Three Simple Questions We Often Forget When Creating Characters

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Hey there, hero!

If you’ve studied with me, you may have heard me remind you to ask yourself what your role is in your production (who are you), and to describe your audience of one (who are you talking to).

They are the go-to questions that need answering when creating your character and making choices about them.

But there are three other questions that we often don’t remember to ask, because they might just not seem as juicy as the two above.

But…they actually are.

Hope this helps!

David

Responses

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  1. Brilliant, as usual, David. I, too, have experienced the tension between trying to push out the product and trying to be authentic. It’s not that these two things are antithetical. If one is highly skilled in the latter, one can more easily and quickly achieve the former. I look at what you said as a variation of the “5W and H questions:” who, what, when, where, why, and how. I think once one has answered those questions one is way more than halfway there. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Excellent advice, David. Although this is ingrained in me for my work as a stage actor, as a newbie to voiceover (and upon further reflection) I have sometimes found myself cutting corners, so to speak, in order to just get the copy out…Thank you for the reminder.

  3. In addition to who am I and who I’m talking to, I usually have an idea of where we are. The other things you mentioned are not always in the forefront of my mind, although I agree it will be helpful if they are. I’ll try and drill down deeper into my future scenarios. Thanks for the video David.

  4. A few hours before our show last night, I watched this video. Our improv group does fun murder mystery dinners. I really contemplated where our portion of the show was in the whole story and my relationships with the other characters, especially my adult son. It occurred to me that although my relationship with my son was strained and I did not agree with him, I still loved him. On the drive to the show, I reviewed this with my fellow actor who was playing the part of the detective and then again with ‘my adult son’ before the show. What happened was fabulous. We all approached our characters and interaction between us a little different and much deeper. At the conclusion of the show, when the detective threatened to ‘tase’ my obnoxious adult son, I jumped in front to protect him and took the tase which produced incredible laughter from the audience. So thank you! This turned out to be the highlight of the show. We will be using this technique for all our shows in the future.