you Speaker 2 00:31:54 Well, it's a good question. First of all, each, each actor is really different, requires, uh, being approached differently. And, um, the, the other thing that was curious about the job itself is that nobody ever told me anything about what to do or how to do it. <laugh>. Right. Um, not, not Marty, not Bob, not Al not Joe. They just assumed that I was there to help them, whatever that meant. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so once they got on the cushion and enjoyed that wake up every morning, they, they, they, they were as little children, you know, they say, Can we do some more of that? You know? Right, right, right. And so in a, a way, it was a wonderful, it was a wonderful opening so that if I ever did approach them with a suggestion and the suggestions, you know, there, there, there was no, there was no specific vocabulary. I had to wait to see the rehearsal and what they were gonna do in rehearsal. And the simple, the simplest example of that is, um, the very first day that Pacino came on set, we had already been shooting for a month. And the very first shot was, um, was him getting out of a car and Bob getting out of the driver's side and walking into a little Cape Cod house. A little house. Speaker 0 00:33:20 Oh yeah, I know the part. Speaker 2 00:33:22 Cape Cod style house <laugh>. And so Al is a character is supposed to be 45 years old, and he's actually 79. And when he gets out of the car, he sort of, you know, the way Al is, he sort of goes, you know, slowly to the door, grabs their handrail and goes up the steps. And as soon as they, and out and, and Bob follows 'em, and as soon as they get inside and they close the door, that's a cut. So during the rehearsal, uh, they do that, and I stand right next to Marty. I have a monitor, and he's in a tent right there. I'm with an earshot of him. And, uh, I look at it and I just know I gotta fix that, or somebody's gotta fix that <laugh>, because s huge going too slow, you know, And, um, and looking down. So as soon as they cut on the rehearsal, Marty says, Gary, where's Gary? Speaker 2 00:34:20 So I stick my head right into his, into his tent, and he looks at me and he says, I mean, with Al. And I said, uh, I got it. So at the same time, they're walking out back to one, back to where they begin, and I wait till he gets back to the car and I walk up to him and I say, Mr. Patino, my name is Gary. I'm a movement analyst for the film. And Marty is hoping that we can fill up the frame a little bit more. So the simple suggestion is that as you get out of the car, look up at the number above the front door, and when you approach it, don't use the railing when you go upstairs. Speaker 0 00:35:03 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 2 00:35:05 So he looks at the railing, he looks over at Marty's tent, he looks back up at the number and he says, Oh, that's good. That's good. That's good. Speaker 0 00:35:14 <laugh> also a good al very well Speaker 2 00:35:16 Done. And so, uh, and then, you know, on action he did it. I got it in one take. So that was a hunger. Speaker 0 00:35:22 Okay. Well that's huge. Like you're, what you're eliminating is be in the right place, be informed, and in the right place didn't necessarily mean inside video village. You were right outside, you were listening, you had your finger on the pulse of the scene and what was going on when you were needed, you were there quickly, and you gave a directive to the talent that was clear and digestible and human. It was not any foreign language, It was not anything he had to have already Exactly. Been queued into before you're using language. Yeah. It's, it's, Speaker 2 00:35:54 Im it's imperative. It's imperative that you can, you can share your reflections with people without criticizing them. And it's exactly the same thing with the cushion. You know, body tuning is a practice mm-hmm. <affirmative> that people are welcome to undertake mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it's, it's never about, um, criticizing their posture and it's not even really about improving their posture. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's about alerting them to their capacity to recreate their physical stature on command to be their own authority. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if they learn to do that with great frequency, they will appear to have very good posture, but mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you can't go for the posture juice. Right. You know, you have to go for the experience of being poised enough to know the difference between where you come from and where you've settled your whole life and how you can actually integrate with this, this constant downward pulling force in a way that allows you to experience being uplifted. So, Speaker 0 00:36:55 You know, there's, Speaker 2 00:36:56 It's a perspective, you know, it's, and it's not for everybody. A lot of people wanna be told what to do and how to do it, but that's not how this particular study works. Right. You know, it's, it's, it's already in you just like yoga movements. Yeah. You just have to locate it. And once you locate it, you know, for example, you know, if, if this is how we are when we're typing and on our phones and eating and drinking and driving, and then all of a sudden I have this experience of my spine lengthening in my abdomen, so not being compressed any longer, well, who would go back to this? Speaker 0 00:37:31 Oh my gosh, it feels amazing. I'm do like, Speaker 2 00:37:33 Once they have, once they have this other visceral Speaker 0 00:37:36 Sensation Speaker 2 00:37:37 Experience of being uplifted and poised and, and by the way, no muscular attention across your upper body at the back, because when you're like this, all of this musculature is busy holding you back with this muscular resistance from falling forward even further forward. So yes, it's a, it's a study, it's a, you know, it's a, it's a practice that, um, Speaker 0 00:38:00 <laugh> this conversation alone, just like having my eyes on you and talking about the cushion is, is I've been more reminded during this 30 minutes of that, uh, lean, um, and that kind of surrendering to gravity that I do so often. A lot of computer time, a lot of car. I live in Los Angeles. Um, so maybe it, it might be fun at this point in the conversation to invite listeners to start this practice, to start this training. Now, even without a cushion, you, I know you have a way, you call it thumb point. Is that correct? Speaker 2 00:38:38 Yes. Speaker 0 00:38:38 To, to identify the part of your body. Are you able to talk us through how we can Sure. How we can Speaker 2 00:38:45 Do this? This, this, by the way, was, was key to, to this, the same work with, um, with the, the actors on the Irishmen, you know, and with other actors, you know, I worked with for Alec Baldwin for over a 12 year period as his stunt double. And, um, so there were always these opportunities to try and insert, uh, a different way of being physically that was, uh, in, in general more, um, appropriate mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and also soothing to the body. Mm-hmm. Speaker 0 00:39:20 <affirmative>. Oh yeah. I love it up here. This feels great. I don't wanna leave. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:39:24 Yeah. Well, uh, I don't know. I don't know. Well, there's no, there's no visuals here. But if, if a person were to stand up and reach their arm behind their back mm-hmm. <affirmative> and had a sense that the forearm was parallel with the ground. Speaker 0 00:39:42 So elbow bent, Speaker 2 00:39:43 Elbow bent, and with the sense that the forearm is parallel to the ground mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and one reaches one's thumb at that point all the way up onto the spine. And another way to measure that is to put the opposite hand in the front of the torso in the same capacity. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you can look down and see if your forearm is parallel with the ground and reach your thumb all the way up. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it doesn't take anything to note that the thumb in the front is absolutely at the bottom of the sternum. It's not halfway up the sternum, it's not near the clavicles. It's at the bottom of the sternum when the forearm is parallel with the ground. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And the thumb at the back is lands rights smack in the middle of the spine, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, thoracic vertebrae, thereabouts, as long as the forearm is parallel with the ground. Speaker 2 00:40:37 So forgetting about the front hand, but feeling where that thumb tip of your thumb lands on the spine is what we call the thumb point. And if you're standing or sitting and you just lean back very slightly on that thumb point, the very first thing that takes place is your abdomen lengthens mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And as soon as your abdomen lengthens, you can see here in profile, as soon as the abdomen lengthens the shoulders go back just a touch. Now you don't move the shoulders back, it's just that your abdomen has lengthened. And so your spine accepts the weight of the upper torso moving backwards very subtly. And with that carries the weight of the arms and the weight of the head. So if you're standing, the contact with the ground shifts a little bit. So now the weight of the entire body is more or less in the vicinity of the heels, not on the heels mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:41:33 <affirmative>, but certainly shifted into the vicinity of the heels mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then if you drop the arm at the back and don't fidget, you can immediately feel how awkward this is and unfamiliar because we very different <laugh>. Whereas in fact, you have just completely recreated your fully realized physical stature the way the maker intended. Yeah. Because, you know, he didn't quite calculate that gravity was gonna be, you know, causing people to be compressed, particularly in the front of their bodies mm-hmm. <affirmative> for their entire lives while they're on the surface of the planet. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, and furthermore, there's no place where this is taught, you know? Right. Not in ballet class, not in, uh, schools for proper etiquette. It's usually a forced position Right. That you have to get into. Yeah. It's not a coordination, again, of the mind and the body that includes calculating the difficulties and accepting the fact that we have a visceral, uh, habit structure that needs and is willing to, and actually wishing to be modified. Speaker 2 00:42:40 So in that regard, the body tuning cushion is just a reminder. It's, it's a resting companion that when you get on it, all these muscles and bones of the upper body are reminded that they actually can experience a different option of a visceral alignment when they're vertical. So that's huge. That's what, that's, that's where the daily practice comes in, because it doesn't take, it doesn't take long. Right. Especially if you have a cushion. You know it, if you use it every day, you stumble upon this condition of being lengthened and poised more and more frequently as you go. You know, you're online at the grocery store, you know, you're, uh, you're at the, um, at the bank getting money out of the, uh, acm atm. Speaker 0 00:43:36 Atm. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:43:37 There it is. And all of a sudden you realize, well, I don't have to actually be like that. I, my eyes see it just as well from up here. Right. And it's just, it's just more comfortable. And, and, and the other salient fact is that every breath that you take, that you're in this poised condition, it's cumulative. You get stronger at it with every breath that you take while you're in that condition. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then the rest is just about self forgiveness, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you have to forgive yourself when you're not there, or catch yourself somewhere else. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And don't snap into a position of poise and length. Go ahead and take your time and recreate it so that that point of departure from this, this typical compressed, slouched condition we're in, becomes very important and becomes your friend in a way, because that's the point of departure of this new, uh, physical condition that you're hoping will take over your life. Speaker 0 00:44:29 Ah, yes. And as I'm, as I'm experiencing that, as you kind of guided that finding of the thumb point a a few things came up for me. The first was number one, that, that this is an option is so wonderful. I love that this is an option. Yeah. Number two, it is, uh, I, I, I tried this in front of a mirror, um, a few days ago after we'd spoken on the phone. And I just wanted to see what it looked like. And I closed my eyes to find the thumb point. Um, or I used them to make sure I had horizontal forearms. And then I closed my eyes to feel the lean back moment, and it felt like I was leaning four or five inches back. It felt like I would fall backwards. But when I opened my eyes, I was upright, which tells me how naturally inclined forward i I am. Speaker 0 00:45:24 That, that that's become my normal forward feels neutral and back feels, almo felt almost like a back bend. But I, the thing that I notice now as you're talking through how much more naturally breath happens and fully breath happens in that place, um, and that, that's something I, it took a vocal chord injury for me to find out how, uh, I don't wanna criticize myself. I love the attention you bring up about criticism, by the way. It's not the, it's not the, um, it's not the portal to progress. Uh, at least not for the body. Cuz the body is very, very delicate. But I, I told myself for a long time, I must be breathing wrong because I, you know, had this tight neck and shoulder. I br i, I would breathe in my shoulders, I would hold tension in my throat when I spoke to people. Speaker 0 00:46:14 My weight was in my toes and my chin was forward. Because I think that's how you show enthusiasm. Um, a anyways, it took, it took a really great vocal coach to help me remember that breathing doesn't happen in your neck or shoulders, and enthusiasm doesn't happen in your chin being forward. You can have that. And so that's, you, you can have that and a freeing alignment. Um, so that was just now as you were guiding us through thumb point, I remembered that lesson that I had forgotten or maybe didn't learn as fully until this moment. But I, I really enjoy how this feels and I'm excited to be practicing it all of the time. <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:47:03 Although I'm, I'm, I'm pleased and happy for you. I mean, the, the simple fact is that when you're in a condition that, um, we can refer to as poised mm-hmm. Speaker 0 00:47:13 <affirmative>, Speaker 2 00:47:15 The, the emanation of the body is much freer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and, and you can walk into a room and light it up and people don't even realize what the influence is. It has come in, but when the body isn't encumbered with this physical stress mm-hmm. <affirmative>, all of a sudden it's, it's just, it's just freer. And it's not for everybody because, you know, there, there, there aren't that many people whose central aim in life is to evolve. They're way too busy being who it is they think they are. And so this is, this is a different, um, perspective, really, you know, and it's, it's not self-improvement either. It's really a way of being that, um, some homo sapiens experience that they, they're trying to share. You know, so that's, that's really where it's at. It's an interior activity again, you know? Yeah. Speaker 0 00:48:18 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, Alright, Gary, I am thrilled to, to be in the loop. Um, and in conversation with you, I've learned a lot already, and I'm inspired to keep the idea of c i you, you mentioned the cushion is a tool, but the work is training, the work is a practice. And I must admit, I think I have, uh, fallen into the idea that the cushion is the answer. Like the cushion is the key, but it isn't, It's the reminder. It's an offering in a laying down format of what is possible in an upright format. So, um, I'm glad to be reminded of that today. I hope that everybody listening That's okay. Embraces their new awareness of what is available. Yeah. When you stop this, this forward fold, holy smokes, it's, it is Speaker 2 00:49:07 All these smokes. Holy Speaker 0 00:49:09 Smokes. Speaker 2 00:49:10 It's a big, it's a big difference. And, and it, it, it will change your life <laugh>. Yeah. If you're able to, um, allow the body to modify itself. The other thing is the body knows where it needs to be. Yeah. It's just unfamiliar with it, so it doesn't, it doesn't gravitate toward Speaker 0 00:49:31 It. Funny. So, Speaker 2 00:49:32 So as the cushion reminds you every morning, Oh yeah, that's good. And then begin, and you see how long before the habits take over, and then it's actually measurable. You say, Wow, I made it through the whole morning and mm-hmm. <affirmative> felt myself, uh, intentionally uplifted as I floated from one room to the next mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because it changes everything in terms of your movement style as well. It, I mean, this whole thing with, with, uh, De Niro was to make sure that every single step was intentional, every single step. And that if you could get into the rhythm of that, the character would embody that command. And, uh, and he, he, he, he subscribed to that, and then I just had a tremendous amount of joy watching Yeah. Watching him do it each time. And it, you know, know all, all you have to do is at the end of the take, you look over and I just go, the body knows what, what to do. So trust me, that's Speaker 0 00:50:35 Great. What a gift. Thank you for, for giving us all that as an option. Um, I think it is probably the mark of a great coach to, or teacher, I'll expand in some ways to make yourself obsolete. Um, once you've given someone the awareness that that's a possibility and they experience life with that, you don't have to be standing there to remind them all the time. That's what, that's what they, they choose. And they can do that with or without you. Speaker 2 00:51:04 Yeah. Be, be be your own authority. That's, that's the message. You know, it's, you can get a massage, you can go for Alexander technique, you can go to Pilates all you want. But, um, we're talking about something that is really closer to one's essence that really, uh, that really is well, it's reliable. It's, you're, you're the one who's creating it. And, and once you create it, it it, that, that holds an entirely different value to what you have done with your attention <laugh>. And so, you know, that's a, that's a valuable thing. Speaker 0 00:51:48 Indeed. It is. Thank you so much for that and for all of the value that you brought today. I'm thrilled. Um, thank you so much for being here. Speaker 2 00:51:56 Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure. Bye-Bye. Speaker 0 00:52:00 Bye. Speaker 0 00:52:05 All right, my friend. What did you think about that? I hope that you learned as much as I did. I feel like I got some solid gold out of that episode. Um, major takeaways for me are the importance of explaining things in simple terms and offering non-threatening, non criticizing feedback reflections as he calls them, which I love. I think this is especially true when you're on set, but true always. Um, this is something I'm very excited to practice. I hope you catch me doing it here more often. <laugh> explaining things simply and offering non-threatening, non criticizing reflections. I love. Um, alright. I, I hope you participated in the thumb point exercise. I am participating in it as we speak. And, uh, I hope that you felt what it is like to breathe and stand freely upright without surrender to gravity. This is a magical feeling. Speaker 0 00:53:07 It is a gift. I am happy to be gifting it to you with this episode. Um, I super hope you all rush over to the body tuning cushion.com and grab yourself a body tuning cushion, AKA penguin. Um, really truly, I do think it looks kind of like a penguin and I'm considering asking my mom, Hey, mom, to build me build so, um, design. And so a little tuxedo, little penguin pillow case that he can wear. I'm just, ugh, adorable. I digress. Visit the body tuning cushion.com. Don't forget to use the discount code. W T M M, all one word, all one acronym, <laugh>, no periods, no spaces, wt m m at checkout at the body tuning cushion.com. That is it for me today, my friend. Go out there into the world, keep it aligned, and keep it very, very funky. I'll talk to you soon. Speaker 0 00:54:09 Ba This podcast was produced by me with the help of many music by Max Winnie Logo and brand design by Bree reets. And big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor, also massive thanks to you, the mover, who is no stranger to taking action. So go, take action. I will not, cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review into rating. I will not ban you from my online store for spending your hard earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs that await you there. I will 100% not stop you from visiting words that move me.com. If you wanna talk with me, work with me, and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community. Oh, and also, I will not stop you from visiting the dana wilson.com if you're curious about all the things that I do that are not words that move me related. All right, my friend, keep it funky. I'll talk to you.

Other Episodes

Episode 0

April 26, 2023 01:11:03
Episode Cover

172. Bill Prudich Wants You To Want More From Your Training

Self-proclaimed bad student, and decorated teacher, Bill Prudich wants excellent things for dance and wants you to want more from your training. As the...


Episode 0

May 11, 2022 01:04:45
Episode Cover

124. Mastering Your Body with Katie Schaar

This week’s guest, Katie Schaar has done the tours, the TV shows, the big award shows, THE SUPER BOWL (#nbd) and she has worked...


Episode 0

December 23, 2020 00:48:14
Episode Cover

52. Technique Vs Style with Almost Every Guest From 2020

What is the difference between Technique and Style?  I have asked this question more times than I can count and never got the same...