Originally published on Backstage
Actors everywhere should be studying this technique by actress Warner Loughlin. It’s revolutionary and could replace the Method.
I just finished reading Warner’s book, The Warner Loughlin Technique and cannot recommend it enough. It reads like an acting workshop, instead of just a book full of information. And it’s opened my eyes to this incredible technique used by so many award-winning actors – Amy Adams, Ryan Reynolds, Zooey Deschanel and more.
If you’re trying to figure out which acting approach is for you, here’s why I highly recommend you try the Warner Loughlin Technique.
Healthier Approach To Acting
While approaches like The Method encourage actors to call on past and often painful memories, the Warner Loughlin Technique takes a different path. Encouraging imagination to create the history and life of your character. I love this perspective. To encourage our own creativity to build a whole new human instead of calling on our own hurts. Especially, those that are still too fresh for us to use.
It’s not exactly the healthiest thing for us to approach a scene with our own hurt, reliving those moments over and over and over again. Plus, you can’t guarantee you’ll have control over that emotion. Whereas, if you’re creating from scratch, then you can call on that little kid inside you to empathize and portray a character with conviction and honesty. This is a much healthier path, because at the end of the day there’s no need to carry the emotional baggage of the character with you. It gives you a healthy distance from the character while still allowing you to know them inside and out.
I kinda already mentioned this, but I love how Warner’s approach encourages us to create. Using tools she created, like her Base Human Emotion: “the overwhelming, overriding emotion – triggered by an event that occurred early in life – that leads the character to interpret and perceive the world in a unique and specific way” (pg 91, The Warner Loughlin Technique)
What I love about this, and Warner’s Emotion With Detail, which is where you create memories by giving every object and event an emotional attachment, is it feels more like exploring, and breathing life into a character than other methods. These tools not only helped me to flesh out a more natural person, but I felt less focused on me because I wasn’t trying to find a past experience to give me an idea of how this character would respond. I was thinking more about how this unique individual would feel about the situation instead.
I think this also gives us actors room to play more diverse and unique characters because we’re relying less on how we’d respond and more on a brand new “person” that we’re helping to create. Personally, I am finding the Warner Loughlin Technique to be revolutionary. And honestly, I think it’s breathing new life into the actors that use it, definitely give it a try.