Ungh! Hhchiiss! Gaaaaaaaah!!
Noises we make all the time to bring life to a scene, or more specifically, an action our character takes within that scene requiring effort. A little bit, or lot of bit, of advice that I received recently helped explain some of the finer points of making an effort.
Movement during an effort is great and can really help to produce a realistic sound, as long as it doesn't interfere with your mic positioning or create undue noise. A nice vocal trick for hitting noises was to add an "H" to the beginning of the noise. H... for Hitting. Makes sense. That being said, I'm always reminding myself to experiment with all sorts of consonants and vowels to figure what each one brings to the performance.
Besides the letters and movement of the noise, each one has an emotional life behind it that can color it further. E.g. Zombie Noises... Idle Moaning (no joke, that's in a script...) could be colored with sadness or a brewing malevolance. Now, to be sure, the copy might specify different efforts covering those emotions, but when all you get is "Idle Moaning," a good Actor ought to have a little something extra in their back pocket to offer. Another Zombie example... Eating Flesh, which could just be straight chowing down, or could be flavored with the entry of a rival zombie to give a unique spin on a general direction. (this made it into the "flesh eating" portion of my zombie reel on the homepage, in fact... check it out there!)
Finally, the "less" portion of the effort. I like making noises, but some sage advice was dropped on me about making too much. Endless noise can sometimes clutter up a read or interfere with a line. Efforts still need to be clean, and easily cutable from your lines in the event that they are not wanted. I started out hesitating to make even an additional peep in my reads and auditions, then the pendulum swung to the blabbering maniac side of things, and now I'm navigating the middle ground. Always learning.
I've droned on in this one, so here's a yawning- er, fire-breathing- cat for your troubles: