Before I started acting, I was a diesel mechanic. I remember first starting out in drama school and just saying my lines thinking that’s what acting was. I soon learned that just like a mechanic, tools are the driving force to getting the job done.
The tools to an actor are their skills, honed in to be able to build different characters. Every actor has their own process, even I have a different process depending on what type of character I portray.
so many different techniques, Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg’s Method, Stella Adler, Meisner Technique, Michael Chekhov, Chubbuck and Practical Aesthetics are just some of the many styles out there. I know so many people who use one particular technique alone and others that use a mixture, like myself.
I’ve realised that comedic timing and comedy in general comes more natural to me and I don’t need to use any method to really get me to find those characters, its more second nature. Whereas when I’m shooting scenes that are more dramatic, I use so many different tools to help me build those characters from scratch. I love building their world from the ground up, I first read the script over and over to get a feel for that character, then I find a song that would best describe them. Listening to that song always makes me think of the childhood they had, so I can build specific memories that will explain why he is the way he is, thinks the things he thinks.
I’m a firm believer in needing a reason to do or say what my character needs to, having some emotional weight to drive the scene forward. There are many variations on what it’s called, depending on what technique you use but I like the words Ivana Chubbuck uses, The “objective”. Such a simple word, yet there is so much weight to it. It’s the one thing I always use when building characters.
These are what work for me now, it may not always be this way. I notice as I change as a person so does my tool kit. I love learning new ways to bring characters to life and can’t wait to see what characters I will get to build and become in my future.
I’d love to hear what tools work for you in building characters. Leave me a comment. As always I hope you enjoyed reading.