Detective Work

You’ve been cast as an interactive character. Your job is to give life to an idea that was created by someone else. You have to prepare for training and rehearsals. How do you get ready?

Step one: dig.

Be a detective and find every fact you can about the character and the world they are a part of.

This is not boring homework that will stifle your creativity. This is an exciting, inspiring investigation into everything that makes your character unique and compelling. The facts you discover will give you an invaluable foundation for all the rest of the work you do with this character, from here on out. Dig, be curious, observe.

Get the facts.

Notice I say the FACTS. This is important. It’s too early to make up anything yet.

You have to get the facts right so you can make smart decisions. Facts keep you true to the IP. Facts give you a way to check your ideas.

Use these resources provided to you.

1. The original source material.

A TV show, cartoon, movie, game – anything that the character appears in.

Watch the source material actively. Make notes so you don’t forget things.

Keep searching for answers:

  • What do other characters say about my character?
  • What does my character say about himself?
  • What in these stories is the most important thing for my character?
  • How does my character describe their world?
  • How does my character respond to different kinds people and situations?
  • What happens to my character?
  • How does my character change or what does my character learn?

2. Your Script

Read the script a bunch of times.

Each time ask all the same questions as above in #1. Compare the answers from the script to the answers in the original source.

Also note the description of the character when introduced in the script and any stage directions.

  • Be careful with this, though. It’s going to be a description of personal qualities of the character: heroic, angry, loving, grumpy. These adjectives help to point you in the right direction, but they can’t be everything. If you are an ‘Angry ‘ character – that’s all anyone will get from you. It makes you predictable, disconnected and unrealistic.

More to solve that one – coming soon!

3. Your Character Guide

Your production team will have prepared a Character Guide to give you a solid understanding of the direction of the project. It’s important because it tells you a lot and it’s from your leadership.

Dig into this one, too. Ask the same questions and compare the answers.

As you get deeper into the character, you’ll start having creative, inspired ideas right away. Awesome! You’re connecting with the character on a deeper level already.

Still, resist the temptation to jump to conclusions just yet. Make a note and stash the ideas for a little later.

Gathering the facts about the character this way takes a bit of time and effort. But the result will be a strong foundation for you to take off from. You’ll be heading in the right direction with confidence.

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