CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT is at the core of WHAT an actor DOES and WHO an actor IS! If you’re at all serious about creating REAL, DEEP and BELIEVABLE CHARACTERS... KEEP READING!
When you’re approaching a new character for the first time, before you begin learning the lines or doing anything else, take some time to truly understand this character… as thoroughly as possible. What a character says only make sense if those words come out of the appropriate INTENTION & UNDERSTANDING of that particular character. Try and view the ANALYSIS and DEVELOPMENT of your CHARACTER as a FUNNEL. Start broad and stereotypical and end narrow and specific. Let me explain.
It important to understand that you’re going to have a BIG PICTURE IDEA of your character at first. This is your character’s TYPE! For instance, A COP, a TEACHER, a DRUGY, a FRIEND… Categorizing may help you narrow in. Is he/she the JOCK or the GEEK? Is he/she the girl/guy NEXT DOOR? Is your character the NICE guy/girl or a BIKER THUG/BE-ATCH?
Take a look around the industry RIGHT NOW. Can you think of any actors who play the type of character you’re working on, really well? How well do they do it? What are they doing that makes the character work? Can you tell it’s them inside that character? How? Give this some focused thought.
Where else have you seen characters similar to you? Begin connecting to the kind of roles that FIT YOU BEST. You have to at least have the RIGHT funnel to begin this work. If you’re pulling on CHARACTERISTICS that are far from who you are or who you can be, this journey will become a bit more difficult. However, once you’ve established your BASELINE or WHEELHOUSE, then you can begin to get more CREATIVE as you progress in the work.
Something else to consider (without JUDGING the character): Note how similar/dissimilar this character is to YOU. How much of yourself do you see in him/her? What’s different?
From here, begin to flesh out the BIOGRAPHY of your character. If information is given in the script, great! Anything that isn’t in the script is fair game to be imagined… as long as it coincides with WRITERS INTENT (or the GIVEN SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES). *YOUR CHOICES CAN NOT CONFLICT WHAT THE WRITER HAS WRITTEN!
HOW was your upbringing? WHO were your influences? WHAT are your likes and dislikes? HOW do you look at life? WHAT brought you to this exact situation? (Sidebar: When creating a backstory, sometimes the information given about you in the script may not be very helpful (it happens). In certain cases, you can choose a different story (or tweak the one already given) to help you find the appropriate emotional story.) At the end of the day — the character must FIT LIKE A GLOVE! At least while you’re living in that character. Your internal choices do not have to be grounded in truth. Your choices need to be strong and they should have an effect on you. Once you’ve worked through this, you have to be completely true to your choices! COMMIT STRONGLY!
If you read that last paragraph and thought, “Wow, those are big questions!” you’d be correct. They are big questions. Only by asking big questions can we create big characters. If you only want to ask small questions, go into modeling. SEE THE CHARACTER ANALYSIS SHEET ON THE CBSI WEBSITE.
PREPARATION FOR YOUR CHARACTER WORK (Answer these questions ﬁrst thing. Like, now!)
• Be very clear as to what type of character you’re needing? Why do you think so?
• Does that character presently exist anywhere in ﬁlm or on TV? Where?
• Are you going for a character that is ACTUALLY YOU or just an idea of you? Give this some serious thought.
• Do you have your character developed at all? If not, don’t give birth just yet. Develop your character ﬁrst. Flush the character out. Then begin to live as the character!
• Work the CBSI CHARACTER BREAK DOWN SHEET under STUDENT RESOURCES on our website.
• Flesh out your character’s INTERNAL STORY(S)? Build character information. The more detailed, the better.
• Dial in the appropriate MUSIC – MOODS –ATTITUDES – ADJECTIVES – AGENDAS – DISPOSITIONS – for your character. Also spend some time with, IMAGE – WARDROBE & HAIR. The simplest of things can instantly click you into the character you’re developing. Explore and experiment – don’t limit!
• Do your choices compliment or pull focus from your character? For example, adding a cigarette or an accent won’t necessarily strengthen the character. You have to experiment with these choices.
These are some of the things we investigate during your PRIVATE CHARACTER COACHING session. It’s all about having you wind up with a REAL PERSON who is ALIVE, CONVINCING and INTERESTING! A version of you who’s not really you… but is you!
During your sessions, you’ll also be coached on what to STAY AWAY FROM… and the different TRAPS actors fall into all the time. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s very difficult to be OBJECTIVE in a SUBJECTIVE situation. Outside professional eyes will always benefit you more.
PRIVATE COACHING WITH COACH BANKS will give you the professional assistance you’re needing. He’ll help you understand your character in a way you’re just able to do on your own. Even the Academy Award-winning actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith work with their coaches to assist them with their character development.
Keep in mind, just because you LIKE the character, doesn’t mean the character will necessarily work for you. Your characters are PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS TOOLS. Work them like a PRO! GET COACHING!
Contact us when you’re ready to set up your PRIVATE CHARACTER COACHING SESSION with COACH BANKS!