The Warner Loughlin Technique helps actors to develop characters better. You start by collecting some facts about the characters, you’ll see how the character responds to certain stimuli in the script (Hows Of Behaviour) and build a background story for the character. Based on the background story, you build a visualization of key events from the character’s life, which are flushed out by emotion.
That’s the Warner Loughlin Technique in a nutshell. If you want to know more, go here.
To know a character by heart, you’ll have to know what the foundation of the character is. What is driving him. And that’s Warner’s Base Human Emotion (BHE) comes to play.
“The Base Human Emotion is the overwhelming and overriding emotion (caused by an event in the characters early life) that causes them to interpret and perceive the world in a specific and unique way.”
Based Human Emotions (BHE) are always based on ‘Needs’ or ‘Fears’. Sometimes they seem to overlap or complement each other. (‘Fear of Abandonment’ and ‘Need for Companionship’)
There are slight differences that are important. ‘Need for Companionship’ can result in a character who is a sex-addict or has be the center of attention, whereas the ‘Fear of Abandonment’ might be possesive or clingly in their relationship.
We experience our Base Human Emotions in our early childhood. And it is caused by an emotional event. It’s not necessarily a traumatic event from childhood, just a memorable one with an emotion tied to it.
When you are in the process of deciding your BHE, just look through the script and use your gut feeling. Don’t put too much effort into it, go with what feels right for you. There’s not really a wrong choice, decide on something reasonable and go for it.
The Base Human Emotion gives you something to play with and interpret the lines with. Sometimes it gives you something to overcome in the script. The BHE you choose shouldn’t be something broad, like love, power or control. The odds are high that there is something deeper when it’s more specific. And it is also easier for you actors to use something more precise to play with.