How to appreciate the story of your character

There’s one small problem, your inspiration for the role has fallen flat on its face. The script is good, but not as good as what you thought. The story is good but you’re not to sure on how to execute it. Some days you’re feeling it and other days you don’t feel anything and it feels like a never ending rollercoaster of ups and downs.

Whether you’ve been in the industry for years or aspiring to be an actor it’s an essential part to fall completely and utterly in love with the story. The story in which your character lives and breathes in, the story in which the character is created within his or hers journey. Characters have the responsibility to give the story life, to influence and to speak into being what was originally written on paper. Think about it, we build our characters from their story, without a story there’s no depth, no interest and no foundation. Character’s make the story but their story makes them.

It may sound great but as actors it can be difficult to get into the flow of things. First things first, throw your human thoughts out the window, disregard yourself for a little while and step fully into the characters world. It’s now your world to inhabit, a world to seek new adventures, fill life with fresh experiences, fail or succeed, rise to the challenge or accept normality. You can read the script only scratching the surface or you can read the script intentionally, sucking the juices out of it, breaking it down, changing perspective until it’s all that you’ve become. Becoming is apart of appreciation, because not only are you letting it captivate you you’re choosing to partner in the whole process of what it means to create.

It’s in your hands to create the best of your character, a great technique to do this is the Warner Loughlin technique. It’s a technique used to create a detailed background for your character, no matter what story your character is in it’s important to have a detailed backstory. Work out what your given circumstances are, for example, the location you are in, the time, what you might be doing, objects in the scene. From there you can work out the relationships, how do you know certain characters or do you have past with certain characters? The key is not to miss anything in the script, to create fully what isn’t there.

Next, Come up with your characters background, place of birth, make up their childhood. Ask yourself what your character’s favourite activity to do or place of safety is?

Work out your base human emotion, what was it in your characters life that made them think the way they do or act the way they act? It could be fear, rejection or not being good enough, this will help with your characters motives and reactions. Another tip, when you are reading the script highlight the dialogue that stands out to you, find the parts that ignite something in your mind. Giving the character such devotion will help with the appreciation of the story.

Every story has a message, finding the underlying theme gives the story meaning and a purpose, thus will give your character a sense of ambition. It always takes the character on a journey whether it be finding out what love really is, building trust, reconciling relationships, or self improvement. Keep in mind when you are reading your next script to find out what it’s trying to convey to the audience. As an actor think about the lesson you can learn from your characters, it’s picking at the pieces and sucking the juices out of the script to appreciate all the aspects a story can offer.

“Never underestimate the power of a good story” – John Kotter.

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