Developing Your Character

There is no question that as a performer you want to be consistent with the character. Your work is based on an intellectual property that has been established long before it got to you. You have to be true to that IP. You have to present it in a way everyone will recognize. You can’t mess with that

Performing in an immersive environment, there are huge demands on the character to be in the moment, interacting with a wide variety of visitors and still be flexible enough to make genuine connections with each one.

To meet the demands, the performer must to dig deeper and add detail to the character.

ALWAYS WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE CHOICES COME OUT OF, AND ARE TRUE TO, THE IP.

How do you develop a character with flexibility and detail AND stay true to your character?

Step one.

When you get the character you do your research:

  1. Check out the source material – movie, cartoon, book, game, etc.

2. Read your script a bunch of times

3. Absorb every word of your Character Guide.

That’s a great start. Now, you have the basics. These will give you a general idea of the character’s history, strengths and viewpoint. What you’ve learned here will help keep you focused in the right direction as you do the work that’s coming up.

You know to excel, you can’t be general. You must build specific details for the character out of the basics. It’s those specifics that will make your character recognizable, surprising and engrossing.

Step two.

To turn a character into a living, thinking being, every performer needs a system to support and guide them.

Put your creative juices to work on these next thoughts:

  1. What literally, physically happens while your character is visible to the visitors? For instance, is your character there to do a job? Is your character there to welcome visitors and take pictures? What physical action is happening?
  2. What does your character expect from the people who are there? We all agree that the visitors are your partners in this scene, so what does your character need them to do right now?
  3. What drives your character in life? What is the ultimate goal they must achieve to be fulfilled?
  4. Do these answers ring a bell for you? Can you express the answers in ways that are meaningful to you? What in your life is as important to you as these answers are to the character?

These four questions can inspire amazing results.

Now I’ll dig into doing the research and each of the four questions. More to come!

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