CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT COACHING
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 makes 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 with a broad and stereotypical analysis and then narrow in and get specific. Let me explain.
It important to understand that you’re going to start with 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…etc. Categorizing may help give you a springboard to the process of then narrowing in on specifics. So start with the broad stroke questions like: 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 and does not contradict the WRITERS INTENT (or the GIVEN SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES).
*YOUR CHOICES MUST NOT CONFLICT WHAT THE WRITER HAS WRITTEN!*
Here are some questions to consider when developing a back story:
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 YOU LIKE A GLOVE! At least while you’re the one living in that character. Your internal choices do not have to be grounded in truth. As long as the internal choice you are making is producing the desired outward effect that the writer has intended then you are safe to make internal choices that are not perfectly true for the character. All that matters is that your choices are strong and that they have an effect on you. Then, once you’ve worked through your choices, you have to be completely true to them! COMMIT STRONGLY!
If you’ve been reading up till now and had the thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of work! ” you’d be correct. In order to build strong characters, it takes a lot of analysis, research, questioning, and strong choice making! Only by doing deep work can we create deep characters.
SEE THE CHARACTER ANALYSIS SHEET ON THE CBSI WEBSITE.
PREPARE FOR YOUR PRIVATE CHARACTER COACHING SESSION WITH THIS SHEET.
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. Making sure you get some professional objective outside eyes on your work will always benefit you more than going it alone.
PRIVATE CHARACTER COACHING WITH COACH BANKS will give you the professional assistance you need. He’ll help you understand your character in a way you’re just not 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!