How to connect to the character

How to connect to the character

I want you to understand that you are not alone in wanting to know how to connect to the character. It is one of the first things aspiring actors say they want to be able to do, yet struggle with.

 

Hit and miss character development 

When you don’t connect authentically to a character it feels clunky, it feels like fraud, you feel like you’re doing a disservice to the production, to the playwright, to yourself and it can knock your confidence in your ability, not to mention getting yourself in a pickle with each new role you take on.

 

The power of The Method

There are some very simple, yet powerful method acting techniques you can use to connect authentically to the character to put an end to your woes and stop you hitting way off the mark.

 

The first thing we have to understand is that every character has a specific energy and rhythm. Each character has specific habits and idiosyncrasies, specific speech patterns, a specific walk and a specific purpose. But HOW can you ever know what these are, where to find them and then connect to them as if they were your own?

 

How to connect to the character

The secret to acting is making the role personal. We can only do this by reading the script over and over and finding what is seemingly different at first glance, yet is similar, between ourself and the role.

 

SCRIPT ANALYSIS

Please don’t ever underestimate the power of your script, especially if it is well written. Your script has everything you will ever need to create the life and soul of the role, yet many actors either miss out script analysis or get it completely wrong.

 

Script analysis is the first thing you should do when you pick up any text; in doing this you will find all the clues you will ever need to put together the vision of the character the playwright had. I should also point out that script analysis is an on going process; each time you read the FULL script you will find something new, another layer to the role.

 

GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

After script analysing you should be extremely familiar with all aspects of the GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES; of both the story and the life of the character.

 

The GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES act as a spring board for you to then find the SIMILARITIES between yourself and the role. I should point out that The Method is not about being wishy washy with any part of the process but about working in a very detailed way to help you get extremely specific.

 

SIMILARITIES

Connecting to a role is much easier than you may think. Even if the circumstances of the role are different (which they will be), when we look at humans and the basic emotions we experience – anger, joy, surprise, fear, sadness, disgust and contempt – we can safely say we have experienced all these feelings at some point in our lives at varying degrees. We can therefore relate to all characters from this emotional perspective because we are working with the human condition and NEEDS of people. Of course there are many other SIMILARITIES to discover (and I suggest raking them out of the script during the script analysis process), but using this as a basic starting point helps you to identify patterns within the character and yourself that you have in common.

 

Identifying these patterns in the character are crucial for finding the rhythm of the role.

 

IMPRESSION OF THE ROLE

Once you have found all the SIMILARITIES between yourself and the role and made a personal connection, you should then have an impression of this person. When you have a strong impression, whose roots are based firmly in the script, it is much easier to find the NEEDS of the character and the ACTION they will take to fulfill those needs.

 

If you follow this principle whenever you get a script, whether it be for an audition or for a production, you will find it much easier to get the rhythm & energy of the character and make that all important personal connection. Working with the script as the foundation for your character choices means you can justify all your choices based upon what the playwright envisioned for the role (this includes TV & film scripts).

 

Did that help? Do you feel clearer with how to connect to the character? Let me know in the comments box below, or share with your acting friends, it could be just the thing they need!

Here’s to your success!

Don’t give up, just keep learning.

 

 

 

 

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Louise O’Leary is a professional actress, method acting coach and Artistic Director of StandBy Method Acting Studio. Her mission is to help as many actors as she can achieve their acting dreams and become the best actor they can be. Join the hundreds of actors around the world who have downloaded her eBook “Respect your craft, discover my top 45 method acting secrets to launch your career“. Download here and be on your way to acting success today!

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