If the Goal is the heart of a character, Action is the blood. Without Action, nothing works.
Actions are all the things characters do to get what they want. Characters choose different actions in response to different conditions.
Feelings really don’t have that much to do with it.
A performer with a new character will often focus first on feelings. They ask themselves “How would I feel if I were this character?”
It’s understandable. It’s an instinctive attempt to connect with the character. But it’s a bad place to start. Once those feelings – “I’d be mad” or “I’d be happy” or “I’d be nervous” are chosen, the process ends. The final result is a limited character with little flexibility or emotional range.
Instead, focus on achieving the goals that drive the character. Make those goals the most important thing ever. Do what you have to do to get to that goal. Then allow the genuine feelings to come out of the success you are having or the obstacles you are facing.
With this kind of mental focus, you will find yourself absorbed in every moment. In every connection, you will watch guests closely to see what they offer. You’ll be open and curious, trying to get a real sense of each guest. You’ll also have authentic feelings naturally express themselves – all connected to your interactions and the kind of success you are achieving. And you don’t have to plan or decide ahead of time. You will be ready for it when the time is right.
Imagine the kind of variety it will bring to your work. It is nearly unlimited.
And imagine how it would feel to the guests who receive that kind of attention from a character they love.
Look at it this way. As a very simple example, your target (Goal) is to get to San Jose. You can take a bunch of different roads (Actions). Big roads, little roads, dirt roads, mountain trails. You can come from the north or south or any direction. You can also change how you travel on that road. You can go fast or slow or backwards. You can have someone else drive, take a bus, fly, ride a motorcycle, swim, hitchhike, skip along the median or hide in a U-Haul trailer. It all depends on where you start from, how quick you have to get there and what you run into on the way. You adjust and adapt as you travel, to do what it takes to get to San Jose. The point is, you always focus on finishing in San Jose. No need to focus on your feelings. Allow your feelings to come out of your attempts to get to San Jose.
This is the behavior of a living, thinking being – to do what they must to get what they need.
That is also the definition of a dynamic character.