There are different schools of thought on actor training.  One advocates complete immersion into a character, another for finding what already in your being relates to the character you are playing, and so on and so on.

    I tend to follow a hybrid approach, which has developed over the last 3+ decades of performing.  When I started, I used what I now refer to the Jack Nicholson school of acting.  I played myself playing the character.  In the end, what you saw on stage or screen was a variation of the actor creating the character.  In the Renaissance Faire world, it worked.

    As I moved to the stage, I realized that this would no longer work.  So, I learned to watch people.  At first, I just watched how people walked, and generally moved their bodies.  Then, I learned to understand how various base instincts and motivations affected movement.

    Now, I sit and watch people.  A lot of actors, especially character actors, do.  I watch the springy step of youth and the unsure step of both extreme youth and age.  I watch whether a person leads with their head, their chest, their crotch...  Do they slouch, stand ramrod straight, hunch their shoulders?  Do they smile, frown, or keep a neutral face?

    Mixing all that with a study of the character's motivations, it is my hope that now I can create deep characters that take the material to new levels.

Spill Your Guts

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