Saturday, 24 October 2009
Kramer Enters ...
I found this video of every Kramer entrance, in chronological order, on Spungella, where Jean-Denis has also kindly posted a link to my bouncing ball lecture. Thank you!
As a big Seinfeld fan I've gone back and watched many of the earlier episodes in which Kramer's character was not as defined. It's really interesting to see how the actor, Michael Richards, slowly evolved the character, something that's apparent in his entrance - it gradually becomes more defined and consistent although he also does variations on it depending what the scene requires. At the start the characters are also getting more acquainted too - he knocks in the first one! and holds back, asking permission to enter, in the second one he looks a little unsure as he crosses the threshold but then quickly becomes almost overly comfortable crossing the boundary into Jerry's apartment.
It also follows on from from what I was talking about before - finding gestures and idiosyncrasies that are specific to the character you're animating, Kramer is very unique - he's both laid back and very intense, and his sliding entrance fits him perfectly.
I've watched a documentary where Michael Richards talked about this (and if I remember correctly), he said one day he found some shoes in the wardrobe department and tried them on, they were the wrong size but they had smooth sole which enabled him to perform this sliding entrance, he felt that the shoes were one of the defining keys to performing Kramer, someone who slid through life.
It's also very comical, Michael Richards is an amazing physical comedian, a quality which perfectly counters Jerry's verbal wit, not many people could get a big laugh from just entering a room. No wonder it became his trademark.